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Extension > Extension in your Community > Douglas > County Horticulture Educator > Articles > Set Your Gardening Intentions for 2021

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Set Your Gardening Intentions for 2021

During the holiday season I try to spend some time quietly reflecting on the past year and setting intentions for the coming year. A part of this process includes considering last year’s garden and dreaming up ideas for next year.

Here are some of the things you might think about as you look through catalogs and choose seeds for your 2021 garden.

Make note of anything you were lacking last year, and make some more space for it this year. If you have more produce than you can eat, preserve, or give away, consider adding some more shelf-stable plants to your garden this year such as dry beans, popcorn, amaranth, or herbs for tea. Don’t feel like you need to grow everything! There are so many amazing local farmers to support throughout the year. 

As you plan your garden for 2021, do you see any opportunities to squeeze in a cover crop? Building soil organic matter is an important part of garden resilience; soils with more organic matter do a better job of holding on to nutrients and water. An easy and effective way to build soil organic matter is to include cover crops. Don’t feel like you need to plant a cover crop in every bed. Challenge yourself to start small with one bed, and build up towards more as you get the hang of it. 

Did you have challenging diseases in your garden in 2020? If you know which diseases you struggled with last year, you can look for resistant varieties to plant in 2021. In addition to selecting resistant varieties, remember to rotate your crops. An ideal rotation is 3 to 4 years, so if you planted tomatoes in your garden bed last year, try not to plant anything from the Solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, potatoes) in that spot for the next few years. 

For more information about garden planning, visit www.extension.umn.edu.