It's all about balance...and reality.
Updated: Apr 11, 2019
As a busy mom of three boys and a business owner, I know the obstacles of balancing schedules. One thing, no matter how busy life gets, I can’t give up my gardening. Even though I get to work with beautiful plants all day, I need to surround myself with that at home as well. Getting my hands in the dirt, watering, or dead heading at home isn’t the same chore it is at work. It helps me to clear my mind and work out some stress.
Here are a few tips that might save you some time and take a little of the work out of gardening.
Plant what you’ll use
Why bother planting rows of onions if you’re the only one using them? Keep it simple or don’t plant vegetables that no one will eat. I’ve found that with my family, they are more excited to harvest the tomatoes that they love versus the okra I grew a couple seasons ago. It’s tempting for me to plant every type of herb we get in, but realistically I know that I probably won’t need seven types of mint.
While the initial spread can be laborious, after you’re done mulching you will thank yourself. Mulching is essential for weed prevention, moisture retention, and, as it decomposes, adding nutrients back into the soil. Your plants will perform better and that will require less effort from you. Plus, who wants to spend the summer pulling weeds?
Just don’t. I know those little pots look like they’ll never fill in, but they do. Obviously, things planted for container gardens need to be spaced closer for a fuller appearance. However, when it comes to your landscape, give shrubs some room to stretch and get to their natural shape. Too often, gardeners spend too much time keeping an 8’ shrub at 3’ tall. When the labels say their height and width, use that as a guide. By planting appropriate shrubs for your area, you prune less and save money by not over purchasing.
Water and fertilizer are a must. It doesn’t matter what you choose for those colorful pots—in the heat of the summer, consistent watering is what keeps them going. Adding in fertilizer once a week will give them the boost they need for continuous blooms all summer. I find that when I fertilize, I rarely spend time dead heading or picking yellow leaves. As an added time-saver, my kids have grown up around plants so watering and fertilizing is a task that I’ve happily given to them to do.
If summer is such a busy time that you know you just can’t tend to plants, consider adding garden art and accessories. We have so many neat solar items this year that the only thing they need to shine is the sunlight to charge them. Garden art has come a long way since the pink flamingos of old. Whether rustic or modern, you’re sure to find something that fits your style and requires no attention at all.
Finally, ask for help if you need it. In my twenty years of gardening, I’ve tried so many plants. I’m always honest on the needs of high maintenance plants. When I have football, baseball, basketball games, and practices to run to—I have almost no patience for demanding plants. I love color that gives the biggest impact with the least amount of work so I can get back to cheering and shuttling.