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Time Saving Tips

These days it seems like most of the timelines for my work are a bit  hazy.  Goals are intangible, deadlines shiftand projects are never really completed.  There doesn’t seem to be a point where I can stop and say, “Job well done!  Now let’s move on to the next thing.”   That is one reason why working the in garden is therapeutic for me.  Aside from being outdoors and close to nature, I can tackle a task and know that it has a beginning and end.  That being said, there are some jobs that I enjoy more than others.  In this slide show you’ll find tips that will help you spend less time wrestling with your garden and allow you more time to plant, harvest and relax. 

Time Saving Tips (Print Version)
Perennial Cages
Staking tall growing plants early in the season will prevent time consuming labor later.  An easy and inexpensive way to do this to cage the plants with a circle of concrete reinforcing wire.  Choose a light gauge wire that is easy to work with.  Cut the wire creating long tines at the base to push them into the ground and on the ends to latch the cage together.

Twig Supports
A natural and inexpensive approach to keeping your flowers from flopping over is to use twigs. This is particularly effective for light and airy perennials like baby's breath. It's simple to use them. Just push the sticks into the ground and weave the plants up through the twigs.

Slow Release Fertilizers
Slow release fertilizers help you  reduce the amount of time you spend feeding your plants.  When potting up container gardens, select a bagged soil medium that includes slow release fertilizer and water retentive polymers.

Double Duty Bird Feeders
Plant mammoth sunflowers that grow into  bird feeders that you never have to refill and beautiful cut flowers to enjoy indoors.  Sunflowers require full sun, good soil, consistent moisture and room to grow.  Sow seeds outdoors after the last frost date.

Continuous Color with a Single Planting
When you plant early, mid and late blooming varieties of one plant type such as tulips, iris, peonies, daylilies or daffodils, you'll enjoy weeks of continuous blooms.  Just one day of planting will produce  weeks of enjoyment.

Focal Point
Create an instant focal point in your garden with a large container garden.  A mass planting of a bold foliage plant such as elephant ears or bright colored blooms can be changed seasonally.  Or for something more permanent try a shrub with multiple seasons of interest.

Recipe for Repairing Bare Patches in the Lawn
Instead of measuring cups, use a shovel. Combine 5 shovel fulls of sand, 1 shovel full of sterilized topsoil, 1 shovel full of grass seed and 1 cup of slow release of fertilizer.  Spread the mix over the bare spot and water.  If your lawn grass is a variety that puts out runners or stolens like Bermuda or St. Augustine, you don't even have to bother with the seed just use the sand/topsoil/fertilizer mixture.

Cover Up with Annual Vines
If you have something you need to camouflage or would like to create a privacy screen, try an annual vine such as moonflower, morning glory or hyacinth bean vine.  These fast growing, flowering vines will cover a trellis in a single growing season.  Because they are annual they will die back in winter, but they produce seeds that can be sown again next year.

Scalloped Hedges
It's easier and faster to shape hedges if you have a guide.  A piece of plywood can be cut into a handy template.  Use a piece of plywood that is the height of your hedge.  Simply stand the plywood next to the hedge and cut the shape with sharp shears.

Weed Control Fabric
Use weed control fabric to reduce weeds, keep the soil cool and retain moisture. Topped with a layer of mulch, this fabric will cut down on a ton of work this summer. Choose a durable product that is constructed in a way that prevents weeds from penetrating while allowing water, air and fertilizer to pass through.