Playing In The Garden

Time seems to drag on when we are stuck at work. The stress of deadlines and commitments can wear at the brain. Things are different in the garden. When my wife and I get home from work we unwind and decompress by playing in the garden. Pulling weeds while watching the sunset seems to lift the burden of the day off our shoulders.

Here are some practices that make playing in the garden less like work in the long term.

Feed Your Soil

Start with great soil and you will have healthier plants. Some view mulch as just decoration for the garden. Yes mulch does make a garden look good, but it also keeps the soil and plant roots cool, retains moisture so you water less often, prevents weed seeds from sprouting and adds nutrients into the soil. So by using mulch you cut down on watering, weeding, and fertilizing time.

Pick The Right Plants!

Choose low maintenance perennials- make perennial flowers the backbone of your garden that take care of themselves. Plants like Lenten Rose, Candytuft, Dianthus, Evergreen Ferns, or Liriope look good all season long and do not take a lot to maintain.

Group plants by their needs- The old saying: “Right plant for the right spot” is still true today. Putting sun lovers in the sun, ground covers where they can roam seems like common sense. Consider the efficiency of putting all of your water hogs together so some do not get too much water while others do not get enough. The same goes for those plants that need a little extra care, you can still mix in different bloom times and variations of color and texture. It consolidates the heavy chores thus saving time and effort.

Raised Beds & Containers

Use raised beds and containers for vegetables and herbs- You can control the soil, water, exposure and even limit the growth of certain plants. Raise the beds up by at least twelve inches or more to have the benefit of controlling your borders and save your back from some bending.

Prevent Weeds

Use a pre-emergent weed preventer such as Preen® in the garden to stop weeds before they start. Using a pre-emergent at the start of each season greatly reduces the weeds you have to pull in the garden. Yes, there are weeds that come up even in the winter.

Keep Your Plants Healthy

Use slow release and/or organic type fertilizers- Controlled release fertilizers feed over an extended period, giving your plants time to take up and use all of the food. Organic fertilizers have lower doses of nitrogen and many of them have other plant enhancing minerals as well as beneficial bacteria.

‘Playing’ in the garden reduces stress, helps the environment and beautifies your surroundings. Take time for yourself or spend quality time with your family ‘playing’ in the garden. Most of all, have some fun and relax, there is enough stress going around and we do not need more.