Happy New Year, avid golfers and I hope that 2022 exceeds your expectations in every area of your life. January is often a cold and transition month for all of us who maintain golf courses and green spaces. However, one thing that jumps out this time of year (did you set any personal goals or resolutions) is that we are setting goals, planning the work, and aligning the budgets for the upcoming season. If we fail to plan as they say we are planning to fail. Golf Course Superintendents as proven financial and environmental managers have developed some unique processes that can apply easily to your personal situations so in that spirit this month’s Ask the Superintendent question covers how to set GREEN Goals and build a plan for your Lawn and Garden success in 2022.
We are going to cover a lot of things but first we need a basic understanding of goal setting. You are probably familiar with the SMART method of goal setting; SMART is an acronym for the basic steps for successful goal setting. They are S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic and T – Timed (has a deadline). These are proven ways to guide your goal setting success and provide an excellent foundation but there is another method used by some of the most accomplished green industry professionals that you might not be familiar with but could certainly add to your list of garden tools. You need to establish GREEN Goals for your lawn and garden success. Whether you manage a micro green space or a 400+ acre world famous green space this strategy can take you from good to great. GREEN is an acronym for G – Generational, R – Relevant, E – Easy to Start, E – Environomic and N – Networkable. I have used GREEN goal setting throughout my career at some amazing golf properties, but I have used it just as effectively in residential and community applications. If you are ready to take your gardening and lawn care to the next level, then let’s look at how you can use GREEN goal setting to move your personal green assets from good to great!
First, GREEN Goals should be (G) Generational. They should have a connection beyond the present day. For example, plant an Heirloom tree, grape vine, fig tree or design a garden/landscape with a 20-year plan that is designed to be passed on to the next generation. This first step in establishing a GREEN goal should make you think in a larger multi-dimensional way.
GREEN Goals should be (R) Relevant. In today’s world with everything from the pandemic to the economy to consider relevance is more important than ever. The one thing I have seen a huge increase in that fits this area so well is the increase in home or micro gardening. Growing your own food ensures quality and availability. You may even start a seed bank to make sure that you have seed for next year and the seeds will be genetically matched to plants that performed well last year.
GREEN Goals should be (E) Easy to start. The problem with most goals or New Year’s resolutions is that while we often intend to do them, they seldom get off the ground must less sustained, so it is important that a GREEN goal be easy to start and progress smoothly. You must reverse engineer the project or process to find logical and easy to start first steps that can align to craft synergy as the process goes forward. Using our home garden as a muse step one might be to do one hour of research on successful home gardening. Then evaluate your site with that criterial to establish placement and size. Then move to acquiring the necessary tools and materials to prepare the area (In ground or raised beds for instance) and lastly gather plants and seeds for the actual planting. Followed by a heavy dose of maintenance which of course leads to a tasty harvest. Remember to get to the harvest the whole process must be easy to start and flow logically. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
GREEN Goals should be (E) Environomic. What is Environomics you may ask. This is a term that I coined back in the early 1980’s that simply means that you blend your environmental plans into your financial plans to create synergy in both. GREEN goals should certainly contain a heavy dose of environomics, for example, starting that home garden and building a great back yard space for entertaining at home can improve your green footprint and also save you money on food and reduce the number of times you eat out or travel. Thus, it is good for the environment and makes economic sense as well. You should be able to quantify a Return on Investment with these GREEN projects/goals.
GREEN Goals should be (N) Networkable. This is sometimes hard for the introverted but to truly maximize the GREEN goal process you should make sure that your goals and projects are networkable. You should be able to share results and data with other gardeners or the community (perhaps social media). This article is actually part of one of my GREEN Goals for my current role at Four Seasons Dallas. And, depending on the size and scope of your projects generate GREEN public relations having your work featured in newspapers or garden/environmental publications. I once reached the Holy Grail of GREEN public relations and had one of our projects mentioned in an article that was featured on the front page of the New York Times such is the power of synergy when GREEN goals are implemented and sustained.
It would not be a great Ask the Superintendent article if we did not include a top ten list so here is a top ten list of potential GREEN goal projects for you to consider in 2022. This is the starter list so feel free to be creative and craft some world class GREEN goals and projects this year. Remember to play lots of golf and keep reading Avid Golfer magazine.
Top Ten GREEN Goal Projects for 2022
10. Plant a small herb and vegetable garden
9. Create a micro habitat with bird feeders, nest boxes, and a bird bath
8. Convert your mulch to stone and xeriscape parts of your landscape
7. Switch your lawn care tools from gas to electric power
6. Start a recycling program at your home
5. Sign up to become a Texas Master Gardener, join a garden club
4. Build an outdoor oasis (plants and hardscapes) pool, fire pit, pizza oven etc.
3. Start a Library of gardening books and begin a garden journal
2. Add plants with fragrance to your garden/landscape
1. Plant an Heirloom tree (Oak, Elm, Maple etc.)