Alright Team, time to talk little logistics that make a big difference in the garden. I’m talking about the seemingly insignificant or weird stuff that you need to know to ensure Zen-like energy through the growing season. Ready?
1. Don’t use Sharpies on your plant labels unless they are made of wood. Use pencil or a china marker on plastic labels as Sharpies can fade badly in the sun (if you do use them, the bigger the marker the better, fine line Sharpies won’t last the month). I find pencil writing can be prone to smudging on smooth plastic so my labeling tool of choice is the china marker. Whatever you use, be sure to actually label things!
2. Plant your tomatoes deep! The deeper you plant them the less floppy they will be (see my finger in the photo below, plant them AT LEAST this deep). Floppy tomato plants are guaranteed to frustrate and, worse yet, break stems and cause lost tomatoes. And don’t fret! Tomato plants are amazing and can send roots out from anywhere along the entire length of its stem- roots will pop out so quickly you’ll be amazed and your tomato plant will be safe, secure, and happy.
3. Thin out your seedlings. Yes, it will feel like a baby carrot massacre, but crowded seedlings are unhappy and unhealthy seedlings. And they make for tiny, spindly vegetables. It feels ruthless but it is very necessary- more is not better here!
4. All watering cans MUST have a removable rose (that’s the fancy name for the part where the water comes out in a delicate shower). Permanent roses will, 100% guarantee, get clogged and cause endless cleaning and/or frustration. Spend a little more up front for less hassle later.
5. Wear sunscreen and/or a wide brimmed hat and/or sleeves. No vegetables are worth a nasty sunburn. We love long sleeved (both button down and crew-neck) shirts with built in SPF and hats like this and this because you don’t have to worry about reapplication. But whatever your method, don’t forget to use it!
6. Squat, don’t hinge at the waist. Bending at the waist to do anything gets you only one thing: sore. Be mindful of how you are moving and be kind to your body! And lift with your legs!!!
7. Take breaks. Not just to not over exert yourself, but to also take some joy in it! Gardening is the OG mindfulness hobby! Nothing needs to be done in a rush and taking time to just sit in and bask in your achievements (with or without your beverage of choice) is a luxury- don’t let it pass you by!
8. Get yourself a weeding bucket/container. Anything will do! Just make it easier on yourself when weeding- walking around with a handful of weeds in a death grip isn’t as fun as it sounds. I like a galvanized pail with a few holes popped in the bottom (so it doesn’t collect rainwater when I inevitably leave it out) because it is cheap and super durable.
9. Make notes. Paper, phone app, computer, whatever! Just be sure to make notes of the issues you run into, the varieties that work (and don’t), things you want to do differently next year. You think you are going to remember, but I can promise it won’t all stick. Keep notes and your future self will thank you! (We prefer analog- paper- notes here, I like composition notebooks because they are cheap and easy to find and easy to store, but this blog helps too).
10. Wet soil means no work! Don’t plant in it, don’t walk on it, don’t do anything with it until it drys out a bit. If the soil is a bit crumbly in your hand, you are good to go. Just don’t go working your soil after a rainstorm- all you’ll do is compact it and compacted soil is no good for plants… it will also end in a muddy, sticky mess. Just take the day off and get back at it another day.
That’s it! I’m sure my fellow experienced Gardner’s will chime in with their favorite tips too!