Once a gardener, always a gardener – and that’s a fact! After all, who wants to give up their happy place simply because the years are rolling by. And here’s the thing – there’s no need to! When you garden smarter, you can expect to have your hands in the dirt for as long as you want to. Here are 8 tips to help it happen!
1. Double the tools
Have you ever counted the number of trips you make to your garden tool shed in a day? Going back and forwards to access rakes, forks, hoes, and the rest of the paraphernalia you require, may help keep you fit, but it also means you’re more weary than you need to be a the end of the gardening day. Pre-loved garden tools are available cheaply at recycling stores and garage sales, so stock up on the basics, and leave sets of them at strategic places around the garden (you can keep them out of the weather by covering them in a large plastic rubbish sack nipped in at the base with a bungy cord). You’ll then be able to garden more and walk and carry less!
2. Hand tool hideaway
Unless you’re a perfectionist, you’ll no doubt find your small hand tools (such as trowels and weeding tools) go missing with monotonous regularity – which only means more trudging about to look for them. Keep small tools close at hand by having several sets which you keep stored in quaint mailboxes erected around the garden. Mailboxes on wooden poles look super-cute when painted, and also provide weatherproof storage places close to where you’ll be gardening.
You can double their usefulness by using them to support a climbing plant!
3. Let gravity do the work
When making compost that requires turning, start stage one of the process uphill of where it will eventually finish up. That way, you’ll be turning the pile with the help of gravity, not fighting against it by forking uphill.
4. On-site composting
Turning compost is hard work. If you want to save energy, make your compost pile on the very site the finished product is to be used. If you choose a heat-retaining, black polythene bin, there’s no real need to turn the compost. When everything inside has broken down, simply lift the bin off and dig in the goodies!
5. Cheery chairs
Feeling weary while gardening doesn’t mean you need to give up for the day. All that’s usually required is a short rest. But if you take a rest by going indoors, you may never get back to the task! Help yourself to keep on track by dotting comfortable outdoor chairs around the garden so you can take mini outdoor breaks whenever you want to. Colourful plastic chairs or hand painted pieces of vintage furniture can enhance a garden!
6. Wider paths, narrower beds
Balance can be a problem as we age, which is why it pays to increase the width of paths if we want to stay safe. This not only makes walking easier (especially while carrying tools), it means turning wheelbarrows and carts is less fraught with difficulty. Widening paths also mean garden beds become narrower – which in turn makes it safer to reach plants from the path without having to stand on unstable or uneven garden surfaces.
7. Garden friendly footwear
Forget your faithful sneakers, and purchase a garden-friendly pair of shoes or boots. Look for stout, water-proof footwear with a good tread and which will keep out the soil. Above all, make sure they are easy to put on or take off, so you never have any excuse to go into the garden without them.
We all know taking your phone with you into the garden is a number one way to manage safety. But here’s the other reason for keeping your phone by your side when you work outdoors: it will save you numerous trips back to the house to check on advice from your gardening library. Want to know what bug is bothering your roses? Google it! Want a step-by-step guide on how to prune your current bushes? Head to You Tube! It’s easy peasy and energy saving when your phone is by your side.
Good luck with gardening smarter!