Episode 70 – Listener Resolutions

Ground Breaking Banter - Rick

Today’s episode is dedicated to the fun and interesting gardening resolutions that listeners shared with us via e-mail, YouTube, and Instagram. We share them throughout this episode, but compiled them here into one big mega-list here:

From Ann:  Happy New Year! I am in 6b and have been gardening for 30+ years. My New Year’s resolution is to start a cut flower garden! For years, I have felt guilty for cutting flowers to bring them indoors to enjoy. No more!

From Dee Dee: Rick! I understand about the shed! My daughter helped me clean and organize my shed last October and I am so thankful. We put in metal shelves to get more vertical space to see everything and I love it.

From Mireille: I’m always thinking about gardening. I just ordered seeds and some of the plants for next year’s garden. I’m making a list of more plants I need and figuring out where they will live in the garden. I’m also planning my vegetable garden for this coming year. My New Year’s resolution is to be less of a procrastinator. Happy New Year everyone!

From Patti: I write a list in fall while walking my gardens about what I have room for next year and where NOT to put anything to avoid overcrowding… I fail every year.

From Nadine: my name is Nadine. I am from Belgium, flanders. I am a blind gardener. My resolution for next year is to sow more flowers and hopefully succeed.

From Althea: My resolution is to learn how to lay drip irrigation, I’m so overwhelmed and clueless, it actually scares me but I know if I plan to be a successful gardener I have to learn. And it would be nice if you guys speak on this topic. Maybe do an off site video on it-yeah!! Love you guys and your show. Thank you.

From Nedda: My resolution is to consistently be more diligent about poison ivy. I usually start out careful and then get overconfident that I didn’t touch it until I get a breakout. My goal is to cover up each time before I go out to weed the yard and scrub afterwards just in case. Happy New Year to the entire Gardening Simplified team and viewers/subscribers.

From Dawn: Happy New Year to you both! Looking forward to another year of gardening with you. For 2024 I want to bring my garden plans with me when I purchase new plants and only purchase the plants I need not end up with the plants I get distracted by. After a long winter I get overwhelmed by all the luscious green and flowering plants and end up at home with nothing I went for!!! Self control is what is needed here!!

From Naomi: My standard resolution is to grow things I’ve never grown before. I’ve already got the seeds for the two new things this year: luffa gourds and baby corn.

From Cecelia: My 2024 resolution is all garden beds and pots have to be on drip before I can plant anything. Just got an irrigation system installed late this year.  

From Drew: I’m starting a new garden with a blank slate. At 65 it’s not as easy as it was when I put my last garden in, but I’m motivated to give it a shot. Unfortunately, it’s solid clay soil but I’ll be buying lots of sand and topsoil. All of your advice is welcomed and appreciated. Oh yes and as far as gardening clothes go, there is nothing better than a good pair of gardening clogs that slip on.  

From Lisa: My continuing resolutions from last year are to continue digging in trench edging around all my garden beds, and to add more plants for winter interest (evergreens, red branched shrubs, etc.). Newer resolutions are to divide my overgrown daylilies into larger patches of a single bloom, and to plant more in drifts rather than singletons.

From Brandon: My resolution, which started about a month ago, is to make and throw more seed bombs out of my car window on the highways and interstates (safely, of course.). Every winter, I make seed bombs with native prairie plants to make these areas a little more attractive but mostly to help out all of the insects, birds, and small mammals. I take care not to throw them in mown areas or areas that are adjacent to farm land in order to avoid them spreading into crops and being sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, which defeats the purpose. I am doing much more of that this winter and my sore shoulder is proof of it. Few seeds germinate and survive to maturity, but when you see something you planted a couple years prior, it puts a smile on your face knowing that it’s your secret plant. Happy New Year from your southern Hoosier neighbor in Indianapolis!

From Carol Rose:  One resolution is to follow the plans made this winter in plantings. I often see and buy when I shouldn’t. Another is to install my drip irrigation….now to get these two accomplished!

From Kristin:  Hi Guys! Faithful show watcher. I like to say. “ why buy word of the calendar, when we can listen to Stacey,”. My resolutions: add new garden paths. Thanks to Rick. Plant PW vista in my landscape. Force myself not to repeat the same flower combos in pots. Add two new trees that have persistent berry’s for the birds (4b western NY). Any suggestions would be welcome.

