Question: Every year I promise to do a better job with my yard and garden. How do I do a better job planning for success?

Answer: New Year’s resolutions!! You either hate ‘em, love ‘em or just ignore the entire process. How about making some resolutions about your garden or gardening experience for 2022?

Here are some you might want to try:

If you aren’t gardening, try it! Gardening can reduce stress levels and just let you unwind a little after a busy day. It’s great exercise, too. Even if you have a small apartment, you may have a balcony to grow some vegetables or some bright flowers. If you only have indoors, get a plant or two to share your space.

Plant water-wise. If the last few years haven’t convinced you, then maybe your water bill has. The days of planting huge, thirsty lawns and whatever plants we want are numbered. Try and reduce the area you plant to turf — admittedly, this is hard when you have a vast grassy yard which receives a lot of traffic from kids or dogs. Maybe you can reduce the size?

If you have smaller areas in your yard to convert, there are groundcovers to consider — creeping thyme, some mosses, even white clover in the right place. You will have to research all the alternatives and their positives and negatives and choose the one that’s right for your situation.

An effective way to save water is to group your landscape plants according to their water needs. A lot of water is wasted watering a whole area when it is just one or two plants which need supplemental water.

Name that bug! Not all bugs are bad. In fact, a lot of bugs are good for your garden. Become educated before you spray. There are many ways to control pests which don’t involve reaching for the chemicals. Have a pest problem and wonder how to proceed? Call the Douglas Co Master Gardener hotline: 541-236-3052 (hours vary seasonally).

Plant some new varieties. Every year there are new plants that are introduced. If you have planted the same old tomato varieties since the beginning of time, you may be missing some newer hybrids that address disease or production problems. There are even new heirloom varieties re-discovered and produced.

Shake it up a little! Browse a seed catalogue to get inspired. Three that are northwest specific are Territorial Seeds, Nichols Garden Nursery and Siskiyou Seeds.

Plant for pollinators. Everyone has heard the stories about honeybee populations going down. Help our pollinators by planting flowers they enjoy. An added bonus is you can watch all the activity from the bees, butterflies and birds enjoying your garden.

One place where I always tuck in a few flowers is around the melons and squash in my vegetable garden to keep those pollinators happy.

Join a community garden. Want to plant a vegetable garden but have no room or yard? There are several community gardens available in the Roseburg area. You can have a garden plot and fellow gardeners to learn and share ideas. Check with First United Methodist Church for the Westside Community Garden; the other two gardens are in transition but UC Veg can get you to the right people.

Share your garden expertise with a child. Children are very interested in planting seeds and love to harvest vegetables. It’s a wonderful way to get them to try new things. If your kids are gone or live far away, maybe a neighbor child would be interested. My own granddaughter lives far away but wanted to show her Grammy a picture of her pot of purple flowers!

Plant only one zucchini plant. This is a recurring theme for me, I know, but just sayin’. Your friends and neighbors will thank you.

Take a gardening class. To make that even easier, the Douglas County Master Gardeners are hosting Spring into Gardening on Saturday, March 12, at the Phoenix School on Diamond Lake Blvd. Registration is not yet open, so check with DCMG for details on that later. There will be classes on everything from growing peppers to planting a pollinator garden.

Enjoy your garden space, however big or small it is. I know I have a habit of walking out in my yard and often seeing only the problems or work that needs to be done. Oh, those weeds! That plant that needs to be pruned! My resolution is to strive to see my yard as I hope others do when they enjoy it. Take time to appreciate your handiwork—enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine as you admire your creation.

Do you have a gardening or insect question? Contact the Douglas County Master Gardeners at douglasmg@oregonstate.edu or 541-672-4461 or visit 1134 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg. Douglas County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who help the OSU Extension Service serve the people of Douglas County.

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