I suspect that you’re probably in the same boat as I am. Between late hours at the office or the work you bring home with you and family commitments there never seems to be enough time to get outside and enjoy your vegetable garden. What should be fun can sometimes turn into a chore but even with a busy lifestyle, you can grow an amazing vegetable garden loaded with delicious fresh produce.
Here are 5 time-saving tips that you can use to make your vegetable gardening a whole lot more fun this year:
Location, Location, Location! - Where you put your vegetable garden is important for a lot of reasons. Keeping it near the kitchen is a good idea as you won’t have to go too far to get there on a frequent basis and you’re more likely to regularly harvest your crops if they are accessible. Gardening in raised beds is also a potentially useful tool as it can allow you to plant your garden just about anywhere.
Be Mindful of the Size of Your Garden - We all have dreams about the vegetable garden that takes up a large part of our yard and fills our plates a mile high with yummy treats! The reality is taking care of such a garden is a huge undertaking; much more than the typical “weekend warrior” can handle. A 10-foot X 10-foot garden is a good size to start with and you can always expand it in the future. Gardening in containers or even a square foot gardening system can produce a lot of vegetables from a small space and it is a whole lot easier to maintain.
Did I Mention Using a Mulch? - If you don’t use any of these other tips but this one you are still going to save yourself a great deal of time. Using a mulch can reduce the amount of time you spend having to water your garden and it can also cut down on your weeding as well. The fact that as it decomposes it also adds valuable nutrients to the soil means you may not have to spend as much time fertilizing in the future as well.
Speaking of Watering - During the season the task of keeping your garden watered, particularly if it is a dry summer, can seem like a never-ending chore. Mulching is one way to help with this task but installing a soaker hose or drip irrigation system is another way to tackle this job. If you add a timer to the system then you can also be sure the garden is watered at the optimum time of the day which is usually first thing in the morning. Finally, there is nothing I hate more than having to drag a hose around the garden so planting your vegetable garden near your water source is also a good idea.
Choose Your Vegetables Carefully - The vegetables that you grow can also impact how much time you spend in the garden. Plants that require a lot of physical support, such as Pole Beans and Peas can be exchanged for smaller varieties such as bush beans. Vegetables such as Tomatoes, perhaps the quintessential summer vegetable, require support so be sure to install your stakes at the same time as you plant the seedlings. When the weather gets warm Tomatoes seem to grow a foot taller every day and it is easier to stake and tie them from the start than to try to do it after they have flopped all over the ground. By doing this you’ll also increase the number of Tomatoes you harvest and lessen the impact of insects and diseases which can also be a time-consuming problem to deal with. You might also think about growing perennial vegetables such as Asparagus and Rhubarb so that you won’t have to spend as much time replanting.
Hopefully, these tips can help save you time in the vegetable garden this year. If you have other suggestions please share them with us on our Facebook page.