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We have all made them, kept some, unsuccessful with others. New Year's resolutions for your gardens are a little easier to keep. For starters, they are months away and can be more thought out and with time to prepare, more easily accomplished. Here a few to consider:

Add more mulch where it can prevent weed growth, retain more moisture in your shrub beds and tree rings.

Mow the lawn higher with a sharp mower blade more frequently in the spring, summer and fall so the lawn will compete better against weeds and conserve soil moisture.

Start a compost pile or bin for spring clean up and add to it regularly, including fresh vegetable kitchen scraps. When you water your gardens, water the pile or bin too

Service the lawn mower 2-3 times a year to maintain a sharp mower blade and keep the underside of the deck clean for best performance

Keep a photo journal of your gardens this year. Take more when the gardens are changing quickly, especially during spring blooms and less during our hot dry summers and more again with fall cooler's.

Try at least one new vegetable for the dinner table this summer, or at least a different variety of your favorite traditional vegetable garden plants

Enjoy some early spring blooms indoors by clipping some flowering shrubs in the yard in march to force indoors and enjoying them again when they boom naturally

Resolve to take in a visit to your closest arboretum to see the winter beauty or visit a conservatory and enjoy the tropical nature of their foliage plants and humidity

Take that gardening class you have been putting off

Vow to prune your landscape plants more naturally, experiencing more bloom show and natural habit

Replace those old, dull hand pruners and saws to make pruning a happy time

Add more gardens by reducing the amount of lawn that will need mowing

Make the vegetable garden a multi- generational effort. Grandparents and parents do actually know about gardening and children are more likely to eat their veggies if they helped plant and tend the garden Weave some family history into the garden, how else are we going to learn what it was like "in the day"

Make one of those resolutions to start gardening early and go late into the fall. Gardeners in N. Illinois miss a lot of our already short growing season anyway. Using season extenders at both ends makes a lot of sense.

Vow to spend some time every day out in your gardens to enjoy the blooms, smells and observe nature at its best. Gardening does not always have to mean work.