Believe it or not, some people actually enjoy gardening chores. It’s their favorite hobby and they love to tinker about in the garden the way a car enthusiast enjoys tinkering on an engine. For the rest of us, garden chores are more like necessary maintenance that just needs to be done. I’m mostly in the first camp, but when the middle of summer rolls around and the heat sets in, I can also fall into the second category.
There are weeds to pull, plants to water, veggies to harvest, plants to divide, hose washers to replace, etc. etc. Martha Stewart makes it look easy, but let’s be real here… it’s not! Whether you’re growing vegetables or trying to keep the front yard looking its best, gardening is work!
Whether you’re a gardening nerd like me, or you just need to maintain your garden, here are some tips to keep you motivated and ways to make gardening chores enjoyable and easier.
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Choosing the Best Spot for Your Garden
Like they say, location is everything. So, if at all possible, choose a spot for your garden with easy access. If conditions allow, the closer to the house, the better. It will be close to a water source so you won’t need a super long hose. Plus, you’ll be more apt to see your flowers or veggies on a regular basis so you can keep eye on how things are growing.
If your gardening spot has already been selected, that’s okay, read on there are lots more tips and ways to make gardening enjoyable for you.
Staying Comfortable While Doing Gardening Chores
Wear loose fitting comfortable clothing.
You’ll get a good workout doing garden chores: lifting, stretching, walking, bending, kneeling, squatting and pulling. Therefore, wear light, loose-fitting clothes to accommodate all that motion. You’ll stay cool as you work when air can circulate throughout. Clothes that bind or pinch or don’t ventilate well cause discomfort, and that’s no fun. Unless a chore requires heavier clothing for protection (brush cutting, for example), the right clothes keep you comfortable. Don’t forget a good pair of gardening shoes or clogs.
Additionally, knee pads come in a wide range of styles and sizes. When you’re planting or weeding, pads will save your knees, and your pants, too.
Use bug spray and sun screen.
Don’t let biting flies and mosquitoes eat you alive. Use bug spray on bare arms and legs. If you prefer, there are many natural products such as citronella that repel insects and smell nice, too. Because I don’t like to drench my body with chemicals, I love Bug Soother Spray! If you really want to avoid the mosquitoes, try gardening during the hours when they are less active.
Protect yourself from sunburn by wearing sunscreen and a hat. Speaking of the sun, no one enjoys working in sweltering heat. So shift your most difficult gardening tasks to off hours. Try early morning or late afternoons when it’s a bit cooler. As a bonus, these are generally quieter times in the neighborhood, so you’re more apt to hear the birds as you go about your work.
I also like to move around my gardens opposite the sun. For instance, my veggie beds are in full sun in the morning hours up until about 2 pm when they are shaded for a few hours until they are in full sun again. Those shady hours are when I like to work in my veggie beds.
So, staying comfortable is one of the best ways to make gardening chores enjoyable for you.
How to Keep Weeds at a Minimum
Weeding is the least enjoyable garden chore. You’ve probably seen all kinds of hacks and tips for keeping your garden weed free. If you haven’t already figured it out, there’s not such thing as a weed free garden. If you’re going to garden, you’re going to have to learn to deal with weeds. But, mulching will at least keep the bulk of them down and prevent weeds from seeding and spreading. It also keeps the soil from drying out as quickly, so you’ll water less, too.
What to use for mulch:
Straw (not hay) is inexpensive and also supplies beneficial nutrients to your plants. Cheaper yet are dried, untreated grass clippings. Additionally, some tree cutting services offer free wood chips that are great for laying down in between rows of vegetables.
Not really my style, but another technique is to plant flowers and veggies closer together—even closer than recommended on the tag. That way, the weeds will be crowded out and less likely to establish a foothold. Gradually, you’ll see fewer and fewer weeds.
Finally, keep it manageable. Weeding a little at a time, is better than not weeding at all. So when you see a few, take a moment to pull them. But don’t make the entire day about pulling weeds. That’s a sure way to come up with excuses not to work in the garden that day.
For more amazing tips, check out: How to Deal With Weeds In Your Garden.
How to Keep Up With Watering Your Garden
Watering is a constant garden chore, and therefore one of the biggest. So when you water, water deeply. Especially if you live in a hot climate. While that may not seem like a time-saver, a thorough drenching means you won’t have to water as frequently, as opposed to giving your garden a quick sprinkle. Remember that the sun is not the only factor, either. Wind wicks the soil dry faster than a hot, sunny day.
Slacking off on watering can be detrimental to your vegetables and flowers, so these ideas are great ways to make gardening chores enjoyable and just plain easier. It’s also important to point out that if you have container gardens or raised bed gardens, those dry out much faster than gardens in the ground.
