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 like "quit smoking" or "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 will probably 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 excellent way to stay physically active (ever try weeding in our clayey 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 breadsticks, lemonades, and green chile 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 as research from the University of Scranton shows a resolution-success-rate of 8%. 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 garden blossom and grow. For those of you who have read this article over the years, you know how much I care about this educational oasis. 2013 was spent expanding the garden to three times its size, now with 24 raised beds for vegetables and lots of space for ornamental planting. So now I cannot 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 should probably pop the top of the last jar before I preserve the 2014 crop. I hope Wendy Rice isn't reading this.
- Remind all of you, repeatedly, how valuable CSU Extension is in our community. In addition to youth development (4-H is so much more than the County Fair) we offer classes on 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 then 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, apologize to my mother for changing my picture in the newspaper. Yes, there is now (way) more hair on the chin then 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 your permission.