Weekend gardening. Does that bring thoughts of overwhelm and dread? Or are you raring to get out there and start? Let’s look at some ways to make it easier.
The weekend is coming up. The weather report is promising sunny days with comfortable temperatures for spending most of your time outdoors. Hopefully you’re excited! Or maybe you dread the work you know needs to get done.
Your week just like everyone else’s is probably really busy. Between work, housework, kids, making meals and sleeping, you probably don’t get to spend much time outdoors in your garden.
But with the weekend coming up there is a chance that you can at least find a few hours to enjoy your garden and get some tasks done.
However you’re stuck on where to start and you know there are some things that need to get done that you have neglected the whole week through.
Let’s get your weekend gardening off to a great start with a few simple tasks.
Plan your weekend
Weekends tend to be busy. We need to run errands, visit friends and family and do household chores. That may not leave much time for getting out into the garden to do some tasks and to relax.
But keep in mind that you don’t have to spend 4 hours at a stretch in your garden, especially if you have many other obligations. An hour here or there works wonders to get some weeding, pruning or watering done.
Even 15 minutes can at least get you out there to pick some fruit or vegetables or water a few pots.
To plan the weekend, find some holes in your schedule. Be specific what you will do in each gardening time slot and write it down. This is best done on Friday if you can or when you get up on Saturday morning.
Or find time on Saturday morning to go, perhaps when you run other errands.
This is crucial for keeping tabs on what is happening in your garden. Most people don’t have time to do this every day and even once a week might be hard to justify.
However doing a maintenance walk once a week ensures you have a chance to walk through the entire garden and note any issues. It’s also a great time to celebrate wins and accomplishments. Except maybe for that baseball bat sized zucchini you missed picking on Monday! Zucchini bread, anyone?
The best time to do this walk is as early as you can on Saturday morning (unless you have time closer to noon as there will be less shadows). This then gives you time on Saturday afternoon and Sunday to tackle any of the priorities you identified during your walk.
If you have a large garden, you need to invest in an automatic watering system. Without this convenience you’re going to find that watering is a chore as you will need to water for hours on end. Better bring some tunes, podcasts or ebooks to listen to! Or you’ll have do the sprinkler dance, moving your sprinkler around every half hour or so.
However even with a watering system or if you just have a small balcony garden, hand watering is needed for containers and other areas that can’t easily be watered via a central system. This typically doesn’t take long unless you have as many containers as I have and I do cheat by using the garden hose on most of them.
There are also ways of course to conserve moisture in the soil, such as using mulch. This is your best bet if you only have time to water once a week.
Imagine being able to sit down for breakfast on the weekend with your family and enjoy pancakes with fresh strawberries, drizzled in maple syrup. Or fresh blueberry scones. Or granola with a sprinkling of just picked raspberries. Heaven on earth!
Then at lunchtime serving a healthy salad, made with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes that smell and taste like tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and radishes. All from your garden, fresh as can be and healthy, as you know how they have been grown.
Then there is dinner and dessert where you could harvest root vegetables for roasted veggies and some peaches for a peach cobbler with ice cream. The main goal here is to eat a zero mile diet you probably have heard about.
If you have kids, involve them. They love to search for and find that elusive zucchini and yell so all the neighbours hear: “hey, look, we missed this one and now it is the size of a baseball bat! Cool!”
And keep your cooking simple. You want to preserve the natural taste of the fruit or the vegetable so you can enjoy the fresh, clean taste that you can only get from locally grown food. Eating outside always somehow makes the food taste better and that’s a good transition to the final tip.
Seating area cleanup and prep
Weekends are also for relaxing and taking it easy. So naturally you might gravitate to the outdoors for your relaxing time and meals.
Make sure to prep your seating area. Here is a list of what you can do to make the space more inviting:
- sweep up any debris or even better, use your “garden” vacuum cleaner to vacuum up any mess from trees or flowers
- wipe down tables and chair arms with a wet cloth, especially during pollen season
- put out the seat cushions if they’re stored away to keep them dry
- put out placemats or tablecloths, napkins and coasters to encourage eating and drinking outside
- crank open the umbrella or roll out the shade cloths or whatever else you use to keep your seating areas cool
- add some quick colour to your seating area
- bring out some books you want to read and make a pitcher of your favourite cold drink
- prep the barbecue if you have one by taking off the cover, cleaning it and soaking wood chips if you plan to do some smoking
Every weekend may not be ideal for spending lots of time in the garden, either working on tasks that need to be done or relaxing. But when you do have a weekend that is relatively open, take advantage of it by doing these 5 things as early as you can at the start of the weekend. Then you can enjoy the rest of the weekend.
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Tranquil Garden Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC