19 Gardening Shortcuts That Save Time and Money
There’s no getting around it-maintaining a beautiful garden is a lot of hard work. But you can labor more efficiently and put less strain on the pursestrings-with these brilliant gardening shortcuts.
1. Start Your Garden With Good Soil
Work in compost, manure or dried peat moss for nutrient-rich planting beds. The amended soil is lighter, drains well, makes for easy weeding and allows roots to establish themselves more quickly.
2. Shrink the Size of Your Lawn
Limit grassy areas to reduce time spent on lawn chores. Combine trees, shrubs, boulders and decorative mulches to fashion eye-catching, maintenance-free island beds in your front and back yards.
3. Keep Garden Tools Handy
Stash a spare set of hand tools and garden twine in a waterproof container in your garden. When you spot weeds, broken rose canes or a stem that needs tying up, you won’t have to run to the garage or potting shed for supplies.
4. Play in the Rain
There’s no better time to visit a garden centre than during a cloudburst. Nurseries are less crowded, lines are shorter and staff members are more available to answer your questions. Once the rain eases, go out and pull weeds-even clumps of crabgrass and deep-rooted dandelions pull easily out of wet soil.
5. Grow a Container Garden
When you can’t get anything to grow beneath trees or along fences, set up a multitiered container garden in the shady location. Plant shade-loving perennials and compact shrubs in appropriately sized containers; set the containers on stands in varying heights. Or use simple green pots that blend into the background, and won’t compete with the flowering show.
6. See What Works in Your Neighbour’s Garden
When walking or driving, take note of interesting plants and plant combinations. Write them down and take the list with you to the nursery-having an itemized list will speed up your shopping trips and reduce the urge to impulse-buy.
7. Fertilize Your Garden Less
Nourish gardens and containers with time-release fertilizers that continue feeding for long periods of time.
8. Prune Evergreens Later in the Season
Wait to prune evergreens, such as yews and boxwood, until they’ve produced most of their new growth. As a result, you won’t have to prune them again until next year.
9. Add Fresh Mulch to Your Garden
Add fresh mulch to your gardens every year. A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch keeps weeds from sprouting and helps the soil retain water, so you’ll be weeding and watering less often.
10. Get an Early Start on Hostas
Divide and transplant hostas as soon as you see leaf tips breaking through the ground-since the stems and leaves have yet to unfurl, it’ll be easy to cut the root-ball with a serrated knife. The planted divisions will leaf out beautifully in their new sites. You can divide and move fully leafed-out hostas, but you’re likely to break off leaves and stems in the process, which results in ragged-looking plants.