Park News January 2011

  The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Your Park Garden News
In this issue:

Most Popular Park News Articles of 2010
2011 is the Year of the Tomato & Zinnial
Lessons from My First Garden Contest
Mark You Calendars
The Most Popular News Articles of 2010

These are our subscribers' favorite newsletter topics from 2010.

March — 2010 is the Year of the Marigold & the Squash
Each year the National Garden Bureau selects one flowering plant and one vegetable to honor, and 2010 celebrates two native American families:Marigold (genus Tagetes) and Squash (genus Cucurbita)!

May — Direct-Sowing Tips
There are a number of vegetables that perform best when they're sown directly into your garden. Since a lot of you are probably starting this process now, we wanted to provide a few tips that will help you have a healthy and bountiful crop.

June — Mother Nature Has a Bad Night at Park Seed
Just one day after a fun "let's spruce up the gardens" session here at Park, nature unleashed a furious thunderstorm that resulted in the worst damage ever experienced in the many decades we have gardened and worked here in Greenwood.

September — Feed the Birds!
As summer ends, many flowering plants literally go to seed. And while they may not look their best from a flower-cutting standpoint, they are a valuable source of nutrition for hungry birds this autumn and early winter.

May — Park Gardeners are Trivia Whizzes!
Last month's Garden Trivia contest brought out the inner Alex Trebek in us all! We were pleasantly deluged with entries, and from all the correct responses have randomly selected the following 5 lucky folks to receive a $15 Park Seed Gift Certificate.

August — Tips for Freezing Fresh Vegetables from Your Garden
Are your vegetable harvests beginning to pile up on the counter? Do folks at church avoid your eye when you arrive lugging big sacks of orphaned veggies? Are you considering ripping out the chicken-wire fence you constructed so carefully last spring and letting animals feast to their hearts' content in your vegetable patch?

September — The Benefits of Gardening Organically
In honor of National Organic Month, we'd like to remind you of the many advantages "going organic" can have for your garden and your health.
2011 is the Year of the Tomato & Zinnia
Small Zinnia

Each year our friends at the National Garden Bureau select one flower and one vegetable to highlight for home gardens. The year 2011 is the year of the Tomato and the Zinnia, two of the most popular and widely grown items in American gardens. Check out their amazingfact sheets, or start selecting Tomato and Zinnia varieties to include in your garden today.

Lessons from My First Garden Contest

Do you remember that first time you sowed a seed? Hoed a row? Built a raised bed? Well, we want to hear all about it! Tell us about your first gardening experiences, and what you lessons you may have learned from those early beginnings. After all, we find the best garden advice often comes from our friends and neighbors, and we're eager to share your tips with other new gardeners! We'll choose one submission to receive a $25 Gift Certificate!

Share your experience with other gardeners for a chance to win a $25 Gift Certificate from Park Seed! The deadline for entry is January 23rd, and we'll select 1 winner from all the entries we receive. Send us your best tips today! Details here.

January Dates to Remember

January 1New Year's Day — This day starts another chance to make a new list of resolutions — losing weight, exercising, smiling more, and saving money are a few popular ones. Well, we can't make you reach those goals, but we can help with some of them. Save money by growing your ownfruits and veggies, which will lead to some of those other goals: gardening provides exercise, facilitating weight loss, which combined with all the money you'll save by harvesting your own healthy, delicious food is sure to make you smile! Happy New Year!

Eastern Bluebird

January 5Bird DayFor die-hard birders, every day is bird day, but for those of us who can't tell the difference between a brown-headed nuthatch and a flamingo, it's good to have a day to take our hats off to our feathered friends. Today is the last day of the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count. Amateur and experienced birders team up to count every bird they hear or see that day, within designated areas. The data collected allows researchers, conservation biologists, and interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. So go fill that bird feeder and grab some binoculars!

January 19Martin Luther King Jr. Day — King was an activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. In 1963 he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, establishing himself as one of the greatest orators in US history. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work Squirrel Starto end racial segregation and racial discrimination. On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, but his words, beliefs, and efforts for equality are still alive and well today.

January 21Squirrel Appreciation Day — They're cute, furry, and plain irresistible as they sit munching on a nut, their tails twitching and their bright eyes shining with intelligence. So take the opportunity to watch them — I bet they'll make you smile!

January 30 — National Seed Swap Day — What a great way to try out new and exciting plants! If you can't find an arranged seed swap near you, start your own. Exchanging seeds with your neighbors will be fun and just might turn up that garden jewel you've been seeking! Happy trading!