The best way to go is to invest in soaker hoses and timers if you can. Or, consider adding a DIY drip system to your garden beds. It will put an appreciative dent in your watering chores, but the time savings and eventual water savings will be completely worth the upfront cost. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find a soaker hose at a garage sale for a fraction of the cost.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Those of you that have followed Gingham Gardens know that I’m always harping on garden planning. Plus, we have an awesome Gardening Resources Library that is chock full of lots of checklists, charts, tracking sheets and a gardening calendar. If you take a few minutes to plan out what you would like to accomplish in your gardens, it’s so much easier to get tasks done. I don’t know about you but I find that when I don’t have a list, it’s so easy to get sidetracked.
Pop over to the Gardening Resources Library and utilize the free resources to help you plan and stay on task. You can gain immediate access by completing the form below.
If you really decide to go all out with your garden planning and garden journaling, be sure to check out DIY Garden Journal and Planner.
Good Gardening Tools Definitely Make Gardening Chores Enjoyable
Nothing is as aggravating as a tool that isn’t working properly. A power tool that frequently jams up is not going to make a garden chore fast and easy. A dull blade on pruning sheers takes more energy to cut.
That’s why it’s always a good idea at the very beginning of the season, to inspect your tools and make sure they are in good working order. Have blades sharpened. Get the mower tuned up. If shovel, rake or hoe is starting to come apart, and the duct tape just isn’t going to work anymore, it’s time to replace it.
Use light-weight equipment!
By far, the number one complaint about yard and garden maintenance is heavy, bulky tools. Most of us really don’t mind watering. What’s discouraging is lugging around 50 ft (or more) of garden hose. Garden hoses can be cumbersome. They kink up, and are frequently too heavy for those cheap plastic hose reals that break every summer.
The good news is that the garden industry is removing some of those obstacles to make garden chores easier. For example, the new “featherweight” hoses weigh as little as 2.6 pounds. That’s 45% less than the traditional garden hoses. Power tools, rakes and shovel handles are also being made with lightweight material, yet are still strong and durable. For older seniors or those with arthritis, lightweight garden tools are a game changer.
Need a lightweight shovel that’s sharp and tough? This is hands down my favorite shovel. Mine is pink, but it comes in more manly colors too.
Be sure to choose gardening tools that are ergonomic and right for you. Yes, you can pick up great deals at garage sales on gardening tools, but it’s not such a great deal if you end up hating that tool and never using it.
You can get so much more done with great gardening tools that are kept in good operating condition. And, great gardening tools make garden chores so much more enjoyable. To learn more about how to care for your gardening tools and my recommendations for gardening tools, see Essential Gardening Tools.
So yes, tools that are more comfortable to use will also improve your gardening experience. Again, It all comes back to comfort. The more comfortable you are, the more enjoyable the task will be. If you have a large yard, comfort makes the difference in being able to complete a task because it’s less stress on your body.
Organization Makes Gardening Chores Easier
Tidy up your gardening shed, garage or wherever you store your gardening supplies and equipment. It’s much less frustrating when it’s easy to find and retrieve what you need quickly. Often times, it’s easier to procrastinate if getting a task done involves moving a bunch of stuff out of the way first. Likewise, who wants to spend a lot of time hunting down those the spools for the weed wacker.
While you’re at it, give some attention to safety, too. Make sure that hooks are secure and equipment is hung securely. You don’t want to risk injury if a rope or blade or handle gets snagged and pulls down another tool.
Save Time by Saving Trips
Did you forget something? Don’t wear yourself out running back and forth from the garden to the garage or shed and back. A garden tool belt/apron or little pull cart keeps at hand the tools you use daily. You will save miles on your feet.
A Few More Tips for Making Garden Chores Enjoyable
- Get children involved with a few simple chores, harvesting vegetables or picking flowers for a bouquet.
- Play your favorite music, listen to a podcast or an audio book.
- Garden with a friend. Take turns working together in each other’s gardens.
- Take water breaks (or iced tea). Sit in your garden and enjoy your surroundings.
- Keep your goals manageable and don’t overexert yourself.
Celebrating your progress will always make gardening chores more enjoyable!
Gardening in and of itself is extremely gratifying! For all your efforts, you get delicious fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers that you grew yourself. Be sure to take photos of your garden to share with friends on social media. Photos help you to see how much you’ve really accomplished when you compare the before and after. Plus, pictures provide motivation to keep you diligently moving forward towards a bountiful harvest or the beautiful yard of your dreams.
After a hectic day at the office, there’s just nothing better than to come home and putter in the gardens. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that your gardening chores become your way to relax. And perhaps, those of you that are beginners in the garden, will fall in love with gardening like so many of use have.
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Thank you so much for stopping by Gingham Gardens. I hope you’re leaving with some new ways to make your gardening chores enjoyable and easier. Do you have another tip you’d like to share? If so, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
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