Gardening tricks that will save you time

Whether one keeps a big garden, or a small one (think balconies/porches), we all find that time is of the essence, what with busy lives between the office, picking up kids, finding an hour for the gym etc. So, what follows here are 10 useful hints, tips and gardening tricks to save you time when planning and enjoying your garden.

Be Organised
Keep your garden neat and tidy at all times, preventing a big, big clean-up when you may be pressed for time at the end/beginning of a season. If, for instance, you keep pot plants, try and keep similar ones together so that watering, feeding and weeding will not become an unpleasant exercise. Flowering bulbs may require different maintenance to, say, herbs; bear that in mind when you organise.

Choosing Flowers
When deciding which flowers would be best for your garden, it is often a good idea to choose annuals that don’t require dead-heading or the removal of faded flowers to keep them in bloom. Good choices are lobelia, impatiens, begonias or marigolds. To make things much easier, do not dig up and store bulbs; rather cover them with mulch during the cold months and they’ll be ready with little effort from your side when it’s the growing season again.

Any gardener will tell you how important proper mulch, consisting of bark chips or hay, is to keep soil moist for longer periods (thus cutting down on watering and maintenance). It also helps with weed control. It is easy to make your own compost consisting of dry leaves, grass clippings and small twigs etc. and add it just before/during growing season. The same is true for planting a good ground cover on all open spaces – you keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from taking over.

Dead Patches
Some ‘dead’ patches (where simply nothing will grow!) are easily rescued by placing small/bigger tree branches or pebbles (you’ll find a variety at your local nursery) in those unsightly spots, thus preventing maintenance and saving you time. Make a feature of those ugly areas! Or: gravel it! Put down a non-degradable porous geofabric such as Bidum with the gravel on top; this way you’ll prevent seeds from growing in the sub-soil, saving you maintenance time.

Clever Insect Repellents
A great time saver is the bird-bath (and other similar water containers) if you have space in your garden. Water invites birds, birds kill insects and you, the gardener, have fewer frustrations since you may not be required to look for those nasty little monsters all the time. Also, a well-known trick is to place beer in small containers at intervals throughout the garden to kill off slugs.

Keep Moles Out of Your Veggie Patch
Saving you time and money, take note if you do not want to suffer endless frustration. Excavate the veggie patch at least 12 inches-deep, line it (floor and sides) with a non-degradable geofabric first, and then secondly, with chicken wire. Place back the soil mixture. Now the moles will not be able to discover the plant roots.

Recycle Where Possible
Do not simply get rid of egg-shells. Use them to grow seedlings, or crush and spread them around the veggie patch to serve as deterrent for snails. Used toilet paper rolls? Another great way of growing the seedling. Bits of broken pots can easily be used as plant markers in your garden. Get the kids involved and let them help by painting patterns and plant names on these.

Make It Stay Fresh For Longer
A good tip to preserve cut flowers and green lettuce is a water/sugar solution. Who has time to run back and forth to the shops when the lettuce wilts? Saving you both money and time.

Easy Herbs
Some herbs can actually regrow themselves, all that is required from you is to keep the root, or section of the plant that will grow, and keep it in a bit of water. This also means that you can buy them once and regrow them for as long as you want, and they are available all year round instead of relying on seasonal herbs in the shops.

Tools At Hand
Prevent running around finding your most used tools (gloves, pruners etc.) by keeping them with you at all times. Wear baggy clothes, a big belt around your waist, in order to keep these tools handy so that you don’t have to go looking for them each time you need them.

Hopefully the above tips and ‘tricks’ will come in handy when you spend time, and hopefully, enjoy a few minutes/hours outside. Happy gardening!