Gardening is a lot of hard work, but it should also be fun. Growing beautiful flowers or harvesting delicious, healthy edibles is satisfying, but most importantly, gardening offers us an opportunity to slough off the worries of the day, to get our hands in the dirt, and to enjoy working in partnership with Mother Nature. Let me share some garden wisdom I’ve learned over the years to make your time management outdoors more enjoyable.
Making Gardening Fun Again
Okay, we all get busy. There are many things we plan to do in the garden, and then for whatever reason, we don’t. If gardening has become a grueling task, you’re probably doing something wrong. These gardening tips may help you get things back into perspective.
Perfection has no place in the garden. A perfect garden isn’t healthy for you or the environment. Give up on the idea of a perfectly manicured lawn and forget about flower beds with razor-sharp edges. If you’re competing with your neighbor for the greenest landscape, stop.
Plant a few natives. Native plants don’t need fertilizer or rich soil. They require very little water once established, they tend to be disease-resistant, and they attract native bees and other important pollinators. Mostly, they’re just plain beautiful, so let them do much of the work while you take a load off. If you’re not sure what plants are native to your area, seek advice from a Master Gardener, your local cooperative extension office, or a nursery specializing in native plants.
Buy local. Unlike plants from big box stores, locally grown plants aren’t shipped across the country, so they’re already acclimated to your climate. Local growers understand growing conditions in your area, and they’re committed to providing their customers with strong, healthy plants. When buying locally, you’re supporting your community, the local economy, and the environment. Also, you may find that locally grown plants are less expensive than the big boxes.
Invest in a few good tools. I depend on my Hori Hori knife for digging, cutting, scooping, planting, and so much more. I also love my Japanese weeding sickle. At 17 inches (43 cm.), it isn’t as long as a hoe, but provides plenty of leverage for removing weeds and cultivating soil without straining my knees or back. I’m quite sure I could get by with these two basic tools, along with a good pair of pruners and a wheelbarrow. If you’re pressed for time, these will certainly help.
Get rid of plants you don’t like. Don’t spend a lot of time taking care of plants you don’t enjoy and those that aren’t thriving. Just get rid of them and plant something new. The previous owners of my house planted a large patch of some type of weird, non-blooming allium. The plants were interesting in a way, but last summer I realized they were contributing absolutely nothing, so I dug them out. I felt a little guilty and murderous, but I’ll enjoy replacing them with something I love and have time for.
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