If you’d love to have a garden, but you think you have no time for gardening because of your hectic work schedule, the answer may lie in designing a low-maintenance garden. By working “smarter” and not “harder,” you can discover ways to reduce the time you spend planting, weeding, and watering your garden. With these tasks out of the way, your garden can become a greater source of enjoyment instead of an endless list of chores.
Balancing Gardening and a Job
If your job is a full-time occupation, you’ll only have part-time hours to do your gardening. Set a realistic goal of the hours each week you want to spend in the garden. Are you a gardener who enjoys working outside as much as possible, or do you prefer just growing only a few plants here and there? The answer to the question of how to balance work and a garden begins with identifying how much time each week you want to devote to your gardening pursuits.
Time Saving Garden Tips
Even though there may be a delicate balance between trying to juggle your gardening and working life, you can tip the scale in favor of being able to do both with these simple strategies:
- Use Native Plants. Since native plants are adapted to the climate, soil, and rainfall of a specific region, they typically require less maintenance than non-natives. You may not have to amend the soil – or water as often – if you add native plants to your garden.
- Plant Container Gardens. Even if you have little to no time for gardening in the ground, you can grow annual flowers, perennials, and even vegetables in containers. Potted plants will have a tendency to dry out more quickly than in-ground plants but, otherwise, they’re a snap to maintain with no need to till the ground and/or amend the garden soil… plus minimal weeding required.
- Keep Weeds at Bay. Whether you plant in the ground or in containers, a layer of mulch helps conserve moisture and suppress the inevitable weeds that can quickly overtake a garden. This simple practice can bring your gardening and working life into a better balance by reducing the time you have to spend keeping your garden weed free.
- Automate Your Irrigation. One necessary task that often makes balancing gardening and a job more challenging is watering your garden. If you place soaker hoses underneath the mulch in your garden beds, you can save money and time. Soaker hoses direct water at a plant’s roots for a more efficient way of irrigating your garden than using overhead sprinklers, which lose much of the water intended for your plants to evaporation.
Knowing how to balance work and a garden with these time-saving garden tips can mean the difference between seeing your garden as all work… or as a place of enjoyment. So, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Sit in your favorite chair in a shady garden nook at the end of your hectic workday and simply unwind.
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Victoria Blackstone is a guest writer for Gardening Know How.