Save Time on Garden Chores
The body revolts when we feel obligated to spend most of a day (or weekend) attempting to catch up with planting, weeding, maintenance and projects.
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By Dan Vierria
Aching muscles and sore backs are as common in gardening season as slugs and mosquitoes. Do you really want to work that hard in the garden? I didn't think so.
Good planning, sound practices and a sharp edge on garden tools can help ease pain and suffering. It'll save you time for other pursuits, too. Here are some helpful tips.
- Mulch rules. Spread it under shrubs, around ornamentals and vegetables. Layer it deeply. Worship the stuff. The payoff is less watering, fewer weeds and healthier, happier plants. You're rewarded later with bonus time for guilt-free loafing.
- Weed a few minutes two or three times a week. Set aside a few minutes in the early mornings or evenings to search for and destroy weeds. Fewer weeds translates to fewer weed seeds, which means TSW (time spent weeding) will be dramatically reduced in the coming weeks.
- Drip systems save time and water. Dragging hoses around is especially time consuming. Some of us enjoy hand watering, which is fine. But if you'd rather play nine holes before dark, get drip irrigation.
- Garden during TV commercials. Let's say you don't want to miss the ball game or a movie on Lifetime Channel, but there are a few gardening chores that need to be addressed. Use the commercial breaks for gardening. Commercial blocks run three to four minutes (sometimes even longer), plenty of time to deadhead a rose or move the hose in the vegetable garden. You'll be surprised how much gardening can be accomplished during commercials.
- Buy a file and use it to maintain sharp edges on tools. A sharpened shovel cuts through stubborn roots and Bermuda grass much easier. A sharp hoe blade glides through weeds. You'll work faster with less damage to joints and muscles.
- On weekends, break up gardening with generous rest periods. Take a trip to the nursery, watch TV, get on the Internet, grab a snack, take the dog for a walk.
- Take advantage of weekday mornings and evenings. Gardening on weekdays frees up weekends. It's light enough to work outdoors until 9 p.m. during the summer.
And if it doesn't get done, there's always tomorrow.