Amazingly enough, “learn to garden” or “grow more vegetables” is not on very many “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” lists. The outrage!
Instead, they are filled with trivial phrases such as “quit smoking,” “get fit” or “find my way out of debt,” which I guess are understandable.
But really, if you decide to start gardening or grow more veggies, you probably will quit smoking. (Your optimal tomato will cost as much as your cigarettes, and a red tomato is much more appealing than a black lung.)
Gardening has been shown to be an excellent way to stay physically active (Ever try weeding in our clay-filled soil or racing the afternoon monsoon to get the lawn mowed?), and, of course, eating what you grow will save you tons of money on cheesy bread sticks, lemonades and ham croissants that you would otherwise be tempted to purchase while shopping for produce at the Durango Farmers Market.
So for all you gardening aficionados, here’s my list. And really, it’s just a wish list, not a list of resolutions. Research from the University of Scranton shows a resolution success rate of just 8 percent. So I’m not saying that I will accomplish any of these, but what else do I write about in the dead of winter – a word I use loosely with all these balmy, blue-sky days?
Watch the Needham Elementary School garden blossom and grow. For those of you who have read this column over the years, you know how much I care about this educational oasis. Last year was spent expanding the garden by three times. Now, it has 24 raised beds for vegetables and lots of space for ornamental planting. I can’t wait to see it full of color, plants and, most of all, kids.
Finish the last of the 2012 pickled beets. Even though I have kept them in a cool, dark place, I probably should pop the top on the last jar before I preserve the 2014 crop. I hope Wendy Rice isn’t reading this.
Remind all of you, repeatedly, how valuable Colorado State University Extension is in our community. In addition to youth development (4-H is so much more than the county fair), we offer classes about everything from food safety to gardening to farm economics to food preservation to animal husbandry. We teach this science-based information at little or no cost and frequently at locations throughout the county.
Get my desk organized. It’s really bad. Once, when I was a kid, I engraved a piece of wood for my dad that said, “A messy desk is the sign of genius.” Now, if I could only find that sign, I know just where to put it.
Grow the extraordinary. At some point, the kids and I will create our garden wish list for 2014. Well, really, I create it, but they think they have input. Call it guided inquiry – or maybe just being duped. But, perhaps, I will stick with the tried and true, the ordinary – maxibel beans, sun gold tomatoes – and let them pick the funky.
Lastly, I apologize to my mother for changing my picture in the newspaper. Yes, there is now (way) more hair on the chin than there is on the top. But I’m an adult, and I’m allowed to make my own decisions. And I forgot my phone to ask for your permission.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.