There are things we love about gardening and things that we don’t. Nothing makes this clearer than the list of procrastinated garden projects that builds over the course of the season. If you are already dreading this year’s to-do list, here are a few ideas to help you check these projects off your list.
Let’s start with the bane of every gardener’s existence—weeds. Weeding is a year-long endeavor from start to finish. It starts in the spring and ends in the fall with cover crops, mulch, and weed barriers. If you live in a warmer climate, then weeding can go on indefinitely.
Some weeding is easy. Newly sprouted weeds pull up without much trouble, but more established weed patches take hours of back breaking work to eradicate. The problem with procrastinating weeding, of course, is that the longer you wait, the worse the weeds get. So how do you stop putting it off?
The first thing any weed-hating gardener should do is purchase a weeding tool that works really well and is easy on the body. A long handled stirrup hoe or wire weeder is my personal weeding tool of choice, as it allows me to tackle long rows of vegetables with ease, but you will have to discover the tools that work best for you. Having the right tool makes weeding less strenuous and allows you to get more done, faster, taking away some of the dread.
For really difficult patches that perhaps you’ve been ignoring for weeks—or months—you will need additional motivation. Listen to music, audio books, or gardening podcasts while doing particularly unpleasant garden tasks to make the time pass faster.
If you are overrun with weeds, there are two ways to go about fixing it, depending on your schedule and fitness. Look at your calendar and devote either one weekend to a weeding bonanza or break it up over the course of a few weeks, doing a little at a time until you are caught up—not that we ever really get caught up with weeds.
2. Fence Repair
A drive through the countryside reveals that one of the most frequently procrastinated farm and garden tasks is fence repair. Repairing fences takes time, sweat, and often money, so it is no wonder that we tend to overlook it. The downside to this procrastination is that garden fences protect our gardens and yards from unwanted visitors like wildlife and stray dogs.
If you live in a more suburban area, neighborhood pressure might make keeping up on your fence a little easier, but if you’ve been putting the job off for a while now, here are a few things that can help.
Painting, repairing, and maintaining a fence can take a bit of time, so make a day of it with a reward system in place for yourself. Put your favorite drink in the fridge or lay out a tasty snack for when you are done. You can also ask a friend or family member to help you with the tough parts because nothing is as frustrating as juggling a board, level, and screwdriver at the same time.
Some people love mulching. Personally, I detest it. This hatred could stem from one too many summer landscaping jobs, or it could just be that mulching is hot, sweaty, dirty work. Plus, unless you can get it for free, mulch is not exactly cheap.
However, the benefits of mulching far outweigh the negatives. The best trick I have learned to avoid procrastination is to place the mulch in a place where I have to look at it, and where it might even get in my way. If you order it by the yard, have it dumped in your driveway. If you buy it by the bag, stack it in front of a tool or doorway you use on a regular basis. The inconvenience will force you to get that mulch spread sooner.
Whether it’s your rose bush, the raspberry patch, or an apple tree, pruning is a time sensitive and a time-consuming garden chore. Procrastinating your pruning can actually damage your plants, so it is best to get it out of the way at the appropriate time of year. Depending on the plant, this could be spring or fall. Some hedges will require regular trimming to keep their shape.
I happen to find pruning very satisfying, but the number of unkempt shrubberies in the world is a testimony to the procrastination of my fellow gardeners. As with weeding, you need a pair of pruners suited to the job. Keep a small pair of hand pruning shears and a pair of long-handled loppers to allow you to reach a variety of heights, along with a sturdy pair of thorn-proof gloves. Dull shears make dull work, so it is also a good idea to put an edge on your pruners prior to use or you will really start to dread the task.
Once you have the right pruning tools, the only thing between you and your garden is time and willpower. Waiting for a nice day is just another form of procrastination, but when it comes to pruning certain plants you really do want to wait for good weather, as too much moisture can be problematic. This is the advantage to early spring pruning when plants are still dormant and less susceptible to disease.
Need more help motivating yourself? Pruning comes with its own ultimatum: prune when the time is right because you can’t prune later without damaging your plants.
Do you have any tips for avoiding garden procrastination? Is there a garden task you always procrastinate that is not listed here? Tell us about it in the comments section.