While it hasn’t necessarily felt like it due to some recent late-season snow flurries, it’s technically springtime which means I’ve got gardening on my mind! My domain includes the flower beds that surround our house on all sides and my collection of pots that I like to use for annuals, while my eldest son typically oversees the raised beds in our vegetable garden.
I can’t wait to get out there and start planting, and I’m sure I’m not the only one itching to my hands dirty! :-) So to help us all start this growing season out on the right food, I’ve put together a list of useful gardening tips to share with you in today’s post.
But these aren’t just any old gardening tips—they are all centered around planting and cultivating a garden that’s easy to maintain. With the help of these tips, you can spend less time and effort working on your garden and more time enjoying it! :-)
7 Gardening Tips That Will Save You Time And Energy
1. Choose The Right Plants
Wondering which plants to put in your garden? A good starting point is to find out which “Hardiness Zone” you live in, which you can do by entering your ZIP code into the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder. The USDA developed this system to help gardeners easily determine which plants will grow well in their particular climate.
You’ll also want to consider the growing conditions of the area you’ll be planting, including how much light it gets during the day, the soil conditions, etc. Each of these factors will have an impact on what you plant, so do your research and make use of local gardening resources.
2. Mulch, Mulch, And More Mulch
Mulch can make a nice visual addition to your garden, but it plays an important functional role as well. Covering the top of the soil with a layer of mulch helps keep your plant’s roots cool, helps the soil retain moisture, and can even discourage weeds from sprouting.
There are all sorts of types of mulch to choose from, like shredded bark, wood chips, pebbles, grass clippings, compost, cocoa hull, and even straw. Also, keep in mind that while inorganic mulches like pebbles can be long-lasting, they won’t feed your plants and soil like organic mulches can.
3. Water The Smart Way
Save time, energy, and money by using soaker hoses in your garden. Soaker hoses deliver water directly to the soil around your plants, minimizing water loss from wind and heat. Then hook your soaker hose up to an automatic timer to make your garden easier to maintain than ever!
4. Keep It Simple
When “spring fever” hits, it can be easy to go overboard and buy more plants than you can actually take care of. If you’re new to gardening, stick to a smaller space with a few productive plants at first. You can always scale up as you go!
5. Make It A Team Sport
Find a friend, neighbor, family member, or gardening buddy to team up with. As my mom used to say when she would make me go help weed her plot at the community garden when I was a girl, “Many hands make light work!” ;-)
Working together not only makes gardening easier, but it can make it more enjoyable too. Just be sure to treat yourselves to a refreshing drink or snack when you’re done!
6. Try A No-Dig Garden
If you’re looking for a low-effort and low-commitment way to start up a brand new garden plot, try a no-dig garden! Instead of ripping out grass or other plants in order to till the actual soil, you use the ground as the base layer of your new garden beds.
Layer some cardboard, compost, and mulch on top of the ground, and voila! Your no-dig garden will be ready to plant. Learn more about starting your own no-dig garden here.
7. Plant Trusty Perennials
Over the decades that I’ve been growing perennials, I’ve learned that no matter how much research you do about a new plant, there’s always a chance that it will shrivel up and die on you for no reason. And that can be a real blow to morale for those of us who like to try out new and unusual plants!
But you can lessen the blow by filling most of the space in your flower beds with easy-to-grow, tried-and-true perennials that do well in your area. That way you still have room to try out new and interesting plants, but if they die, it won’t have as much of a negative impact.
If you’re not sure which perennials grow well in your area and which don’t, take a walk around the neighborhood and see for yourself! Take note of any perennials that are thriving in multiple different yards, because they’ll likely do well in your yard too! :-)
Do you have any gardening tips that help you save time or effort?