In case you missed the first post on this Garden CleanUp-Along, here’s the link to review.
To re-cap, I’m going to post periodic garden tasks (sometimes weekly, sometimes more often) to help get our gardens ready for spring.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent the winter pretending the garden elves were going to take care of the mess for you. Since that probably didn’t work out, we’re stuck doing it ourselves and spring is barreling down the road.
If you want to participate, you can join on this post or the original post, or just start anywhere along the process.
One of the best things about this project is that, unlike many other projects, part of this one will take care of itself. As spring arrives and the flowers bloom, the shrubs and trees bloom out and green up, things will start looking better all by themselves!
With that in mind, try not to get overwhelmed while we embark on the first step:
Step 1: Stranger Walk-Through
I want you to get a clipboard, paper and pencil, and (optional) a camera, and go out to the garden. Start where a guest would first view the garden. Pretending you’ve never been there before, try to see your garden with fresh eyes: What first catches your eye?
What have you been ignoring, saying to yourself, that’s just so and so, it’s weird but I’m planning to do x with it later?
In my garden, for one example, there’s this:
I’m not sure what to call it, I put it together from leftovers from a lattice I built. I intended to put little hangers on it to keep small garden tools on, but I never did and just propped it in the middle of the garden. It’s fallen over because it isn’t stuck in the ground, it doesn’t function as it is, and it’s strange.
To make matters worse, there’s the rotten log, the pile of stones waiting for a project, an empty planter, and general messiness.
Go around with the clipboard, writing down all of the sore thumbs like the one above.
Don’t worry about the small stuff, just shoot for things that will make the biggest impact, like:
- actual trash
- piles of junk
- things that are broken
- tools that need storing
- weedy beds
- trees and shrubs that desperately need pruning
For extra points, take photos of these problem areas. These are your BEFORE pictures.
Once you’ve gone all over the garden area, go back inside where it’s warm, make yourself a cup of tea, and sit down with the list.
Refine and prioritize the list based on your style of working.
If you’re the type who needs to start small and gain momentum, put the easier, quicker fixes at the top and work down to the bigger, more time-consuming jobs.
If you’re the type who prefers to get the big stuff out of the way first and then coast to the finish line, put the hardest jobs at the top and let the small jobs be your dessert.
For the bigger jobs, break them down into smaller pieces. In my example of the “thing” above, I wrote:
- Put “thing” in shop
- Buy and attach hooks
- Relocate to convenient spot, install properly
- Take log to compost area
- Empty, wash and store planter
- Get started on stone project
- Rake/clean area
And here’s my complete list:
Front bench area
–weed & rake
–prune shrubs, rake (yes, that is a hula hoop)
–wash, repair, & repaint
–move and convert to an herb spiral
Rain barrel area
–tidy, weed & rake
–weed, build up soil, mulch
–weed, rake, mulch
–clean up, mow
–relocate, clean up
Garbage can area
I’ve interspersed easy and tough jobs. I may even jump around. The important thing is, for me, to see one job through from start to finish before I start any other jobs. As I finish, I’ll take an after picture. It really helps to see just how far I’ve come and how much of a difference there is.
So, get out your pen and paper and take your tour. Remember, don’t write down every little thing that needs doing. Pick and choose based on impact.
Come back and share in the comments how it went.
Next step I’ll talk about setting aside time and keeping ourselves accountable.