How to get things done in the garden…
Even if you don’t feel like it!
I’ve just had my coffee in the garden. It’s amazing out there today, lovely and warm with birds feeding and calling to each other and the incessant buzz of insects on the hunt for nectar and pollen. Sunlight shining through the leaves of the oak tree has turned them lime green. It feels like a summer day and spending just a few minutes outside in the sunshine makes me happy. There are signs of autumn too. In the hedgerow brambles are laden with plump blackberries and huge fat red hips are lined up along the whippy stems of wild roses.
Enjoying a few minutes outside just sitting, looking and listening is important to me and to my husband too. We’ve found that it’s easy to miss seasonal changes in the garden and surrounding fields unless we make a point of paying attention each day.
Today I was distracted by reading a list of Jobs for September on another gardening blog. I was so shocked that I think I actually stopped breathing for a moment or two. I almost had to reach for another piece of cake. Now I like a lovely garden and I enjoy putting the work in to bring the plan in my head to life but seriously… more than 60 tasks for September?
Dividing the long list into smaller chunks of four weeks over the month that’s still 15 tasks per week! I’d need a team of helpers to get me through that lot. I love our garden but I also love my life and I don’t want to be a slave to the garden. I know I’m lucky because my lovely husband mows and trims and keeps things tidy so that’s a big chunk of work taken care of for me. It’s my job to attend to the details such as planting and pruning. My preferred method of gardening is to choose just ten important tasks to focus on each month. That’s just two or three each week which is easily achievable.
Aside from having a short monthly TO DO LIST preparing in advance helps me a great deal is too. I find it’s good to have an overview of the best time to tackle specific gardening jobs then I can plan ahead. For example autumn is the time to plant spring bulbs, winter is the best time to improve your borders, spring is a great time to direct sow hardy annuals and summer is the time to sow biennial seeds. As long as I know what’s coming next I can prepare for it and order bulbs, compost and seeds so they’re already here for me when the time is right.
Best of all is spending just 20 minutes on each little task. From experience I’ve found that patio pots can be planted with bulbs in twenty minutes, a border can be weeded in twenty minutes, a batch of seeds can be sown in twenty minutes and a large shrub can be pruned in twenty minutes too. Sometimes my mind tricks me by making a big deal of a tiny gardening job which makes me feel reluctant to start. To galvanize myself into action I simply set a timer for twenty minutes. Knowing that when the bell rings it will all be done is all the incentive I need. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in that short time once I get cracking.
If you’d like to give it a go here is my tried and trusted five step method:
Getting things done in the garden.
- Choose 10 tasks to accomplish in the garden this month.
- Buy seeds and compost and gather tools together.
- Break the list of 10 down into just two or three tasks per week.
- Allocate twenty minutes to each task. Set a timer
- Get cracking!
Do you have a simple tip for getting things done in your garden that you could share?
I’m all in favour of saving time and effort so I would love to hear from you!
Hope you are enjoying the sunshine in your neck of the woods today.
Happy Gardening! Gillian 🙂