If you are like half of the population of the United States you will have made new year resolutions and already forgotten them. So this is a second chance to encourage you to think again. I found an article on the Penn State Extension website which recommends ten resolutions for gardeners. Number one should not be a problem: “If you are not a gardener, become one”. And number ten is simple: “Enjoy”.

Did you make New Year?s resolutions this year? Statistics show that at least 50 percent of Americans do so, but many don?t maintain them for more than a couple of weeks. You may be able to achieve some of your goals (such as living a simpler life, exercising and losing weight) by making gardening resolutions. It?s not too late because, after all, Chinese New Year is not until February 8. Here are ten great suggestions to help you choose.
1. If you are not a gardener, become one.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an activity of moderate intensity, such as gardening, for 2.5 hours each week can reduce the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and premature death. It is scientifically proven that gardening wards off depression: it is difficult not to enjoy life when surrounded by flowers, vegetables and the resulting wildlife they attract. In addition to culinary and health benefits, a garden increases property value and saves money. The question is not, ?Why garden?? but, ?Why not garden?? If you don?t have a yard, start by planting containers on your deck.
2. Test your soil.
Whether you have an established garden or are starting a new one, this is a great way to begin the gardening year. Purchase a soil test kit from a Penn State Extension? county office and follow the instructions. Simply take a sample of your soil, send it to their lab for analysis and comply with the resulting recommendations. Your plants will thank you.
3. Lessen the use of harmful products.
Add one new sustainable gardening method, such as eliminating chemical fertilizers, to your routine to minimize negative effects on the environment. I add a layer of compost to each bed in the spring to improve the health of the soil and increase the bounty of flowers and vegetables. Resolve to make your own compost by turning kitchen scraps, leaves, and yard waste into nutrient-rich material. Contact the Extension office for more information on how to make compost.

See the other seven at Penn State Extension