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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of December 26, 2016 By Ron Kujawski

As has been my tradition for many years, I present a list of resolutions for the New Year.  Also, as has been tradition, these resolutions are for you.  I don’t make resolutions for myself, but I have no qualms about making resolutions for others.  So:

  • Resolve to plant a vegetable garden this year, or to expand an existing one.  While the economic value of vegetable gardening may be debated, especially when labor costs are factored in, the health benefits are well documented.  For one, it’s been found that people who have vegetable gardens tend to eat more fresh vegetables than those without gardens.  By that logic, can we assume that one who raises pigs eats more……..never mind.
  • Resolve to plant more trees in your landscape and to encourage your community to plant more trees.  Trees matter!  Among other things, trees increase property values, provide cool shade in summer, buffer street noise, reduce heating costs in winter by acting as windbreaks, and reduce storm water runoff.  Also, studies have shown that neighborhoods with trees tend to have lower crime rates……. I think I’ll move to a forest.
  • Resolve to add to the collection of houseplants in your home.  Houseplants not only improve air quality in homes but their visual presence also helps relieve stress by lowering your blood pressure and muscle tension. On the other hand, if I add any more houseplants my blood pressure will be so low that no one will know if I’m still alive.
  • Resolve to find ways to cut energy consumption in your gardening practices.  Do you really need a leaf blower when a rake will do?  Is your lawn small enough to use a push mower rather than a power mower?  How about a herd of goats for a large lawn? Okay, some ideas may not be so good.
  • Resolve to reduce the use of chemical pesticides around your home and gardens.  Fortunately, there are more and more environmentally friendly pesticides coming onto the market every year.  Pesticides of biological origin are particularly effective and safe.  Many of these are derived from microbes that occur naturally in soil.  I ate a lot of dirt as a kid; that must be why I never got lice when the other kids did.
  • Resolve to practice water conservation in the landscape and gardens.  Set up rain barrels to collect water, use mulches around plants, and plant drought tolerant species.
  • Resolve to avoid people who make New Year’s resolutions for you!

Have a Happy New Year!

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