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Weeding garden paths has a big visual impact.

Top tips for a tidy garden

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A tidy garden may not lead to a tidy mind as some people claim a tidy home will, but it will certainly make maintenance easier throughout the busier times of planting and harvesting. Here's some simple tips from Helen McKerral to help you clean up your plot.

There’s always much to do in a garden but the between seasons are good times to reasess and get tidying as it makes it easier (and more fun) when the tasks such as planting and harvesting come around.

But cleaning up gardens need not be overwhelming, especially in temperate late summer when weeds and hedges grow more slowly: it’s the perfect time for long-lasting results. 

Although most gardeners have seasonal routines, we tend to tackle tasks as we notice them; normally this is fine, but lists grow quickly after a hiatus and extra projects are hard to squeeze into busy schedules. The key is to complete tasks in a way that means you manage time efficiently. Working strategically prevents double-handling and distractions: if you’re like me, you can be en route to one task but pull a few weeds as you pass, then notice the tomatoes need dusting and, before you know it, the day is over! 

The principles of house decluttering/cleaning programs apply equally to gardens. Breaking tasks into manageable, discrete chunks, with readily discernible results highlighting your progress, also provides motivation to finish each job. You’ll be inspired rather than daunted.

While every so often you’ll need to do a big clean-up (you can see my ’10 steps to a Tidy Garden’ for such occasions in OG 139), my productive garden list is a good point to start your gardening maintenance:

  •   Rake paths
  •   Remove spent vegetables 
  •   Weed
  •   Remove windfalls, old labels, wooden stakes
  •  Prepare soil and plant winter vegetables
  •   Shade or net ripening crops
  •   Apply humic acid soil wetter to hydrophobic soil
  •  Replenish mulch
  •  Control pests

To make it all manageable, break up big jobs into bite-sized portions: either by separating your garden into zones and tackling each zone at a particular time; or choose a task, work your way around the garden doing just that one thing.

There’s more details in Helen’s full article in our Early Autumn 2023 magazine (OG 139). There’s a selection of back issues available here — you can also subscribe and get the most recent issues delivered to your door!

OG 139 cover