How Much Time Should A Beginning Gardener Plan To Spend Maintaining A Garden?

How much time should a beginning gardener plan to spend maintaining a garden? Depending on the weather conditions and the season, maintaining your garden can be a sizable time commitment. To some extent,...

To some extent, it depends on the garden. If the look that you're going for is a very tropical look, that's going to be a much more high maintenance type of garden than a xeriscapic or native type garden. But generally, I would say that everyone should devote at least three or four good days per week to general cleanup chores in the early spring, and at least one day a week in the summer and in the fall if you have trees that are dropping leaves.

Most of the maintenance problems that people have are watering issues. Of all the problems that we (The Great Outdoors Nursery and Landscape) encounter, at least half are watering issues. A plant should not be watered too much at one time. When you water your plants, you should water them very well and very deeply. I always find it amusing to see people walking by their beds with a hose and spraying the plants for about five seconds, because they're watering maybe a quarter-inch of the soil. To really drench your soil and get all the soil wet, it's going to take 10-15 minutes of watering. I actually watered my lawn the other day because we hadn't had a lot of rain. I do have a pretty extensive lawn, and it took me two and a half hours to water my whole yard - not just my grass, but also all the trees and shrubs that I planted!

For anybody that has long beds or rows of trees or shrubs, the soaker hose is a great invention. A lot of people will lay the soaker hose down in their flower bed and then lay mulch on top of it so you don't see it. It's a hose that's porous along its entire length. You put your regular garden hose on it and it basically leaks water all the way along the hose. So it's a way to water very easily without having to stand there with a hose in your hand. It's not the most effective way to water a lawn, but it's great for beds. What I tell people is turn the soaker hose on, go inside and eat dinner and then come back out. So, about 20 to 30 minutes of watering should soak your soil pretty well.

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