Friday, June 1, 2012

6 Time-Saving Gardening Tips

We don’t always have as much time to spend in the garden as we would like. If you’re busy with work, school or kids, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow a fabulous garden and enjoy spending what little time you have in it. With a few time-saving gardening tips, you’ll be able to grow those organic vegetables you love without it feeling like a part-time job.

Tip # 1: Grow what You Eat

Only grow what you eat; that’s it. Why spend the time planting and caring for a bunch a vegetables you and you’re family aren’t that crazy about? Only grow the vegetables you like and the one’s you find yourself spending the most on at the grocery store.

Also, you don’t have to grow an acre of crops or plant the entire seed packet. Think about how much time you have to spend in the garden and plant accordingly.

Tip # 2: Plant Seedlings

Using seedlings instead of directly sowing seeds in the garden is a great time-saving tip. You can purchase as many or as little seedlings as you wish from your local plant nursery. Using seedlings cuts the amount of time spent planting your garden in half. Remember, not all vegetables transplant well, so, depending on what you want to plant, you may have to sow some seeds as well.

Tip # 3: Containers

Plant what you can in containers lining the deck or stairway. Maintaining a handful of containers - watering, weeding, feeding - takes up much less time than maintaining a garden plot. You may have to downscale but container gardening fits well into the lifestyle of a gardener with limited time.

Tip # 4: Mulch!

I can’t stress how much of a time-saver mulching is. Mulch helps control weeds organically and we all know how much time it takes to pull weeds, especially in a garden that hasn’t been tended to in a week. Mulch also helps retain moisture in the ground which means less time spent watering.

Tip # 5: High Yielding Varieties

Why not get more bang for your buck? When buying seeds or seedlings, look for varieties that are “prolific growers” or “high yielding.” These phrases mean that the variety produces an abundant amount of vegetables compared to other varieties.

Tip # 6: Seed Tapes

Seed tapes are great for planting tiny seeds. I use them every year to plant my radishes and carrots. Simply follow the spacing requirements on the back of the seed packet, stick your seeds to the tape, place in the garden and sprinkle with soil. You can make your own seed tapes or buy them already made. 

I find it easier to make small gardening goals for myself throughout the week, especially those weeks where the time I have to spend in the garden is limited. Setting these goals helps me to get more accomplished. For instance, on Monday I’ll pull the weeds that snuck through my mulch. Wednesday I’ll re-stake any plants that need it etc. Breaking down the work that needs to be done into small goals makes the work doable and less overwhelming.

Do you have any time-saving gardening tips to share?

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