21 Tips for an Expertly Organized Garden
Never worry again where your gardening supplies are. These 21 tips will make you an expert at garden organization.
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There is so much benefit to growing your own garden for your produce consumption. Maybe you feel overwhelmed with how to keep things organized and maintained over the gardening season. Perhaps you do not own a shed and feel confused as to where you can store all of the necessary tools. These 21 tips will give you a cheat sheet to creating and sustaining not only your garden but also the tools of the trade.
Plant Fresh Vegetables
While this may be a no-brainer when talking about gardening, it’s worth mentioning the not only do you save money by growing your own vegetables but time making trips to the grocery also. Having a garden out back to “shop” in just simplifies your meal routines. It also keeps your diet healthier when fresh produce is so readily accessible.
Love flowers but hate having to purchase, plant and maintain them every year? Plant perennials instead, which come back every year. You plant once and enjoy them every year after with minimal effort.
List Your Garden Chores
Setting up a written schedule of all of your garden chores will be a lifesaver. You won’t forget what you have to do or when to do it. It also helps to have a written schedule in case you need someone to step in while you go on vacation. They will have everything they need to keep on top of your garden right at their fingertips.
Don’t Buy Green Garden Tools
This may seem silly at first, but when the handles of your garden tools are green they are easier to lose in the lawn. They will blend in and make it more difficult to complete clean up. Purchase brightly colored tools that will stand out clearly against the green of your garden. Already own green handled tools? Just spray paint the handles in a bright color. No need to buy new.
Fill in Empty Spots
You took the time to plant perennials last year, but as they emerge you see bare spots. As this occurs, have wooden stakes or popsicle sticks in your toolkit to mark where needs filled in. Write the name or type of plant you would like to fill in with. When fall planting time comes, you will know exactly where to fill in.]
Protect Your Car
Not everyone has access to a truck in order to make those dirty trips to the nursery. Keep the interior of your car clean by always having plastic stored for placing under your plant purchases. Large trash bags work wonderfully. Laying these out for dirty purchases keeps water and dirt from staining your interior.
Use Popsicle Sticks
Instead of investing in plant markers, treat your kids to frozen treats more often. Not only will they have a cool treat as the weather gets warmer, but you have free plant markers to use to keep the garden more organized. Just soak them in a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part bleach to get out any sugar that may attract ants. Then dry them and write down the information you want to mark.
Consider Container Gardening
Don’t have the yard space to devote to a garden? Grow your veggies in containers instead. There are tons of vegetables that grow perfectly in containers. Invest in a good container gardening book. I recommend Edible Spots and Pots by Stacey Hirvela.
Do it Yourself, Without Working
A well-maintained garden is a well-watered garden. Rather than spend every morning worrying about the garden drying out during the day while you are at work, invest in a sprinkler system or attachment for your hose. I have this oscillating waterer that I run each morning (as needed) as I get ready to head to work. By turning it on and walking away, I not only get a hydrated garden, but I also get time to do the other things that I need to do.
Love containers of flowers or vegetables? Using containers for quite a few things? Invest in some self-watering pots for your plants. By having the reservoir of water already on hand, even the hottest of summer days will not dry out and scorch your hard work. I especially love self-watering pots for herbs. The water at the bottom helps the root system grow deeper, making for stronger harvests.
Get a Good Mower
Make the effort to save up for a good self-propelled lawn mower. By spending a little more money initially, you will save yourself not only money but time and energy in the long run.
If you can, invest in an oscillating sprinkler with a timer. You may also want to set a timer on other aspects of your landscaping, like any pumps or electrical systems you have. By setting things to run automatically, you save yourself the time and headache of worrying about getting these tasks finished.
Use Soaker Hoses
I have edible plants in my landscaping (blueberries and raspberries) out front. Instead of using a sprinkler for such a long narrow area, I instead have soaker hoses laid at the base of these plants to water them. The hoses are hooked into my rain barrel. Not only do the plants get watered in a way that is healthier for them, but the water is free and untreated by the city. By turning on the spigot when I turn on the oscillating sprinkler, all of my plants stay happy and healthy during the hot summer months.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Keeping your lawn mowed consistently will help keep your mowing time to a minimum. By mowing more often (I recommend twice a week unless there is a drought) you keep it at a more easily cut lawn. This saves you time by not having to slow down to get an even cut.
Mulch, Mulch, and More Mulch
Don’t scrimp when it comes to mulching. Not only does mulch make your garden beds look prettier, it also feeds your soil, seals in moisture and keeps weeds at bay. Make sure that you are mulching to a depth of at least 2″ when you lay it this spring.
Get a Hedge Trimmer
Don’t waste time using a small pair of hand held shears to cut back your hedges or spent plants. Invest in an electric hedge trimmer to speed up the process and keep your sanity.
High & Dry
Store your pesticide, chemicals and other fertilizers and garden products on a high shelf in your garage or shed. Lock them up, if possible. By keeping them up and out of the way, you will ensure that curious children or pets are safe from accidentally ingesting them.
Keep Feeders Full
Keep an eye on your bird feeders (hummingbird feeders too) to see how many days they take to empty. Add this task of filling the feeders to your garden chore schedule. Maybe you attach this chore to another. I know I fill my hummingbird feeders at the same time that I take lawn waste to the curb each week.
Rake the Leaves
While it may seem to be a waste of time, don’t leave the leaves just lay. Leaving them can kill your turf and leave dead spots for the next year. Raking them and using them as mulch for your plants and trees is a better use for them. Make a thick bed of leaves around the base of your trees and bushes to keep the roots warmer and watered over the winter months. This also helps keep weeds to a minimum.
Mulch Grass Clippings
Many people bag their lawn clippings here in the suburbs. If you live in an area with a Home Owner’s Association, you may be required to do so. If you can, mulch them instead. By mulching and returning the clippings to the yard, you are giving your lawn valuable nutrients as the clippings decompose. It also saves time and hassle by not having to bag up the clippings and dispose of them.
Maintain Your Tools
You pay good money for good tools, so why abuse them? Keep your lawn mower’s blades sharpened. Rinse your lawn tools after use. Oil them once they are dry and store them handle side up in a bucket of sand to prevent rust. Make sure you aren’t leaving tools lay out in the elements. Take good care of your tools and they will be good to you for years to come.
Having a few simple tricks to maintaining your garden can make or break your outdoor plans for the summer. Keeping your tools at the ready and saving time and effort where you can in order to make time for other things will really improve your gardening game this year.
Have any other tips & tricks to share? I would love to hear how you keep on top of your gardening chores.