Tips for Easier GardeningUpdated: Mar. 03, 2023
Love to garden but short on time? Here are some tips that will help you plant, water and weed more efficiently so you have more time to stop and smell your roses.
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Munch-proof your flower bulbs
Rein in an invasive plant
Collar aggressive plants with a container
Plants like gooseneck loosestrife have underground rhizomes (roots) that can spread to all corners of your garden before you know it. To keep them corralled, slice out the bottom of a plastic container with a utility knife.
The plastic collar keeps roots in one spot
Push this “collar” into the soil (or drive it down with a mallet) to encircle the plant and its invasive root system. If the soil has become compacted, cut around the plant with a spade first. Note: This technique won’t contain plants that spread above ground like strawberries and mint.
Plywood shelf creates a stable surface
Cut a piece of plywood roughly to the shape of your wheelbarrow’s back end and screw a few wood cleats along the sides to keep it from slipping off while you wheel. Now you’ll have both soil and a potting surface right at hand when you take the wheelbarrow to the garden.
Help for root-bound plants
Slice root balls and tease out roots
If you buy potted plants or shrubs, they may well be root-bound. With nowhere else to grow, roots form tight circles inside the pot. As the plant grows, the tightly wound roots prevent water and nutrients from reaching the leaves. Before planting, gently coax these roots outward with your fingers. If the roots are very stubborn, make three or four vertical cuts in the root-ball with a sharp knife. Once planted, water often to help the plant get established.
Lighten those heavy pots
Fill pot half full with foam packing peanuts
To lighten large pots, fill the pot one-third to one-half full with foam packing peanuts. They not only make the pot lighter but also provide space for drainage. Fit a round piece of landscape fabric between the soil and the foam to keep the materials separate. You can use a light potting mix that contains plenty of vermiculite and peat moss to make the pot even lighter. Some packing peanuts dissolve in water; be sure to test yours before putting them in the pot.