Gardening is a favourite hobby for many, used as a type of meditation and relaxation when life begins to get a bit hectic. But sadly, while the sounds of birds chirping and fresh air helps to clear the mind it can be troubling for the physical body leading to aches and pains in the knees and back. Moving heavy pots and constant bending can wreak havoc on the body – but before you throw in the towel, try these tips to make gardening easier and help prolong the end of a much-loved pastime.
Avoid the strain of lifting and moving heavy pots by filling the bottom third with packing peanuts – those styrofoam pieces you can buy from most storage stores. Simply level out the peanuts in the pot, add a layer of fabric over the top and then layer on the potting soil, ensuring that there’s sufficient depth of soil to accommodate the type of plant you’re potting.
This trick works best with the really big pots that are mainly for decorative purposes, not because the plant necessarily needs all of the soil the pot would usually hold. If you would like to reduce weight further, choose a potting mix filled with vermiculite and peat moss.
Making your shovel non-stick will ensure that soil will slip right off once you remove it from the earth and help avoid soil spillages that you may need to sweep up later. Just spray your shovel with a silicone or Teflon lubricant to make shoveling a breeze.
Going to the nursery can be a lot of fun, especially when you are purchasing a bunch of new plants, but getting all those plants home without them falling over and spilling topsoil inside your car can be a mission.
Next time you go to the nursery, however, line the back of your car with a plastic tarp and place a small step ladder on top. The spaces between the ladder rungs are perfect for keeping your plants upright and in place, as well as being great for ensuring fragile plants remain undamaged. They are perfect for protecting fragile plants as you drive home, as well as saving you cleaning up any mess.
If you find the measurements printed on your rain gauge hard to read or the glass or plastic has become cloudy, obscuring the water level, there is a simple solution. Add a few drops of food colouring to the bottom of your rain gauge. During your next rain shower, the water will combine with the dye, making the change in water level far more obvious.
There are a number of plants that look amazing but are just too invasive to deal with. Mint is delicious but it spreads like wildfire and can often take over if not regularly checked, creating extra work. But you can prevent invasive species from spreading by planting them in a plastic container. Once planted bury the pot just below the surface of your soil. Make sure your plastic container has no holes or openings.
This will ensure that the plant’s roots don’t grow too quickly and disrupt other plants. If the plant sends out runners, this will have to be dealt with in the old-fashioned way – by chopping them off!
One of the worst things gardeners face is ruined plants because of root and bulb damage. There are a number of pests that love nothing more than munching on your plant bulbs; digging them up and having a feast. Not only does this ruin all the hard work put into growing the plants, it means we have to clean up our garden and replant.
Instead, combat this problem by staking netting over the flowerbed. In the spring, remove the netting or cut a few holes for the plants to grow through.
By fitting a piece of plywood to the back end of your wheelbarrow, you can use it for transporting both soil and pots. To do this simply fasten the medium piece of plywood with some wood cleats on either side.
Now you will have a small surface that is perfect for potting straight out of the wheelbarrow. You can wheel your soil and plants to the garden when you’re finished in one quick trip.