Does your time for gardening always seem too close to zero? Don’t despair. Armed with this plan of attack, you can maximize your garden’s appeal while minimizing the effort you put into it. Here are great tips from our own expert on how to get more out of your garden with less effort.
1. top-dress your soil
Every soil type — no matter how poor or rich — benefits from organic matter. I add a couple of inches of compost to the top of the soil each spring. It immediately cuts down on the number of early spring weeds that pop up. Even better, over the long haul — as it decomposes — compost increases the nutrient values of the soil and adds to the soil’s structure.
2. weed little, weed often
Waiting to pull weeds every couple of weeks or longer makes it a daunting chore. I make it easy by strolling through parts of my garden each day pulling weeds as I see them. Every day I pull a couple of weeds, so I catch them when they’re smaller and easier to yank out of the ground. This prevents them from going to seed and creating a whole new crop of weeds for me to tackle in the future.
3. pinch now, enjoy later
Many late-blooming perennials appreciate a springtime pinch. I nip the tops of mums, tall sedums, purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and other late bloomers to keep them compact and tidy. A springtime pinch also delays flowering, so you can extend the blooming season in your garden. Generally, it’s best to nip off just the top couple of inches of the new growth in midspring.
4. deadhead for tidiness
Deadhead annuals, perennials, and flowering shrubs. This gives some plants, such as blanket flower and veronica, a longer bloom season, and keeps your garden looking tidy. It also prevents plants from going to seed — so they have more energy to bloom well next year.