|10 Ways to Make Gardening Easier
Tips for Making Your Time in the Garden More
Making gardening easier doesn't mean there won't always be
something to do in the garden. Although most gardeners enjoy the
time they spend working in their gardens, there comes a point
when garden tasks can get ahead of you, making you can feel like
you've bitten off more than you can chew. The following
gardening and garden planning tips can put you a little ahead of
Some of these tips are common sense and some may seem like more
work in the short term, but they all really will make gardening
easier for you. And that way you'll have time to create even
1. Feed the Soil You've heard it a thousand times, but do you do
it? Start with great soil and you'll wind up with great plants.
Healthy plants get less diseases, attract less insect pests and
require less water.
Plus you won't have to remember to fertilizer every other week.
Start with a good analysis of your existing soil. You can have
all the essential nutrients tested or just the pH. Many
nurseries provide this service as well as your local Cooperative
Extension Service. If your soil is deficient in any minerals or
nutrients, amend the soil according to recommendations. Then
keep adding organic matter, like compost, regularly.
Slow release, organic fertilizers can help supplement deficient
nutrients. But feeding plants with synthetic fertilizers can
actually destroy the beneficial organisms and organic matter
within soil and only provide a short fix. It's like turning your
garden into a drug addict. It will need regular doses of
fertilizer and more and more to get the same effect.
2. Group Plants by Their Needs I'm sure you've heard the saying
"Right plant for the right spot." That's the beginning of the
equation. Of course you're going to want to put sun lovers in
the sun and ground covers where they can roam. But consider how
efficient it would be if you put all your water hogs together so
you could just turn on the sprinklers or drag the hose to one
area and be done. The same goes for plants that require a lot of
deadheading or vegetables that need to be harvested daily or
hourly, like zucchini. You can still mix in different bloom
times and variations in color, form and texture. It's just the
heavy maintenance chores that should be consolidated.
3. Choose Lower Maintenance Perennials There will always be
primadona plants you have to have (although probably less and
less of them as you get older), but make the backbone of your
garden perennial flowers that can take care of themselves.
Plants like Astilbes and Sedums, that look good all season and
don't need deadheading, pinching or staking. Here are even more
low maintenance perennials.
4. Raised Beds & Containers It's much easier to control your
garden if it has definite boundaries. Containers provide the
ultimate in control. You control the soil, water, exposure and
even limit the growth of the plants in the container. Raised
beds separate the garden beds from their surroundings. Ideally,
lift the beds up by 6 inches or more. You'll have the benefits
of controlling your borders and you'll be saving your back from
5. Install Drip Irrigation This is one of those suggestions that
sounds like it's going to cost a fortune and require a
professional to install - and it can. But it doesn't have to.
They've reduced drip irrigation to a tinker toy level. Believe
me, if I can grasp it, so can you. There is an initial cost,
although no where near what you might fear, and you will need to
do some measuring. But unless you rely solely on rain to water
your gardens, you will actually save money in the long run. Drip
irrigation is far more efficient than any other type of
watering. Plus it puts all the water right where your plants
need it. Add an inexpensive timer and think of all the time
you've saved yourself. Check out this FAQ on Irrigation Systems
and Water Conservation over at About Landscaping.