For the Beginner: When Your Garden is Too Much Work

Sometimes following a few simple steps can make gardening a lot easier.

| October/November 2001


My garden was too much work! How can I make it easier?

Answer: Now that you’ve put away your gardening tools, take some time to think back over the summer and evaluate how well your herb garden fits your life.

A beginner sometimes makes the mistake of planting too ambitious a garden out of sheer enthusiasm. It’s easy to want to grow so many new plants that you go a little overboard. The result can be a garden that demands more time than you have to give it, a garden that nags you instead of delighting you. If that’s the case, take off the rose-colored glasses.

Have a realistic look at how well your garden did and how well you did in keeping up with it. The joy of gardening isn’t found only in the results—the beauty, fragrance, and harvest for your kitchen; the “work” is a pleasure, too—the weeding, watering, feeding, pruning, deadheading, and otherwise caring for these plants. Garden maintenance only becomes a chore when there’s more to do than you have the time for in your life.

If hiring a gardener isn’t an option, this might be a time to think about changes that can save time and effort in future gardening seasons. Here are a few simple suggestions.

• Did you spend too much time dragging around hoses and trying to keep up with the watering? Turn a critical eye to how you’ve grouped your plants together. Perhaps you didn’t consider water needs when you were planting so frantically last spring, or maybe you didn’t know how much water certain plants would need when you planted them. Planning now for a bit of rearranging next spring can make watering easier in the long run.

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