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Today is May 9, 2021

Southern Gardening

2021 Resolve to be an intentional gardener

By Dr. Gary Bachman

2021 Resolve to be an intentional gardener

It’s February but it’s still enough of a new year to say Happy New Year!

Boy, oh boy, what a number COVID laid on us in 2020. It was clearly demonstrated how ill-prepared we are for disruptions in many supply chains. Who can forget the short supplies of toilet paper, and who has not put away a couple of extra rolls just in case?

One positive COVID outcome that occurred in 2020 — if it’s OK to say COVID and positive in the same sentence — was the tremendous increase and interest in consumer horticulture.

But even this caused shortages of many gardening and horticultural essentials, from seeds to transplants, and from hoses to fertilizers. These shortages occurred because no one could have predicted the demand.

Now I’m not complaining. My goal as a Mississippi State University Extension Service consumer horticulture specialist is to promote the home garden and landscape and create excitement in them. So, I’ll take any help I can to get more people gardening and receiving the benefits from it.

As I look at the 2021 gardening year that has already started, I would like to see home gardeners become intentional gardeners.

Now, this is different than simply having good intentions for the garden. Calling ourselves gardeners implies that we have good intentions of having a successful garden. But in reality, good intentions don’t mean much.

For example, I meant to pull some pesky weeds, but the latest episode of “The Mandalorian” was just released. That’s such a 2020 COVID excuse.

I’m talking about gardening with a purpose.

This does not mean you have to have a huge garden. Being an intentional gardener has nothing to do with the size of your garden. Whether your garden is 10,000-square feet or a set of containers on the porch or patio, intentional gardeners act on their intentions to have a successful gardening experience.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about and planning what you would like to accomplish this year in your garden and landscape.

Like me, you may already be receiving a pile of gardening and seed catalogs, as this is the traditional garden-planning time of year. These catalogs are great resources to help plan an intentional garden. Many good gardening intentions are made while thumbing through catalogs and creating a mental wish list for a glorious garden.

The beautiful images of flowers and gorgeous fruits and vegetables are like a siren’s song — so alluring — but it is important to avoid going overboard. Unrealistic expectations for the coming garden harvest can happen to even the most experienced Extension consumer horticulture specialist. (In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about myself here.)

Over the next several Southern Gardening columns, I’m going to discuss becoming an intentional gardener. I will share tips to give us the power to fight the garden’s siren song.

So, here’s to having our best intentional gardens possible in 2021.


Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member.

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