Gardening is the undisputed savior of hectic lives. There are no two ways about it. Getting into your garden to do a bit of pottering, tidying, growing, primping or whatever else is the perfect antidote to horrendous days at work, dreadful commutes home and an unhealthy amount of screen time. It lets us take a deep breath of fresh air, redirect our focus on something calming and keep the rest of our mad-mad lives better balanced. All that and, well, as science proves, it can drastically reduce stress, anxiety, worry and all those niggling mental health issues that we have all succumbed to at some stage in our lives. Oh and, let’s not forget, it also gives you the chance to grow and care for something living, breathing and drop-dead gorgeous.
The problem is: most of us don’t have enough time to indulge in our gardens as much as we would like. Life just has a way of getting in the way. In fact, it’s such an issue for so many in today’s fast-paced and exhausting lifestyle that those who would benefit from the gardening the most never get the chance to get their hands dirtied and their minds cleansed.
That is why we’ve come up with some amazing time-saving tips every hopeful-gardener needs to save into their bookmarks:
- Plants For Black Thumb Gardeners
With time being a huge issue, it’s pretty important to have plants that don’t require much attention from you; plants that can survive pretty well on their own thanks to their natural hardiness; plants that are so tough that you would have to physically go out of your way to try and kill them. That’s what you want in your life. Coneflowers, cosmos, daylilies, hens and chicks, aloe, yarrow, hosta, sedum and zinnia, petunias and that staggeringly beautiful plants known only as a string of pearls. These are going to guarantee your black thumb becomes much-much greener.
- Succulents Are Your Saviour
If you’ve got a really, truly horrendous record when it comes to keeping plants alive – something we’re going to put down to your overly hectic lifestyle more than anything else – then you may want to embrace succulents and nothing else. That’s it. A patio space lined with nothing but potted succulents, which are super-easy to plant. All you need to do is buy a planter with drainage holes and then fill it with a thin layer of pebbles (approximately half-an-inch). Next up, fill the planter with quick draining soil. Ideally, you should stop the soil line about an inch or two from the top of the planter. Once you’ve done this, you can start planting your succulents however you like. Keep them all the same, mix and match them, look for colors that complement one another, anything you like. Just make sure you don’t pack them in too tightly – the soil needs to be nice and loose. Then, last but not least, give them a quick water and then pop them somewhere they can get plenty of sunlight. That’s what they love more than anything – humidity and warmth.
- Food That Regrows
The issue with growing your own food is, well, you need to have time, patience and an impressive green thumb to boot. That’s because growing anything from a seed is super-duper hard. Luckily, for you, there is an easier way to embrace this wonderful talent and all you need is kitchen scraps. That’s right. Kitchen scraps. Think of it as kitchen upcycling. Of course, if you want the best chance of success, then you should use organic foods only. To help you out, we’ve detailed a couple of little tips and tricks below, but you can enjoy this process with everything from ginger to onions, garlic to mushrooms, potatoes to sweet potatoes and even pineapples.
Spring Onions & Leeks: pop the root ends into the water so they are two-thirds submerged. In about five days, you’ll see they’ve started to grow. Once they’ve grown fully, all you have to do is harvest them and repeat the process.
Cabbage: Get a bowl of water so that the roots are submerged but the tops aren’t. Once you’ve done this, set a reminder on your phone that tells you to spray the tops about twice a week and replace the bowl water every few days. In about a week, leaves will start to grow.
- Automate Your Watering Needs
In order for plants, grass, perennials a, d shrubs to grow they need sunlight and water. The problem is, watering the grass yourself takes a pretty annoying amount of time. It’s a hassle. Not only that, but there’s room to get it wrong, and that could mean a waste of money and the chance of overwatering, which comes with its own host of extra-issues. What we’re getting at is this: you need an automated sprinkler system. Yes, it comes with an upfront cost, but if you go to somewhere like ProIrrigation.com you can a) save a chunk of change, b) have professionals install it in a day, c) start saving on your water bill and d) add a nice dollop of value to your home too. All that and you’ll find gardening is so much less time-consuming. It’s an absolute winner in our books.
- Organize Your Shed
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to time-wasting habits is disorganization. It’s rummaging around your cluttered shed for 45 minutes in order to find that pair of pruners your mother in law gave you a couple of years ago or any number of other tools that you need in that exact moment. That’s what puts so many aspiring gardeners off. That’s where a bit of organization can change the game. If you want to give yourself a solid challenge, then we recommend you pull everything out of your shed, put some screws on the wall, hang your tools and then outline them with a pen so you know where everything goes. Of course, if this sounds way too long, then just get into the habit of wearing an overall with lots of pockets, and getting a couple of big distressed-metal tubs to put your favorite tools in. Simple.
- Ergonomic Excellence
While we’re chit-chatting about tools, we should probably mention how awesome ergonomic tools are. Gardening is basically a bunch of repetitive motions and that can put a lot of unnecessary stress on your back and wrists and joints and, well, your body in general. Thankfully, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by those companies that manufacturer tools, which is why so many amazing tools have been creeping into the storefronts everywhere; the kind that are way kinder on your body. Essentially, what you want to look for are tools that take away as much of the hunching and bending over as possible. Ratchet pruners, bent rakes, cushioned handles and trowels that have taken your poor old wrist into consideration. These will make gardening so much easier.
- Raise Up Those Beds
There is a lot to be celebrated about a raised bed and container, and one of those is control. It is way easier to control your garden if it has definite boundaries and, in that sense, containers offer you the pinnacle of control. The water, the soil, the exposure and, best of all, the limits. You get to limit the growth and that is what you want as a time-strapped gardener. You don’t need to raise your beds by much. Six inches or more will be fine. Of course, the higher you raise them the easier it will be on your body because it will save you from having to do a whole bunch of bending over, which sucks.
- Child Labor Can Be Okay
If you’ve got kids at home, or grandkids that frequently show up at yours, then you should get them into gardening as early as you possibly can. Show them just how amazing, fun, exciting and worthwhile it can be. Sure, this isn’t going to be as easy as you might hope because, well, there is only so much deadheading a perennial they are going to enjoy. But there are things you can do to get them enthusiastic about gardening and that will mean there is less for you to do. It’s a win-win.
To help break it down for you, things like planting and harvesting and learning the different names of flowers and what weeds are and collecting insects and stuff – these will all get them excited about helping you out. Okay, maybe we’re being a bit hopeful about this one lessening the workload for ya, but it will certainly make gardening more fun. It has to. You’ll have a companion that’s totally curious. How cool is that?
And there we have it, some pretty epic, entertaining and, dare we say, helpful tips to make gardening that much easier for those who are struggling a bit with their only being 24 hours in a day, especially when those 24 hours feel more like 2.4 hours. Now get out there and grow something awesome.