As gardeners it’s easy to get overwhelmed and at times forget what needs to be done in the garden. This article is the ultimate garden to do list, that will allow you to stay on top of garden tasks all summer long. Eventually you will memorize this garden to do list for Canadian gardeners and it will be second nature.
The easiest way to stay interested in your garden’s success is with small daily tasks. Spending even 15 mins a day doing a scan of the garden means you will be able to form a habit over time. This not only will alert you to issues but also be valuable to your mental health. Below is a quick seven day task sheet; each task should only take 15 – 30 mins depending on the size of your garden.
|Dead Heading||Pest Check||Watering||Harvest,Prune & Thin||Catch Up Day||Watering||Weed Removal|
Some plants need to be deadheaded in order to produce more flowers. Dead heading is the process of removing old flowers & seed pods. If you are noticing a flower is limp or discoloured, it is time to remove the flower. If you notice a small green “ball” where the flower used to be then its definitely time to give it a pluck. This ball is the seed pod forming, which can trigger the plant into dormancy. This is a must have on the garden to do list.
When deadheading a plant make sure to snip the stem back far enough that the stem isn’t noticeable. This isn’t important for the physiology of the plant, but it is going to help with the appearance. Keep in mind some plants have been genetically altered to ignore the life cycle cues of flowering and seed formation. This means the plant does not need to be deadheaded to ensure future flowers.
Hybrids without the cues will have a note of the tag saying deadhead free. The trade names for these plants in the greenhouse are called waves.
This one should be a quick touch, look and feel run through. First when you walk up to the garden look for discoloration, chewing & wilting.
If you see discoloration, determine if the cause is intense light, powdery or downy mildew, bacteria infection. Etc. If less than 30% of the plant is harmed we can leave the plant alone and see if the issue is corrected. If the issue is spreading and has taken over more than 30% of the plant it is time to consider treatments.
Chew marks are common and rarely should be a cause for concern. We are a part of the ecosystem and therefore we need to share with our bug friends. Again if less than 30% of the plant is damaged we can simply let our bug friends hang out. More than 30% and you will want to begin treatment. If you are not squeamish, consider physically removing the bug from the plant leaves. This is one of my number one methods for bug control.
For slugs, snails, thrips or any other soil born pests check out our article on using nematodes for control.
This is a pretty simple concept that should be done thoroughly twice a week. While baskets and pots are commonly watered daily the garden can be watered less often. With the garden we want to water for 30 – 40 mins at a time. This will ensure the entire profile is watered and can survive any changes in evaporation rates. If you are wondering what the best time to water is check out this video.
Harvest, Prune & Thin
Depending on the time of year your tasks in this department will change.The early parts of the year will involve thinning out the garden. Not all plants need to be thinned but some such as lettuce, radish, beets & other greens do. This is essential to proper plant growth and when we don’t think we end up with a small or non-existent garden.
Summer time we will want to prune our plants. This can involve the obvious process of removing dead foliage. However, we also want to consider removing suckers from our tomato vines & pepper plants. Because we are in a cold climate, trimming up our plants is an important step in ensuring a timely harvest.
The last step and probably the most satisfying is the harvest. All fruits and vegetables are different in regards to ready time so be sure to research when it’s time to harvest for your specific plant.
This is my least favourite if we are being totally honest. It’s not uncommon for me to conveniently have something else to do on Sundays. But in all honesty having the right tools is so important. For years I thought the best tool was my hands. Then I thought it was a hard tool rake. Now I am convinced it is the loop hoe. The key to the loop hoe is keeping the blade end nice and sharp. All you do is simply run this over the surface and wella you have no more weeds.
Do not be shy about leaving the weeds in place. They can act as a mulch to preserve water and add nutrients back into the soil over time. This form of weeding works with most weeds. The exception would be rhizome weeds such as quack grass, virginia creeper & thistle.
There you have it, the official garden to do list. This is the perfect guide to success in the garden regardless what type of garden you have. Keep in mind there is never a wrong way of gardening and the important part is that you are gardening in general. Always be conscious of your physical abilities and avoid working in high heats. Let us know in the comments below what your favourite schedule looks like.