From Trixie:  I generally do not make NY Resolutions, rather I set “goals” so I don’t have to beat myself up if I miss it. That said, my garden goals for 2024 are basic. I need to be more diligent in my fertilizer and pest prevention routine, especially for my annuals. I live in south-central Texas (newly named zone 9a) and by late June, my garden looks wrecked. I need to stay focused on consistent water, routine maintenance, and weekly or biweekly feedings if for no other reason that to see for myself if a nice garden is even possible in the Texas heat.
From Robyn:  My name is Robyn. I’m NJ 7a. I have quite a few resolutions for 2024. There are some old as well as some new ones. NEW: Incorporate hardscape into my landscape (gravel, pavers, wall block, maybe even a few bird baths). Also I’d like to illuminate my garden bed areas w/solar lights. OLD: Improve my weekly/monthly garden maintenance schedule. Also to finish incorporating 4 seasons of interest to every garden bed area in my landscape.

From Wendy:  Rick “the mulch man” Vuyst “more power!”! Rick you get the reference? Made me laugh. I have a resolution to redo the west bed and some hard scape projects that I have been talking about for years. We had construction for years beside us and finally last year the fence was replaced and I removed some overgrown shrubs. This year I am adding whitespire birch tree(s). And probably another Wichita juniper. I added a juniper last year to another part of the garden and love it. And plan to add more shrubs and perennials including beyond midnight caryopteris which I learned about here. I also want a smaller hardy hibiscus (rose mallow). I thought PW was coming out with a new smaller one. I also bought bluestone stepping stones to make a walking path around the east side on sale last fall and will have them installed in the spring. And I am adding an oak leaf hydrangea to the front of the house and maybe some tater tot arbs. I need a small evergreen that is mound form that can take shade since it is on the north side of house and there is a large oak and maple in front. If I manage to get all this tidied up this year I will be one happy gardener! One other thing I love Stacey’s pins she wears. I think they were her grandmother’s. Can she do a piece on them even if it is only online since it is not gardening. The one she had on today was beautiful. Happy New Year! Love your show!

From Patti:  I must admit my recoiling hoselink was a game changer for me and of course I love my proven winners watering system for my pots

From Sue: Love your shows! Keep them coming. My resolutions… finish filling in huge hole in back yard from a 20×40 swimming pool that was removed. Want greenhouse in that spot after many loads of sand. #2 plant raspberries. #3 trim fruit trees & keep up on spraying in 2024. From Holland MI.

From Jac: I resolve to remove all the weed barrier fabric (installed by previous owner) in my flower beds, utilize all the cardboard I’ve been saving in the garage to sheet mulch to improve the soil.

From Late Blooming Hippie: Rick: I’m testing out Blundstone boots for my new winter boots. Love them so far, Northern Utah 6b. Might be worth looking into.

From JJ: My New Year’s resolution for the garden is to finish the irrigation and to find some new plants that were not available in my area.

From ilnpa:  2024 is the year I will collect rain water instead of using water from the faucet to water my plants! Did you know that the water you drink is the same for washing clothes and cars, flushing toilets and watering your plants?! SO MUCH WASTE! And plants don’t even like chlorine Zone 7 here, formerly 6. I’ve been growing camellias in the ground and pots. Just make sure to find a good protected area in your garden. Artic blasts are the worst enemy. Gardening Simplified is the highlight of my day. 

From Meghan in Rhode Island:  I would love layering videos!

From Bambihouse: I want to collect more rainwater. I have 1 barrel and need at least 2 more.  

From Joan:  I want to buy less and divide more.

From Jackie: Add more colorful dwarf conifers.

From MakeGoGrow:   I am joining Rick on the “shed organization” wagon. Any suggestions for organization systems? DIY or “off the shelf”, all ideas are of interest.

From Frauke:  I’m planning to finally pre-order my Annuals, so my plan gets actually realized instead of “making do” with the ones I can find in early May after we come home from warmer zones. Watch your show every week on YT.

From the Restlessgardener2: Continue my trend towards planning before buying. It really does translate into a more cohesive and calming space as well as less stress for me as the gardener because I don’t have to do extra work to figure out where to fit all of the plants I just randomly purchased!!

