Every Thursday is Tip Day at SimpleProductivityBlog
I love to garden. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. My two main problems with gardening deal with upkeep: weeds and water. These are the things I have done to simplify both weeding and watering:
Square Foot Gardening
My first attempt to control weeds involved installed Square Foot Gardens to grow edibles (Garden Simplicity: Square Foot Gardening). By limiting the size of the garden, you limit your weeding. Another benefit of square foot gardening: the soil is in raised beds and never gets walked on. The weeds are very easy to pull out of the loose soil.
The rest of my landscaping and gardens are not neatly encased in boxes, and weeding can be a major chore. Last year I ended up taking a rototiller to one long bed because I simply could not pull out all the weeds. So I sacrificed everything. Over the winter, I laid down a thick layer of newspaper, and covered it with weed suppression fabric. The plants that have gone into the beds, both flowers and edibles, are put in through cuts in the fabric. As a result, I have very little weeding to do in that bed.
Plants don’t grow without water, and in my area it is usually longish dry spells followed by deluges. This type of inconstant watering will allow plants to survive, but they will not flourish.
Soaker hoses, which have holes in them, allow you to deliver water directly to the soil. Their flexibility means that you can direct the water to the plants, instead of covering a large area.
Directional sprinklers have the ability for you to control where the water goes. Unlike the traditional back-and-forth or radial sprinklers, you aim parts of these sprinklers exactly where you need the water. This method allows me to deliver water to beds that are not congruent, and yet allows me to maximize the effectiveness of my watering.
These are perhaps the most useful of the devices. I am forgetful, and often times I would either put off watering because I knew I wouldn’t be home to shut the hoses off, or start the hoses, only to remember they were running hours later, after everything had turned swampy (see deluge/drought above). Putting watering timers on the hoses allows me to start them when I get up, and forget about them.
Thanks to the above methods, my garden plants are looking great and show signs of bumper crops of tomatoes, herbs and berries. My landscaping looks like it will survive, and in a few years I should have a great garden.
Photo by gapplewagen