As enjoyable and rewarding as gardening can be, it typically involves a great deal of backbreaking manual labour. From tilling to weeding to repotting, maintaining a healthy garden invariably takes hard work and dedication. However, suppose you’re too busy to spend hours on end toiling away in your vegetable patch, or perhaps you’re physically unable to do so. If so, there is no reason you should miss out on the benefits of a lush, bountiful garden. Here are some low-maintenance gardening tips to prove anyone can have a green thumb.
Scattering wildflower seeds around your garden borders is an easy way to add colour and increase biodiversity. Wildflowers such as clover, birds-foot trefoil and oxeye daisies are excellent for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies, which is essential for global plant reproduction. Wildflowers will provide these crucial critters with food and shelter, so make sure you plant a healthy variety. Most wildflowers also bloom well in containers and window boxes, so you don’t need a large plot to create a lush, biodiverse meadow in your own back garden.
If you’re a low-maintenance gardener, choose low-maintenance crops. Some fruits, vegetables and flowers are much easier to grow and care for than others. Some excellent low-maintenance yet visually stunning flowers include lavender, yarrow and peonies. If you want to create a bountiful vegetable patch with minimal effort, try planting salad greens, radishes, potatoes and spring onions. Once you’ve enjoyed some success with easy-to-grow crops, you may feel more confident planting some intermediate varieties.
Being down on your hands and knees toiling away in your garden can be thoroughly exhausting. Fortunately, you can save your aching back by planting your crops in raised beds. Raised beds can also be better for your plants, offering improved drainage and better-quality soil. You could purchase some raised garden beds from a local hardware store or nursery or build them yourself from palettes or railway sleepers. Another excellent advantage of having raised beds in your garden is the ability to vary your soil type and pH from bed to bed, meaning you can grow a wider variety of crops.
Planting perennials is the ultimate low-maintenance gardening hack. Perennials are cold-hardy plants that will survive the harsh winter and return in the Spring, living for longer than two years. As such, you will not need to plant a new garden every Spring, saving you time, energy and money. Moreover, perennials typically have a deeper root system and can extract nutrients from further down in the earth. They can then channel these nutrients further towards the top of the soil, where other plants can access them.
Watering your garden during the summer can be a laborious task. However, with an automatic watering system, such as smart sprinklers, you can control how much water your plants receive and at what frequency. If you prefer alternative gardening methods, such as hydroponics, you could try using an automatic irrigation system. You can find a range of high-quality automatic watering and irrigation systems from brands like Autopot in UK grow shops and horticulture suppliers.
Keeping on top of garden weeds can be utterly draining, and it can often feel as though you’re fighting a losing battle against nettles, dandelions and chickweed. Aside from being unsightly and choking out the plants you do want in your garden, some weeds and invasive plants, like ragwort and foxglove, can be hazardous to humans and animals. When it comes to weeds, prevention is often the best cure. You can prevent weeds from growing by coating the space between your plants with organic mulch made from dead plant material such as compost, leaves, bark or grass clippings. Moreover, making your own mulch is surprisingly easy.
Along with constant weeding, controlling pests in your garden can also be a mundane and time-consuming task. However, an effective form of pest control is to sit back and let nature do the hard work. For instance, by planting flat-topped flowers such as yarrow, angelica and fennel, you can encourage a healthy population of beneficial predators like ladybirds. You could also introduce nematodes to your soil, which are microscopic multicellular insects that can help eliminate slugs, vine weevils and ants.