11 Time-Saving Tips

Time-saving ideas from OG's own test gardeners.

Photography by Christa Neu


save time with these garden tips4. Cut off weeds.
When low-growing weeds like chickweed or lamium grow into a mat, don't bother trying to get rid of them one at a time. Instead, use the "shovel method" Debbie recommends. "With a sharp spade, slice beneath weeds, and then turn them over to completely bury the leaves," she explains. Bonus: "As the leaves rot, the weeds nourish the soil like a green manure."

5. Pile on mulch.
Use a bow or flat-head rake to spread mulch efficiently, Lisa suggests. "With the rake's tined edge, you pull and spread the mulch, and with the flat side of the rake, you even out the mulch on the bed," she explains, adding, "Use a light push-pull action."

6. Water wisely.
Soaker hoses save you the time of standing with a hose or refilling a watering can, Debbie reminds us. "With pressure on low, the water can be left on for several hours while a section of the garden is slowly irrigated, freeing you to work on something else. Just keep in mind that tender seedlings still need to be hand-watered."

7. Wind up hoses.
Don't waste time dragging and storing unwieldy hoses—for neat, easy storage, Lisa depends on both stationary and portable hose reels to put hoses away faster.