Daily, Weekly & Monthly Garden Chores
Keeping a yard healthy and attractive is a daily job. There is always some plant that needs attention, grass to fertilize and herbs to harvest. The number of garden chores can become overwhelming as a garden grows. The trick is to organize these chores according to whether it should be done on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
Daily Gardening Chores
The key to maintaining a healthy garden is to spend a little time every day walking around the yard, looking at the plants and taking care of little garden chores. Not only will you set aside time every day to relax and enjoy your surroundings, your plants and lawn will benefit from the extra attention.
Watering. Not all plants require the same amount of water. While walking around the garden, look for signs of over-watering and under-watering. Plants that look limp may require hand watering. If an entire area is affected, adjust the irrigation system.
Weeding. Weeds can harbor harmful pests and diseases. To keep weeds under control, pull them as soon as they appear. One way to keep weeds under control is to prevent weeds from flowering and setting seeds. When weeds are small and tender, use a hoe to chop off their top.
Pest control. Pests and diseases can damage plants at an alarmingly quick pace. Two caterpillars today will turn into a completely devastated bush tomorrow. Take care of pests and diseases as soon as they are detected. Destructive insects can be pulled of the plant and destroyed. A mixture of a tablespoon of mild dishwashing soap and a quart of water in a spray bottle will destroy insects such as scale, sooty mold and aphids.
Harvesting. A growing garden produces a bountiful harvest every day. The vegetable garden provides a rotating menu of food for the table. The flower garden is in constant bloom with flowers for a brightly-colored centerpiece. The herb garden is full of aromatic delights waiting to enhance a family dinner.
Pinching and staking. Some plants need a little help from their gardening friend. Plants with spent flowers need to be deadheaded. To keep bushy plants bushy, pinch back the new growth to promote branching. Suckers need to be pinched off of tomato plants. And, new shoots on the climbing roses should be staked to the trellis.
Change the water in the birdbath. There is always some little clean-up chore to be done to keep a garden looking its best. If there are a few leaves on the patio, get out the broom and sweep into a quick exercise. Maybe someone forgot to put the hose away. Don’t put off those little chores that only take a minute or two.
Weekly Gardening Projects
Larger gardening chores can be saved for a time during the week when you can devote several hours or a couple of days to a project. For many people, this means the weekend is the perfect time to tackle those big garden chores.
Plant seeds and transplants. Keeping a garden fresh and attractive is an ongoing chore. Make this task easier by planting seeds and transplants at one time. When choosing transplants, select plants that have similar growing requirements to make it easier to care for these plants as they are growing. Plant seeds that have similar germination times.
Mow the lawn. Mowing and trimming the lawn can be an all day chore if you have a large yard. Grass should be mowed when it is between 3 and 5 inches tall. In warm weather, keep grass a little longer to preserve moisture and protect the grass from heat damage.
Clean up around plants. The weather can cause a mess around the yard. Leaves accumulate in flower beds and dead branches fall out of trees. Spend a little time each week raking leaves, picking up debris and hauling out unwanted trash.
Check garden tools. Garden tools must be inspected on a regular schedule to keep them in good working order. Check oil and fuel levels in power tools before using them. Wash shovels and hoes after digging in the garden. Look for signs of damage or potential problems.
Monthly Gardening Chores
Once a month, set aside a day to work on the really big jobs. Many of these jobs will require some advance planning so that the mulch arrives on the right day, an arborist can prune large trees before seasonal windstorms and the lawnmower is repaired before the first mowing in the spring.
Pruning. Many plants require pruning once or twice a year. Small trees and shrubs can easily be pruned by a homeowner. Larger trees may require the services of a professional. Keeping plants properly pruned maintains the shape of a plant, reduces problems due to dead and rotting branches and keeps trees from growing into utility lines and buildings.
Fertilizing. Depending on the type of plant, fertilizing can be a monthly or an annual chore. If a garden receives regular amendments of compost, other types of fertilizers are not necessary.
Dividing plants. Plants such as hyacinths, calla lilies and hostas must be dug out of the ground, divided and planted in a new flowerbed.
Mulching. Mulching helps reduce weeds in a garden and helps the soil retain moisture. Once a year, replace the mulch in garden and flowerbeds.
Maintaining garden equipment. At the end of each gardening season, perform any necessary maintenance and repairs to lawnmowers, trimmers and chainsaws. This way, the equipment will be ready to go at the beginning of the next season.
Don’t let gardening chores become a chore. Stay ahead of your garden maintenance by checking on your garden every day and dealing with problems when they are discovered. Save the bigger jobs for the weekend when you can dedicate several hours at a time to a chore. The biggest jobs can be scheduled for one day during the month. By planning your garden chores, you will minimize your work and maximize your pleasure.