Barnet Post

Barnet Post

New year, new beginnings

Time to set your gardening goals for 2022

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Wendy's garden in New Barnet (Credit: Wendy Alcock)
By Wendy Alcock 09 January 2022

Happy new year, gardeners and growers of Barnet! January may be a relatively cold and dark month but it’s also a time of anticipation because we are past the winter solstice and spring is on its way. 

The start of the year is, of course, also the month we like to set challenges for ourselves to try new things or stop bad habits. So with that in mind, here are a few suggestions of new year’s resolutions to try in your little slice of green this year: 

Grow a new plant (ideally food) 

No matter how many years you’ve been growing it’s always fun to try and grow something new. Last year I tried peanuts for the first time (not very successfully) but the luffas the year before were lush. Fun fact: if you try and grow any of your own food I promise you will come away with increased respect for the farmers around the world who feed us three times a day. And it will also taste better than anything you can buy from the shops. 

Stop using peat in compost 

Sadly lots of the compost sold by garden centres and supermarkets contains peat which is a hugely important carbon-rich plant material that’s being used up at an alarming rate. When peat is extracted the carbon it’s holding in the ground is released as carbon dioxide, which, rather than slowing down climate change only serves to speed it up. Look for peat-free composts and if a retailer doesn’t have any in stock ask them why. 

Volunteer at a community garden 

Barnet has an increasing number of community gardens sprouting up across the borough. From food growing to ‘friends of ’ green spaces, most of them are always on the lookout for another pair of hands to help out. They’re a great way to learn new skills and meet your neighbours in the great outdoors too. 

Make a small pond or build a bug hotel 

These are two fun ways to encourage more wildlife into your plot and they don’t need to be huge – an old washing up bowl makes a great pond. Bees, birds and beetles will love both and don’t forget wildlife equals chemical-free pest control later in the year. 

Swap something you no longer need 

We’re all guilty of holding on to things for that ‘just in case moment’ (aren’t we!?) but January is a great time for a clear out. You might even get something more useful back in return! If you have seeds you no longer need I’ll be holding a seed swap in High Barnet on Sunday 6th March (subject to covid rules). Look out for more info online in the next few weeks. 

You’ll find other resolution ideas in previous issues of Barnet Post (watering wisely in July, composting in October, avoiding chemicals in November or tree planting in December) but please get in touch to let me know what new year’s resolutions you’ll be making in your garden this year. 

Follow @HaveAGrow on Instagram or visit Wendy in her community garden ‘Incredible Edible’ in New Barnet