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7 top gardening resolutions for the New Year

By Features Reporter

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Swap plastic for biodegradable pots.
Swap plastic for biodegradable pots.

Make your New Year resolution a gardening one, whether it's to start Veganuary as you mean to go on, exercise more in the garden or simply ditch plastics.

Here are seven ideas to send you on your good and green-fingered way from January. See how many of them you can make – and more importantly, keep in 2020.

1. Embrace Veganuary

There are all sorts of health reasons for going vegan next year, but you can grow vegan too, just by changing a few habits. So when you're starting off those veg, if you resolve to be a true vegan, you will avoid animal manures and blood, fish and bone products. Start your own compost bin using green and brown organic material including grass and plant clippings, leaves and vegetable food waste.

To make sure you've plenty of iron and protein in your new vegan diet, grow artichokes and broccoli and make your own liquid feed from comfrey, which is easy to grow, by steeping it in a bucket of water for a week and then pouring the liquid over your crops.

Only grow veg you really like to eat!
Only grow veg you really like to eat!

2. Only grow what you eat

So many gardeners with a new vegetable patch go mad with seeds at the beginning of the year, only to realise that they have grown far too much of a vegetable that they don't actually like. If you don't love radishes in every salad, just grow a row or two successionally during the summer, rather than waste them.

Of course, some gardeners are happy to donate or swap crops with fellow vegetable gardeners, which is fine as long as your neighbour isn't growing the same crop. Planning ahead is the key.

3. Ditch plastics

This hot topic is set to continue in the foreseeable future, so do your bit to ditch plastics in favour of more biodegradable products. You can look towards bamboo gloves and seed trays, biodegradable mini plant pots, or even use tubes of empty toilet rolls to plant seedlings.

Reuse plastic pots which aren't recyclable. If you have too many, some garden centres, including Dobbies Garden Centres (dobbies.com), offer take-back schemes, encouraging customers to drop off unwanted plastic trays and pots, making sure they don't end up in landfill.

Make your garden insect-friendly in 2020.
Make your garden insect-friendly in 2020.

4. Make a space for wildlife

In our increasingly urban sprawl, it's vital that we keep corridors open for wildlife and it is relatively easy to do. Make a plan to add insect-friendly plants and flowers to your design this year, even if you just have a few window boxes or patio containers. The RHS (rhs.org.uk) has lists of plants for pollinators, available to download.

If you have a larger garden, leave an area wild, allowing nettles, brambles and other wild flowers to flourish, which will further attract insects and will make sheltering spots for hedgehogs and other mammals.

Bag a bird feeder or two, placing them in a sheltered spot near trees or shrubs, keep them topped up and soon enough the wildlife should start arriving. And leave out a shallow bowl of water with a few pebbles in it, making easy access for insects, frogs and birds.

5. Visit more inspirational gardens

Set dates in your diary to visit public gardens, whether it be a National Trust (nationaltrust.org.uk) property, an RHS (rhs.org.uk) garden or a private garden open to the public on certain days of the year through the National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk).

Garden shows are another way of discovering new trends and new plants. Planning these visits early in the year will not only give you something to look forward to but will also provide inspiration for your own garden.

6. Make 10 minutes a day for your plot

The garden can be a great release, whether you're digging, tidying up or just surveying the scene. Give yourself 10 minutes every day (if you're not away on holiday) just to go outside and do something in the garden, whether it's filling up the bird feeder, covering a vulnerable plant or turning the compost heap. Obviously as the weather warms up, those 10 minutes will increase to hours.

Take the time to enjoy your garden.
Take the time to enjoy your garden.

7. Learn to relax

So often, gardeners find it hard to sit back and relax in their garden. There always seems to be so much to do, whether it's sowing, digging, planting or pruning. Resolve to actually force yourself to sit back in the warmer months and admire the fruits of your labour, hear the birds sing, inhale the scents and enjoy the colour and form you have created.

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