Are you having trouble keeping your garden healthy and productive? Use this list of ten essential daily gardening tasks to take your garden from struggling to thriving.
Jump to the free daily garden routine download/printable here.
It’s easy to focus on the big tasks that need to be done in the garden. However, it is often the small simple things we do on a daily basis that will have the biggest impact on the health of our garden.
Garden Care Schedule for your Daily Gardening Routine:
1. Check the watering
Struggling = Overwatered plants have saturated soil and grow slowly. Underwatered plants are wilted with yellowing dried leaves.
Thriving = Plants that are watered correctly are healthy and grow well. They are less stressed and less prone to pests & disease.
Don’t assume your garden needs watering; first, check the soil. Put a finger in the soil; if it comes up with soil on it, wait before watering. If your finger is dry, it’s time to water.
Three key tips for watering:
- Newly planted seeds or seedlings will need watering more often until they get established.
- Watering in the morning helps hydrate plants for the day.
- Try to be in the garden when the water is running. You’ll spot leaks and broken timers and emitters that way, too.
2. Thin seedlings
Struggling = Too many seedlings too close together crowd each other out and compete for sunlight and nutrients. None of them grow well.
Thriving = Each seedling has enough room. Seedlings grow quickly and get established.
After planting seeds, thin them early and often. Young seedlings will grow and thrive when given enough room. Check mature spacing guidelines and square foot spacing in this blog post.
3. Keep up with pruning, weeding, and deadheading
Struggling = Tasks build up, and they become overwhelming. You don’t know where to begin. There is too much to do! Suckers and weeds grow large and take energy away from growing plants.
Thriving = Daily pruning and cleaning up keeps tasks manageable. Plants are healthy and productive.
I always have my favorite pruners when I head out to the garden each morning. If you see something that needs to be pruned or cleaned up, do it right away. Plants are healthier and happier when kept in check and cleaned up. Essential garden tasks include:
- Prune off dead, dying leaves.
- Prune suckers out of plants.
- Deadhead flowers.
- Pull weeds when they are small before they can spread seeds.
- Cut back flowers to encourage branching.
- Keep herbs pruned back.
- Keep your garden clean & pick up debris.
4. Look for bugs: good and bad
Struggling = You’re afraid to check the garden because of the pests. Squash bugs are multi-generational and out of control. You have to pull plants to prevent infestations from spreading.
Thriving = Daily checks on the undersides of leaves for problem pests keep numbers in check. Soapy water nearby makes it easy to dispose of problem pests. You see signs of beneficial insects and understand how they can help.
Make it a point to observe nature during your daily gardening routine. This doesn’t mean reaching for a spray bottle, every time you see a bug. However, it’s important to be aware of what is happening in your garden. Apps like “Seek” help identify which bugs are in your garden. Read this post to learn more about organic pest control options.
- Look for holes, check the undersides of leaves, check around plants, and check new seedlings.
- Pay attention to the patterns of pests/beneficial insects throughout the year.
5. Learn to spot the first signs of disease in your garden
Struggling = Plants are overtaken with disease and have to be pulled. Garden diseases build up in your soil and come back each season.
Thriving = You remove diseased leaves as soon as you see them and then monitor that plant closely. You clean your tools each time you use them to prevent the spread of diseases.
Removing affected leaves is often a good first step in treating garden diseases. Daily observation will help you know what further treatment steps are needed if the problem progresses.
Catching problems when small helps keep them under control and prevents spreading to the rest of your garden. Clean tools meticulously and dispose of any leaves in the garbage, not compost.
10 Essential Garden Tasks to Take Your Garden from Struggling to Thriving (continued)
6. Help your plants find the trellises
Struggling = Plants are overgrown with unruly branches that break when you train them to the trellis.
Thriving = You give young plants and branches a nudge or clip them in place as they grow, and they happily climb trellises.
Vertical gardening keeps plants healthier and more productive, but if the plant doesn’t find the trellis, it can’t climb. Other plants must be clipped to or woven up the trellis. Larger branches are less pliable and may break, but young growth is easy to train.
7. Look at the blossoms. Do you need to hand-pollinate anything?
Struggling = Female blossoms wither and die because they aren’t pollinated. Fruits do not mature before the season ends.
Thriving = You are in the garden when blossoms open and hand-pollinate as needed to ensure fruits form on squash, cantaloupe, and other plants.
The best time to do your daily gardening routine is in the morning – many blossoms are only open first thing in the morning. Learn the difference between male and female blossoms and hand-pollinate as needed.
A bonus tip: Plant flowers and allow herbs to flower to attract pollinators so you won’t have to hand-pollinate as often.
9. Check on vermicomposting and composting bins
Struggling = Plants aren’t growing well.
Thriving = You add food scraps and yard waste to composting bins and amend your beds regularly.
The best fertilizer for plants is fresh worm castings and compost from your vermicomposting and compost bins. Daily attention to this essential gardening task will keep them producing worm castings and compost to add to your garden.
Vermicomposting bins: Collect kitchen scraps. Check on 1-2 bins daily to monitor worms’ health. Add scraps or harvest finished worm castings as needed—Spread and water in castings. Take note of where you need to add more food scraps. Learn more about in-bed vermicomposting in this blog post.
Compost bins: As part of your garden care schedule, add disease-free yard waste to bins regularly. Monitor the temperature of compost bins and turn or water piles as needed. Learn more about how to compost in this blog post.
9. Keep up with the harvesting
Struggling = Fruit is left on the vine and gets rotten, attracting pests. Vegetables become tough or overgrown, and production slows down.
Thriving = You harvest as needed daily and incorporate that food into your daily diet and menus.
When you go out to the garden, bring a basket with you, and when something is ready to be picked, pick it! Pick young and pick often to encourage production. Monitor crops that usually get damaged by birds or pests and harvest early or put barrier methods in place before they ripen.
10. Enjoy being in the garden
Struggling = Being in the garden stresses you out because there is so much work!
Thriving = You look around and feel content about what you accomplished. You realize that daily, consistent efforts are better for your garden and easier for you!
Create a spot to rest, relax, and observe the beauty and wildlife as part of your daily garden routine. There may always be work that can be done. However, if you spend a little time each day, those tasks won’t overwhelm you. Instead of dreading it, you will look forward to time in the garden.
Remember to comment with one of your daily gardening routine tips for a successful garden!