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Five resolutions for Colorado gardeners in the new year

Gardeners should check seed inventories and buy seeds now — they sell out quickly. (

Betty Cahill / Special to the Denver Post)

edu/ask-cmg">http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/ask-cmg.shtml. For helpful lists of online yard and garden publications: http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/pubs.shtml

3. Plan now. Chase away the winter blues with garden planning. See what’s new this season in the garden catalogs that are arriving by the minute or just a click away on garden websites. Pull out your landscape plan to see what needs to be finished or tweaked. No plan? Now is a good time to sketch the landscape (no architecture expertise required) and make notes where improvements or changes can be made.

If you’re planning or drawing challenged, hire a landscape professional. Their trained eyes and suggestions will be well worth their fee, even for small jobs. Experienced designer’s schedules fill up quickly and early in the season. You get what you pay for, so book their services now. Look for skilled, knowledgeable professionals from reliable friends and neighbors or from these fine resources: Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, alcc.com; Garden Centers of Colorado, gardencentersofcolorado.org; Colorado Arborists and Lawn Care Professionals treeandlawncareco.org; and International Society of Arboriculture, isa-arbor.com.

4. Prepare seeds. Get your seed starting supplies ready for the season. First, inventory your seed cache. Toss seeds that are several seasons old — most last only up to four years even if stored in a cool, dark, dry location. Buy new seeds now; new seed introductions sell out quickly.

Inventory, clean and sterilize all your seed starting equipment and containers with a one-to-10 bleach or vinegar solution.

Think thrifty. Start gathering empty eggshell cartons or clean yogurt containers for seed starting; just be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage. Always use fresh, sterile potting soil. Grow lights are helpful for the early winter seed starting when days are still short; closer to spring a sunny window will work fine. Purchase grow light systems in garden centers or online. A low cost option is a do-it-yourself light stand made from wood or PVC with hanging fluorescent or LED lights.

5. Enjoy! It’s not said often enough, but enjoy the process of gardening this year. Resolve to spend more time sitting and viewing your garden than fretting and fussing over what still needs to be finished. Yes, for many, a garden is always a work in progress, but who says that it has to be perfect? Not me. Enjoy it!

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