From Laura: Not really a resolution but we’re moving from central OH to NW IN and I can’t wait to visit Zeeland, MI, and other places I’ve heard about by following PW-sponsored YouTubers. Where and when is the best place to see tulips? I’ve seen beautiful pictures of tulip fields in MI.

From Tracey: There are always plans for my garden and those plans keep on changing every time I watch “gardening simplified”. My garden is only a couple years old so I love the inspiration I get from you guys!!

Gardening Mail Bag - Stacey

To attract and support the most birds in your yard, plant a combination of plants that produce good seed for seed-eaters and host a wide variety of insects for insect-eaters and omnivores. This means a combination of perennials, things like echinacea, agastache, rudbeckia, and other plants with small seeds, and trees and shrubs that are favored by insects. Oaks are famously hospitable to native wildlife, as they sustain the widest diversity of insects of any other North American native plant. Now, not everyone has room for an oak – most get huge – but if you do, planting one would be the best thing that you can do to help birds. In terms of planting shrubs to attract insects, and in turn, birds, it is indeed best to stick with native species like ninebark, coralberry, dogwood, and willow, as these will have natural relationships with insects that encourage egg-laying and feeding, giving birds a good chance to feed. We also mention another favorite tip: if you have crabapples or similar trees that get tent caterpillars in spring, simply use a stick to rip open the webby “tent” – the birds will then happily take care of the infestation for you!

Both Rick and I love the Espoma “Tone” line of fertilizers – they have a good stony grain that’s long-lasting and easy to apply, are manufactured sustainably, and happen to be organic. However, I often discourage the use of Hollytone because it is formulated to acidify the soil. Not a lot, but a little, and depending on where you are located, what your soil is like, and what you are growing, its repeated use could push the soil pH to a level that is unfavorable for plant growth. As such, I only recommend using it if you are certain your soil and the plants growing in it would benefit from acidification. Instead, we recommend Espoma Rose Tone as a general purpose shrub fertilizer, and/or Flower Tone or Garden Tone for all-purpose.

Whatever you use, my preference is to apply the fertilizer in late winter/early spring. Here’s why: for the fertilizer to become available for plant use, it must “weather,” or begin to broken down by rain, soil moisture, sun, etc. If you put fertilizer down in fall, it will weather and could potentially become available to the plant at a time when it is still dormant. The plant won’t use it, and even though it will chemically bind to the soil particles, there’s still a chance it will simply leach out without ever being taken up by the plant. This contributes to pollution of waterways, as well as wastes time and money. Instead, I recommend applying your fertilizer in late winter/early spring – this will give it plenty of time to weather and become available to the plant, which will happen just as it is beginning to come out of dormancy. 

Do you have a question for us? We’re happy to help! E-mail us or use the contact tab above. Due to high volume, we may not get to your question, so if you need an answer quickly, please reach out via the Proven Winners website.

Branching News - Rick

Looking for something to do in the new year? Planning some trips? How about this: shorebird enthusiasts share their best imitations of seagulls, sandhill cranes and other birds at an Alaska festival’s bird calling contest

Or how about this: the World Championship Snail Racing event in Congham, England.  The event was founded in the 1960s and the Guinness World Records has now named the annual event the longest running humane snail-racing world championships.

Survey reveals the top ten tasks that relieve stress:

Cooking – 65%
Cleaning – 31%
Gardening – 30%
Doing laundry – 25%
Folding laundry – 23%
Mowing the lawn – 22%
Doing dishes – 20%
Organizing – 20%
Sweeping/vacuuming/mopping – 19%
Weeding – 18%

A sad follow-up to a story we did last year:  Peanut, the world’s oldest chicken, has died at age 21.

Jessica Vincent bought a colorful vase at Goodwill for $3.99. The rare piece sold at auction for $107,000.

Scientists in South Africa have rediscovered 11 De Winton’s golden moles, which haven’t been seen since 1936. 

Fruits that thrive in hot weather and can now be grown in the ever-hotter UK summers, and weeds such as cow parsley to decorate borders, are among the 2024 garden trends predicted by the Royal Horticultural Society

Pink rose of Sharon flowers bloom on a plant with variegated foliage.

Episode 92 – Weeding by Example

Ah, weeds – maybe the #1 thing that discourages people from gardening. But weeds are interesting and become a lot easier to manage when you apply some basic IPM principles. Featured shrub: Sugar Tip rose of Sharon.

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