In 2022, gardeners can help ease political divisiveness by sharing, working together and respecting one another | #alaska | #politics

By Jeff Lowenfels

Updated: December 30, 2021 Published: December 30, 2021

This is my last column of the year! And what a year it has been. I usually reserve this column for expressing some grand thought like giving up on chemicals once and for all or recognizing that we are in the middle of climate warming and actually changing habits and practices to acknowledge and hopefully reverse that fact.

However, in recognition that I have strayed into garden politics more than a few times this year and that, actually, there is never a time I won’t get on my high horse about organics or global warming, I will go lightly into 2022.

What I really want to write about is that we gardeners have a huge responsibility. It seems to me we are the only ones who can unite a divisive country, starting at the family level and going on up, sharing, complementing and just acting like gardeners. Things are too divisive. Let gardening help heal that in 2022.

Frankly, I am sick of the shenanigans of the extreme edges of our political system this year — both sides. I have a feeling most gardeners are as well. It doesn’t matter which side or sides you choose, there has been way too much by way of extreme politics, utter conspiratorial idiocy and misdirected hate. These folks need to turn off cable TV and garden.

Face it: It doesn’t matter who you might vote for in 2022. In the next few weeks you need to germinate some sweet pea seeds and start the process of pinching their tips after they develop four sets of leaves. I recognize this is “modernist” advice that goes against the “originalist” method of starting sweet pea seeds, but if we are to have the kind of impact I envision, it makes sense to be a science-backed modernist and not rely on the traditional advice until it can be proven scientifically correct.

Then too, be you Republican or Democrat, regardless of where you stand on climate change or election issues, you must strip the wires and tinsel off your Christmas tree and get it to one of the Carrs lots as per the ALPAR program ( Landfill space is limited and new ones involve lots of taxpayer money. Recycling is not only easier, the chips are used on local trails. And recycling a tree is a sure way to show the requisite understanding that dealing with global warming requires action, not just words.

Note that your stored amaryllis does not care if you are a Republican, Democrat or independent. Regardless, if you want yours to rebloom, you need to pull them out of storage, water once and hope for a rebloom in February. And if you don’t own some, buy these big bulbs now, water them and stand back.

It doesn’t matter your political thoughts, you need to check in on those stored summer plants, the ones in that dark cool space. Their soil may need a bit of water and you might want to redo labels while you are at it, liberal or conservative.

Any pelargoniums growing indoors need to be pruned in January. Be you a Biden or other supporter, the red bracts will fall off your poinsettias and you will have to decide when to toss them. Thrips, spider mites or scale will infect some houseplant or another this winter and you will again have to decide if you want to toss it or try organics to rescue it. These are things that don’t care what your politics are.

The point is, life — and for us that means gardening — should not be controlled by the political craziness we experienced in 2021. We gardeners need to control it. We do so by acting like gardeners: sharing, working together, respecting each other and being friendly and helpful.

Jeff’s Alaska Garden Calendar

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Houseplants: Turn yours so the light doesn’t cause leaning.

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