7 Gardening Habits of Highly Productive Gardeners

Gardening requires a good deal of physical work and planning as well. And good gardening habits will make the path of success as you grow your garden. However, habits don't develop just in a week, it may take years.

As a successful gardener, I'm showing here my habits that I strictly follow and can be really helpful for any gardeners.

1. Work with what you've got

I live in the Northeast, where winters are harsh and summers are hazy. More than once, newcomers to the area have asked me for advice on starting a lavender farm. I always bite my tongue to keep from saying, “Move to France.” Lavender is marginally hardy here.

We all have our own ideas of what the perfect garden would look like. For some it’s an English cottage garden, others want fields of lavender, olive trees, and hedges of rosemary, and some go exotic. I encourage people to push the envelope, but the most successful gardeners learn to work with what they’ve got.

Besides the consideration of hardiness zone, you have to be realistic about how much sun hits your garden, what type of soil you have, how much watering you will have to do and what wildlife will compete with you for your plants.

Ignore these elements and you will either be at your garden’s mercy or you will have a failing garden. Plants don’t wait until you have time to get to them and they don’t necessarily thrive where they are planted.

2. Keep it Convenient

You can have a successful garden without planning – although a plan certainly helps – but a garden that is too large or too out of the way will doom you. Whether it’s your first garden or a new garden, start small. Gain some experience and then expand.

There is no quicker way to lose heart than to plant more than you can easily maintain. That’s the major reason so many vegetable gardens don’t make it through their first season. Get one section growing smoothly and then tackle some more. It won’t be long before your entire vision is laid out and you’re looking for more space to grow things.

3. Cover the ground

Don’t leave wide open spaces in the garden where weeds can creep in. Plant tightly from the start. Perennials won’t fill in for about 3 years and by then you can always divide them and make more plants.

Fudge the spacing by planting a few inches closer than recommended and fill in the rest with annuals.

This goes for the vegetable garden, too. Lettuce makes a great groundcover under taller plants. At the very least, add a 3 – 4 inch layer of organic mulch on all exposed soil. Besides keeping some weeds at bay, it will also help you feed the soil.

4. Be aware of free plants

While I encourage you to plant as much square footage as possible, try and resist the urge to accept every free plant your friends offer you. If someone comes by with a box full of, oh I don’t know, let’s say chameleon plant, and be skeptical. If they have that much to give away, I guarantee you it is an aggressive grower and you will regret planting it within a year.

It is very tempting to want plants that will fill in the garden quickly, but that temporary triumph will morph into years and years and years of ripping things out.

5. Don't Waste

On the other hand, don’t waste. Aggressive plants make great compost. Compost should be a no brainer. Even if you have no time or interest in turning a pile, you can just let it sit and do its thing. Compost is one of the best things you can do for your soil, and therefore for your plants. You will never have enough of it, so pile up all those clippings, and debris and fall leaves and make good use of them.

6. Work it

Gardening takes work. True gardens are not outdoor rooms. Gardening is more than a few containers next to the grill and umbrella table. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, gardening is not for you.

You will need to get out there and survey your garden on a regular basis, preferably daily. Take your pruners with you, when you go. Weeds, deadheading, harvesting, and pest control will need to be done whether it is a breezy day in spring or a sweltering August afternoon. Gardening is a process not a result. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t punish yourself or your plants.

However you just might find yourself loving it. It’s not uncommon for a novice gardener to quickly turn zealot. It can be taxing work, but it is also a wonderful way to experience the seasons, it opens up a much wider view of the world, and it can be meditatively relaxing. It’s even good for you. It’s still work, but its work you look forward too.

Another way you can ease up your daily  work is to keep everything organised - all the plants, your gardening tools, consumables - everything.

7. Start with the soil

This should have been first. I put this last because I was afraid you’d stop reading if it was the first thing you saw. Working with the soil isn’t one of the fun parts of gardening. We all want to skip right to the planting. Too many gardeners do that and regret it.

Soil is the life blood of your garden and if you don’t think about it beforehand, you’ll spend years playing catch up. Granted, soil will always be in flux and you will continually have to amend it, even if you start with great soil But if you start with poor soil, you will not only have to fix the soil, your plants will suffer until the soil is up to their standards. You will be feeding, watering and probably weeding them repeatedly for the first few years.

Start with a rich, healthy soil bed and your plants will thrive from the day you plant them, with little care from you. Soil isn’t sexy, but it makes that dream garden possible.

I've shared all my good habits that I follow for gardening. And these habits aren't that much hard to follow. Just do it as I said here for few months in a row; you can develop the habits as well.

Happy Gardening.

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