As we emerge from a winter of isolation and worry, I hope you are imagining the glory of next year’s garden. Seed companies are announcing new seed lists on their web sites and in print catalogs. Local nurseries are open, with seedlings and, if you lack space, attractive containers. Never underestimate the mood-raising ability of a single beautiful plant or a tiny harvest! Either can be immensely effective.
Many started a “Pandemic Victory Garden” last spring. They found that having a nearby source of fresh greens or other produce, at a time when every trip out was fraught with caution. provided great comfort and a feeling of security.
But some surely had failures, pests that showed up, crops that didn’t grow well, overproduction that went to waste. In 1943 the New York times published a story for wartime Victory Gardeners who were about to begin their second year. “The first year is the hardest,” it consoled. This is so true! Soil prep, starting seed, learning what you will eat, what you won’t, and how much you will eat of each crop—this the first-year gardener learns.
You have learned so from much last year’s successes and failures. Dream again! Plan an even better garden next year, more beautiful flowers, a sparkling and colorful edible harvest. Try new varieties, looking especially for ones that resist any pests you had last year. Create critter excluders, or buy some. (Check out the crop cages on the web site gardeners.com.) Plan to build or purchase a better trellis to support climbing crops. Invest in a headlamp for hands-free night snail and slug hunts. If you are watering with a hose, put a timer at the faucet so it will turn off automatically and prevent the waste of water.
May the beauty and productivity of your 2021 garden reflect your high hopes for the coming year!