Tips and Timesavers
To get the most from my garden, I endlessly experiment with techniques such as succession planting.
Gardeners share a universal problem—we don't have enough time. There simply are not enough hours in the day for our many projects: sowing, transplanting, and dividing plants; designing, building, and renovating gardens—not to mention the constant chores of weeding, pruning, and composting. There are regions of North America that allow gardening almost year–round, but most of us have just six to eight months in which to fit everything from spring planting to fall harvest cleanup. And that's in between pursuing our careers and everything else we like to do during the summer, like swimming, golfing, visiting friends, and traveling!
In my more than 40 years of dirty jeans, calloused hands, and learn–as–I–go gardening on my 46–acre farm in northwestern New Jersey, I have planted many gardens with flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and ornamental grasses. I've tried to make the most of my time in the garden by using a combination of inspiration, ingenuity, and a fair amount of common sense to find shortcuts to a beautiful, healthy, abundant garden.
Among the nine chapters in this handbook are "Gardening Techniques," "Improving the Soil," "Pest Controls," "Propagation," and "Vegetables," which include tips and techniques I've used over the years to protect and enhance the soil, save time and effort in watering, and extend the blooming or growing seasons of my flowers and vegetables.
As part of my career as a nature photographer, I've experimented with garden designs to achieve exciting color, texture, and composition in borders and container gardens throughout the seasons. The tips in "Garden Design" and "Container Gardening" will help you plan and create your own garden environments. In "Gardening Indoors" are ways to expand the space and season limits of your garden by growing plants indoors, as well as methods for preserving flowers and herbs for enjoyment year–round.
As part of an ongoing project, I have been photographing my gardens from the same vantage points over each of the four seasons of the year.
Finally, in "Trash to Treasures," I have applied my tendency toward frugality—something that seems to come naturally to gardeners—to think of ways to reuse materials on hand. None of the tips in this handbook call for materials fancier than cement blocks or wooden boards, and many call for recycling household "junk" like plastic jugs or items that have outlived their original use. For example, it dawned on me that my old golf bag and cart—fallen into disuse as my passion for gardening overtook my love of golf—would make a great carrier for long–handled tools. Not only does it work well in its new capacity but I've saved three or four cubic feet of landfill space.
100 Garden Tips and Timesavers has color-coded chapter bars for quick reference to general topics like gardening techniques and vegetables, and each tip is described with step–by–step instructions. Keep it handy for inspiration—it can even go with you to the garden, perhaps nestled in your golf–bag tool carrier!