Maintaining a large garden is a great way to supply yourself with fresh vegetables and spend plenty of time outdoors. The one problem is that large gardens can get out of control easily if not tended properly. It might take extra effort, or even specialized outside help, but you can make your large garden as beautiful as you dreamed. Here are five ways to make keeping your garden under control simple.
Mulch All Unoccupied Spaces
Weeding is the single most labor-intensive aspect of garden maintenance. Using grass clippings, wood chips or another mulch medium in all the areas around your plants will help to keep weeds down and save you time pulling them by hand. As mulch breaks down, it will also add valuable nutrients back into your soil. This can give your garden a reset, to let you set a regular, manageable schedule for weeding.
Install an Irrigation System
If you have a large enough garden, installing an irrigation system can be worthwhile. Irrigation systems allow you to automate your watering schedule, rather than having to manually water your crops. Keep in mind that this is only a good solution if you’re growing in more or less fixed bed spaces. If you primarily grow vegetables, or want a more controlled garden space, this can be a good idea.
Use Tight Spacings
It’s a common myth that spacing plants farther apart results in higher yields. The reality, though, is that putting your plants closer together can raise your yields and help your crops block out weeds. While you still want to keep enough space to allow for good growth, planting closer together can make your garden much easier to manage. The proper distance will vary from plant to plant, so please look up an individual planting guide for each addition to your garden.
Prune to Avoid Disease
If you’re growing tomatoes or other plants that are prone to fungal infections, strategically pruning the lower limbs to allow for air flow is usually a good idea. Good pruning can also promote fruit production and keep your plants from putting all of their energy into leaves and stalks. Set a regular schedule for pruning. That way you can keep a close eye on what’s developing in your garden.
Harvest on a Schedule
Like watering and weeding, harvesting your vegetables can be labor-intensive in a large garden, even if it is fun. A good way to manage your harvests is to pick on a regular schedule. If you have a pepper patch, for instance, you might decide to harvest your fresh peppers on a particular day each week. This will keep you from trying to harvest from all of your patches each day, which can turn into quite a chore.
By sticking to these five basic principles, you can easily manage even a fairly large home garden. Garden management is all about simplifying the tasks that have to be done to keep your garden healthy. Done properly, good garden maintenance will allow you to have a productive garden without devoting hours of work to it each week.