In the garden: More time-saving tips for fellow gardeners


Last week, I shared some wonderful gardening tips from my Facebook followers. I ran out of room before I ran out of tips, so here’s the second installment.

Two Spokane gardeners saved time and effort with their sprinkler systems.

As Andy Smith says, “I don’t know of a better time saver than my timed drip irrigation. It is plugged into my existing lawn sprinklers and I added a modern timer as well as drippers for each bed. It’s so essential for my wife and I because we both work.

Cathi Lamoreux even ran a water pipe to her potting bench and attached a hose to it. “It works so well when I’m repotting plants and for watering any plants I store for the Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale.”

Do you forget where you want to plant things? Deb Brown from Wisconsin solved this problem. “I use the empty containers I’ve saved from spring perennials to mark places in my garden where I want to plant fall bulbs. I dig up the dirt and put it in the empty container, then I put the container back in the hole. In the fall, the hole is ready for the bulbs. I find this to be a huge time saver as I never remember where the spots are that need to be filled in the fall.

Nan Rawlins in Ohio uses this time saver in her garden. “I hang rolls of soft garden twist ties on a trellis with a pair of kid’s scissors. When I need to tie a tomato plant, squash, or bean vine to a trellis or support , which happens quite often as my raised bed is 50% a vertical garden, the ties are convenient and ready to go No hunting, no fuss.

Robin Lawson of California keeps ground covers close at hand. “I keep a stack of small baskets of green strawberries around to cover newly sprouted seedlings to protect them from birds. I also keep a length of shade cloth handy to bundle and cover newly sown seeds to prevent them from drying out too quickly.

Three gardeners shared their tips for controlling these troublesome weeds:

Kathleen Callum of Spokane knows the benefits of placing mulch around her plants and on walkways. “It saves time on weeding.”

Utah’s Paul Gentry doesn’t let the weeds get him down. “I water the vegetable garden by hand. If I notice a weed, I pull it out. I almost never need to weed more.

“My paths between our raised beds are stone dust,” said Susan Dumais. “I use a hoe about once a week to weed. It takes a few minutes!”

Stacie Butikofer of Idaho Falls knows how to handle mass planting jobs. “When I plant annuals in a border, I take out my bulb planter. It makes a quick job of a big job.

Spirit Lake’s Lisa Houser likes to keep things simple. “Only handle things once. Take a bucket or trash can with you to throw weeds, plant material or soil directly into, rather than making small heaps on the ground to pick them up later. Leave an empty bucket near the garden gate: you know you’re going to need it!

I think longtime Spokane gardener Penny Simonson wins the award for best advice of all: “Hire some help.”

Damn, why didn’t I think of that?

Susan Mulvihill is the author of “The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook” and “The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook”. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Watch this week’s video at


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