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I admit it. Right now I’m in a funk. Normally I LOVE gardening. But this year is different. I’m determined to turn that around, though. Let’s make gardening enjoyable again!
Gardening is so good for you. It gets you outside in the fresh air, and gives you exercise. It helps you provide valuable food for your family. There’s lots of other benefits of gardening. So why does it feel like such a chore sometimes?
If you are feeling discouraged about your garden this year, here are my best tips to make gardening enjoyable.
Choose your garden area wisely
This is a pretty simple idea, but it can actually help you to make gardening enjoyable. It’s best to put your garden relatively close to your house. This typically helps make watering the garden easier, as water spigots are typically close to or attached to the house. If you have your garden close by, it’s not as big of a chore to haul the hoses out to the garden.
Don’t plant your garden in an area with lots of shade. Sure, shade would be nice to help get some relief from the summer heat, but your vegetables won’t appreciate a lot of shade.
Take the time to prep your garden soil
This may seem like another step, but prepping your garden soil does have an enormous effect on the health of your garden. Taking this step prior to planting your garden will help reduce you having to fight with unhealthy plants later in the season.
Healthy soil is paramount for a healthy garden. If you don’t prep the soil before you start your garden, you will likely have to spend lots of time later on, in fertilizing and babying your plants.
Plan your garden for efficiency
Don’t plant your vegetables too closely, but not too sparsely, either. If your rows and plants are too close together, it will make it difficult to move between the plants to weed and water. On the other hand, if your garden is too sparse, it will leave lots of room for weeds to take over.
Planning out your garden efficiently can make gardening enjoyable. You can get the most vegetables from the smallest amount of space if it is properly planned out. Plus, proper planning can help with weed control as well.
If you have the budget for it, using landscape fabric is a great to incorporate into your garden plan. Landscape fabric helps control nearly all weeds, and is nearly imperative for a low-maintenance garden.
Don’t go too big
You should only choose a garden size that you can comfortably care for. If you go too big with your garden, it will lead to exhaustion and frustration. Neither of these make gardening enjoyable!
This has been my biggest problem this year. My garden is huge, 100 feet by 100 feet! Honestly, I think this has been the number one factor for me not enjoying the garden much. I have been unable to get it all mulched, which was my original plan for weed control. The weeds have taken over and smothered out several of my veggies. Some of my seeds didn’t even germinate because of weed competition.
If I could start this garden season over, I would definitely choose a smaller sized garden. Gardening in a smaller area forces you to use the space wisely, and it’s not too much to take care of. I did a big garden last year and was overwhelmed. Still, I feel compelled to do a big garden (especially this year) to help protect my family’s food security. So I did a big garden again this year. But to really enjoy gardening, it’s important not to take on too much.
Garden in raised beds
Raised beds can also help reduce the amount of back-breaking work you have to do in the garden. I have to admit, though, that I haven’t done raised beds due to having a tight budget. If I was able to get the materials and soil for cheap raised beds, I would definitely give it a go!
Raised beds help by raising up your garden area so you don’t have to bend down so far to weed. They can also be a fabulous option for places with poor soil, as it cuts down on the work needed to amend that soil.
Mulch the garden
The two biggest chores in gardening are weeding and watering. You can help make gardening enjoyable by reducing the amount of weeding you have to do. Mulching the garden is a fabulous way of controlling weeds. It also helps hold in moisture, which will reduce how often you have to water.
Mulching the garden with organic materials also helps improve soil health. That means less time struggling with unhealthy plants.
I’ve been trying to talk The Hubs into letting me do a Back To Eden garden, but he’s not convinced yet. Maybe some day!
One row at a time
Don’t get overwhelmed with your garden. This is easier said than done sometimes. But just focus on tending to one row at a time. Mindset is crucial to make gardening enjoyable, and being overwhelmed in the garden is a surefire way to not enjoy it.
Instead of looking at the big picture of weeds, look individually at the plants. Focus on making the environment the most hospitable for each plant. This helps you connect with the soil and the plants, and is very grounding.
Avoid working the garden when it’s too hot
The heat has been killing me this year! I don’t do so well in the heat anymore, so doing anything in the garden mid-day is almost impossible. Sweating through the garden work doesn’t make gardening enjoyable for me!
Try to garden in the morning, or in the evening, when it’s cooler. True, that may mean you have to get up earlier, but doing the garden chores when it’s cooler will definitely help keep it more enjoyable.
Invest in the right gardening tools
Investing in the right gardening tools can help you do your garden chores more efficiently. Make sure your hoes, garden knives, and blades are sharp. Lighter weight tools help cut down on the amount of energy you have to expend on your garden.
A garden tool belt or apron can help carry your tools around with you, to avoid excess trips from your she shed.
Get help when needed
It’s not very enjoyable to do all the gardening alone. Enlist some help when possible! Share gardening chores with a friend, and spend some quality time while weeding. It just might give you time to catch up.
Let the kids help too. As long as they can understand the difference between a plant and a weed, there’s no reason to not let them help in the garden. Teach them that gardening can be fun and rewarding!
Learn to preserve your harvest
If you want to make gardening enjoyable, you need to learn to preserve the harvest. Wasted food can lead to some serious frustration in the garden. No one wants to put work into something that isn’t used to its fullest!
Check into preserving methods like canning, dehydrating, and freezing. That way, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the year.
Relax, and enjoy that hard work
You should try to spend some time in your garden when you’re not working in it. The garden can be so refreshing and relaxing if you allow it to be. Sit for a bit and enjoy some iced tea, and take some lovely pictures of your garden.
While gardening can be fun, it’s also work. But it’s rewarding work! Take time to enjoy that first ripe tomato, that first slice of zucchini bread, and that first bite of fresh corn on the cob. By thoroughly enjoying the fruits of your labor, it will make all the work that you’ve done that much easier.
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