If you’ve ever grown so much as a carrot, you’ll know that gardening isn’t about instant gratification. Growing your own veg is time consuming in a way that makes War and Peace look like a quick read. (Not that I’ve read it, just in case you thought I was trying to sound clever!)
Not being able to rush things is part of the beauty of gardening, but it’s also part of the problem – at least for anyone with other commitments, like children, or work.
So here are a five ways to save vital time on the allotment, or in the garden.
1. Don’t get hung up on pots.
I used to start most of my seeds off in pots indoors – everything from beans to lettuces – then spend ages planting them out when they were big enough.
Until I discovered it makes no bloody difference if you just plant them straight in the ground! You just need to do it a bit later than if you were starting them off indoors. What’s more you often end up with sturdier, healthier plants.
(There will be a few exceptions to this, but I’m on a mission to see how many seeds I can get to germinate straight in the ground. )
2. Don’t be too tidy.
This year I have potato and tomato plants springing up in places I haven’t actually planted them. Turns out they’ve seeded themselves after I failed to clear out the beds properly last year. Which means bonus crops for zero effort!
It’s best not to do this too often, as ideally crops need rotating. But hey, it’s ok to break the rules now and then.
3. Bucket List.
Leave a few empty buckets near your thirstiest crops. That way, when it rains the buckets will fill up ready to use in a dry spell and you won’t even need to lug a watering can about.
4. Hoe, hoe, hoe.
Yes, it’s boring. But 10 minutes of hoeing when the weeds are still small, really does save time later on when you’ve got a bramble infested orgy to deal with. Trust me.
5. Sod the ironing.
I’ve never understood why people iron – presumably they just don’t like crumpled clothes. But just think how much weeding, watering, or planting you could get done in the time it takes to iron a pile of shirts. Go on, ditch the iron!