Looking Ahead to 2014

It’s the time of year when everyone starts making their resolutions and planning ahead for the next year.  In the gardening world, we’re doing the same thing.  Here are a few things to look out for in 2014:

Each year, the National Garden Bureau predicts an annual, vegetable and perennial to be showcased that are chosen for their popularity, versatility, and simplicity. NGB is predicting 2014 to be the Year of Cucumber, the Year of Petunias and theYear of Echinacea.  All of these have not only been popular for years, but are great plants to grow in our Midwest conditions.

While miniature gardening and edible gardening have grown in popularity over the past few years, this year gardeners will focus on combining the two.  Creating edible gardens that can be planted in containers and take up less room than the traditional garden is the latest trend. Container crops and rooftop gardens will be taking center stage. There are even new varieties of plants coming out to help keep things on the compact side.  We’ve always loved Patio tomatoes for being good for the container garden, but now there are new tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers coming out that can be grown in pots. 

With your edible gardens, don’t just think of your typical tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.  Many people are now growing everything from strawberries to quinoa and other foods from around the world. They are mixing their local cuisine with other cultures in both their kitchen and their gardens.

Along the lines of edible gardening, fermentation gardens are becoming more popular. With your typical garden, you grow lots of things that are perfect for juicing and making smoothies. Fermentation gardens are gardens where ingredients for wine or home-brewed beer are grown. Grapes for wine, barley or hops for beer.  These gardens are a main factor in the reason men aged 18-34 are beginning to garden more.

With everyone trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, edible gardening is just one place you’ll see gardeners doing.  Another area is composting.  This is becoming the “New Recycling”.  Instead of just separating your plastics and papers from your garbage, people are now saving food scraps and creating compost piles.

There are also lots of new gadgets and apps on the market to help gardeners.  With new grow lights, indoor vertical gardens and floor-safe containers, gardeners can easily grow crops all year long both indoors and out. Any quick questions can be easily answered with the many gardening smartphone apps that are out there. When you find yourself stumped, the answers are literally at your fingertips. 

In 2014, gardening will continue to grow in popularity.  Many people will be expanding their homes to create outdoor living spaces for entertaining and creating a balance in their lives. Dressing up the garden with accent pieces from furniture to fountains and statues, gardeners will begin to really dwell in their outdoor space.

While many gardeners like to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to their gardens, the new trend is to plant for the bees. These little guys can be quite beneficial to all of your plants and your garden.  With the environmental impact people, cell phone towers, and everything else is having on them, planting a few native, pollen rich plants will help keep them around.

With the wild winter we have already had here in the Midwest, it is also looking like we may beat the impatiens downy mildew that wreaked havoc on many of our gardens the past two years. In order for the disease to be killed off  we need 3 or more consecutive nights of below zero temperatures. So while we can hate the cold, at least we can plant our impatiens again!

All in all, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for gardening!

Christian Goers