With 2016 coming to an end very shortly, it’s time to reflect on this past year. As gardeners, either by hobby or trade, we’re inclined to look back on the little pieces of land we tended. But now is also a great time for looking ahead and preparing for the new and exciting 2017.
Personally, I have a detailed process for figuring out what I want to get out of the garden for the coming season. I begin by looking back and asking myself a series of questions about the past year. I then use these answers to inform a series of questions about what I want for the coming year. Then come the goals. You can’t do it all, but if you go through a thorough process of reflection and use your findings wisely, you can hone in on your personal objectives and find a point of focus. There’s no use growing tons of huge tomatoes or spending hours every week tending to fussy flower crops just because you read somewhere that gardens are supposed to be full of those things. What from your garden actually brings you joy? Let’s find out!
Step One: Reflect on Last Year’s Garden
- Did you invest in the soil?
- Did the plants seem healthy?
- What, if any, disease issues came up?
- Were pests a problem?
- What crops grew almost effortlessly?
- What crops failed to thrive?
- What were your favorite gardening tasks?
- What tasks did you avoid at all costs?
- What crops did you wish you had more of?
- What crops did you just have way too much of?
- What were you most proud of?
Step Two: Look Ahead
- Are there any plants you’ve been wanting to grow but never tried?
- What new seed or plant sources can you try out?
- What can you do to bring more biodiversity to the garden?
- How much time do you realistically have to garden next year?
- Might it be worth hiring some part-time garden help?
- Is it time to expand into growing more perennials?
- Do you want more flowers to cut for the house?
- What do you need to study more?
- What can you do to strengthen your soil?
I recommend going through all of these questions (adding in your own where you can), and basing three main resolutions off of your findings. For an example, here are my resolutions for the coming year.
Resolution #1: Feed Plants Regularly
I tend to take good care of my soil and hope that plants grow big and strong as a result. This is sound practice, but it’s not enough for the intensity of my flower farm. I’m expecting a lot out of my soil, so I need to be more proactive about feeding my plants. For me, this will be best accomplished through weekly feedings of a fish and kelp solution.
Resolution #2: Hire Help When Needed
It’s so easy to get busy and neglect your plants! My goal is to look ahead and make realistic plans for projects, hiring help as needed in order to get things done on time. I’ve had a bunch of really nice guys work for me this past year and I aim to bring them in more regularly.
Resolution #3: Grow More Crops To Use In Wedding Design
I buy in lots of flowers from other local flower farms for my wedding design, while selling lots of different flowers to other designers. This year I aim to streamline my farm production in order to supply more of my weddings with my own farm-grown flowers.
I’d love to hear what your resolutions are. Please leave a short note below.
Here’s to a healthy, happy year of gardening in 2017!