Most gardeners love being out in the garden, but few want to see it as a chore. Even though the temperatures are getting cooler in most of the country, there are still lots of opportunities to make gardening easier.
With a bit of planning and a few easy tricks, your time in the garden can be an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor, without thinking that you have chewed off more than you can handle.
Just ask me. I do this all the time.
Make Gardening Easier by Following these 10 Tips
Eventually, I realized that I needed to work smarter out there, not harder. (story of my life in so many ways. These tips help.
1. It starts with the soil
Any gardening magazine or online source will tell you this. If you have great soil, you will get great plants. If your soil is less than optimal there are so many things you can do to improve it.
Start a compost pile and add a handful of compost with each plant. It will mean less time fertilizing and tending to soil related problems later and more time enjoying the flowers and veggies.
If you need to, get your soil tested. Many local governments will do this for free, so take advantage of it. They will tell you exactly what your soil needs and this will make gardening easier for you, right from the start.
2. Group plants by their needs
You will make a mountain of work for yourself if you have plants of different needs scattered here and there around your yard. I have all of my plants in containers on either my patio or a near by garden bed.
Shade perennials that don’t need much water are all in one spot. Vegetables that need daily watering are grouped together. This makes it so much easier to tend to the watering. I have one whole section just devoted to cacti and succulents.
I know that this section of the garden only needs the occasional watering, so they are in an area all on their own.
Adding a hose connector to your water source will help in watering the different groups as well.
In the back yard, I have lots of garden beds and a patio area, so I use a four way hose connector. Each area has its own hose. The four way connector makes it easy to water just the spot that I want.
I love bromeliads and other tropical plants. I’ve put them in my garden from time to time for this reason and always regretted it later. Why? It’s hot here in NC in the summer time, but can get quite cold in the winter.
Tropical plants just don’t grow in my zones. I end up having to dig them up and bring them indoors.
Better to just have a few as houseplants and plant native perennials and easy to grow annuals that are suited to my zone.
Do you like to spend all your time watering and weeding? If the answer is no (and it’s a resounding no from me) then do yourself a favor and add mulch. It protects the plants, keeps weeds to a minimum and helps to preserve moisture so less watering is needed.
This garden bed was made during the summer and I have hardly had to pull out much more than just a few small weeds.
I added the mulch early and it really helped with weed control and helps to make gardening easier for the whole summer.
These hoses let water seep out gently into your soil. Vegetables really love soaker hoses. Water the easy way! For the planters, drip irrigation heads on hoses also work well.
Both of these can be attached to the connectors show above and you won’t even have to remember to turn them on!
6. Don’t let weeds get out of control
Even with mulch, some weeds will grown. Attack them when they are young and small and they will usually come out with very little effort. I once had a crab grass weed that I ignored, thinking it was a day lily, if you can believe it.
I kept watching it from the deck thinking “that thing is a monster, but I don’t remember planting it.” It was a monster all right. By the time I got to it, my husband and I needed two shovels and lots of grunt.
DON’T EVEN ASK!….I was lazy that summer.
To prevent situations like this, consider adding a pre-emergent product such as Preen. I wish I had done so with this area of my garden. I have to really keep on top of it now.
Landscape cloth under the mulch also does a good job of keeping weeds from growing.
Many perennials are self seeders and will get out of control if you don’t deadhead. Better yet, cut the flowers and bring them indoors.
They won’t form heads if you do this. A bit of time deadheading means less time later dividing out of control perennials. (If you hate this job, check out these plants that don’t need deadheading)
8. Use a wagon
I can’t tell you the trips I have made from one end of the garden to the other and back again moving plants and supplies. Make this task easier with a child’s wagon or even a wooden flat bed wagon like this one.
Add your pots or supplies into it and move it all in one trip. Problem solved!
9. Get the kids involved
If you teach your child to garden when they are young and make it a game for them. (Let’s find the squash bugs and give them a bath comes to mind!) You’ll have a willing helper and will be encouraging a future gardener.
What child doesn’t like to use a watering can?
10. Winterize your tools
This is the time of the year to think about this. Don’t just put all those tools away, caked with mud and dirt.
If you do, you’ll pay for it in the spring. See my article on winterizing your tools. They will last longer, so you will save money, and it will make your gardening easier next year, for sure.
11. Garden Sheds
It doesn’t do any good to take care of your tools if you leave them out in the elements. All gardeners need a garden shed to store their tools. But garden sheds don’t have to be boring, plain buildings.
Dress them up, landscape around them and make them a part of the back yard. See some inspirational garden sheds here.
12. Garden on a Deck
If you don’t have room for a large vegetable garden, you can still get a good harvest in your yard. Grow vegetables in containers on a deck garden.
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