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6 Habits of Highly Successful Gardeners

Once the fundamentals of your garden are in place (good soil, effective watering, planting at the correct time for your climate), these tasks to do in your garden every day will help your garden be healthier and more productive.

It is the little things you do on a regular basis that have the largest impact on the health of your garden. Make it a habit to spend time in your garden doing these tasks each day. This one practice will improve the success of your garden more than anything else you do.

Observing your garden each day helps you catch problems when they are small and easy to manage. Preventing problems is an important step in building a healthy productive garden and in managing pests and diseases.  

Make the most of your daily time in the garden by doing these 6 tasks every day. As you make this practice a habit, these 6 habits will become second nature.

6 Habits of Highly Successful Gardeners: What do to when you spend time in the garden each day

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1. Pay attention to the watering​

Most problems in the garden can be traced back to incorrect watering. Observation is crucial to see if your plants’ watering needs are being met. Monitoring watering is arguably the most important of the tasks to do in your garden every day.

Tasks TO-DO in Your Garden EVERY DAY
Watering grids that I use to water my garden
  • Try to be in your garden when the water system is running. I use the garden grids from Garden in Minutes.
  • Check for broken timers, dead batteries, and broken emitters.
  • Check the moisture level in the soil in raised beds and containers. Dig down a little to see if the soil is moist, or use a moisture meter to determine if watering is needed. Adjust the days between watering on timers as needed.
  • Look for signs of plants needing water such as yellowing, dried leaves at the bottom of the plant, or wilted leaves.
  • Check for signs of overwatering such as wilted plant but wet soil, brown leaves, yellow falling leaves, new growth falling off, floppy plant, and slimy or foul-smelling roots (root-rot).

2. Keep up with pruning and deadheading

When I head out to the garden each morning, I always have my favorite pruners with me. Daily pruning and tidying up keeps these tasks manageable. Plants are healthier and happier when kept in check and cleaned up.

  • Prune off dead or dying leaves. 
  • Prune suckers out of tomato plants. 
  • Deadhead flowers to encourage more blooms. 
  • Keep herbs harvested to encourage more growth and prevent flowering.
Pruning sucker out of tomato plant

3. Look for bugs: good and bad​

One or two pests are easier to manage than entire generations. Daily observation helps keep pests in check.

A few aphids or chewed leaves aren’t cause for alarm. However, if you are aware that a problem is developing, you can keep an eye on it and take action if necessary. 

Here are a few things to look for:

  • If you see holes, check the undersides of leaves for worms.
  • Check the undersides of leaves for pests and eggs.
  • Monitor new seedlings for pest/bird damage. Use DE, tulle, or other barrier methods if needed. 
  • Learn what the different stages of beneficial insects look like, and keep an eye out for the good guys too!
Lacewing eggs on a leaf with aphids
Organic Pest Control That Really Works

Read this blogpost to learn about organic pest control options that really work.

4. Spot diseases and intervene early

Powdery mildew on squash leaves

Learn to spot the first signs of disease in your garden. 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 they are small helps keep them under control and prevents spreading to the rest of your garden. 

How to Prevent and Treat Powdery Mildew

Read this blogpost to learn how to prevent and treat powdery mildew.

5. Observe new growth and blossoms

Of all the tasks to do in your garden every day, this one is my favorite. I love walking around and enjoying the sights and sounds of the garden.

Tasks TO-DO in Your Garden EVERY DAY
Female squash blossoms

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Does the plant need help finding the trellis? Do you need to clip the branch to the trellis to prevent breakage?
  • Are there blossoms that need hand-pollination? (Morning is the best time for hand-pollination.)
  • Do you need to thin new seedlings?
  • Are plants large enough to push the mulch back in place around new seedlings?
Tasks TO-DO in Your Garden EVERY DAY

6. Keep up with harvesting​

Head outside with your harvest basket and enjoy picking your garden’s bounty.

Tasks TO-DO in Your Garden EVERY DAY
  • What needs to be harvested? Do you need to enlist help picking peas, beans, or roselle?
  • Plants’ flavor is best when harvested in the morning.
  • Don’t wait too long to harvest. Pick vegetables when they are young and tender for best flavor.
  • Picking encourages more production in some plants. Leaving ripe fruit and vegetables on the vine often slows production and encourages pests and diseases.
  • Are things close to being ripe and need to be protected from birds, etc.?
Tasks TO-DO in Your Garden EVERY DAY

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Thursday 22nd of June 2023

The eye of the farmer fattens his cattle. Very true. With summer at hand (may it rain!) soon the whole patch(es) will need constant care. Chilacayote squash will climb a fence. Calabacita squash runs and roots in any place it can. The maize has dwarf maize virus, but with some care will overcome that. Chilis and tomatoes are blooming mad :) Kohlrabi went to seed, but is throwing up new branches and each will form a bulb. Grapes are swelling. Papaya are getting tall (mountain variety, which is more cold hardy). And, Saturday, an order from Grug Terra iof live black soldier fly grubs for the compost pile. ! Happy summer!


Friday 11th of February 2022

Do you have a favorite tree that you would recommend? I’m in Queen Creek and I just had a large planter put in and now I’m fretting over what to fill it with. I have a lot of citrus and fruit trees along with several large shade trees along the back fence. Just looking for something that will provide shade and beauty for my garden area.

Angela Judd

Friday 18th of February 2022

I'd be careful putting a tree near your garden beds, the roots will find a way into your planters. The tree may also shade your garden too much.

Jen Liguori

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

I love this list! I wrote down the tasks in my planner to remind me. Thank you! One suggestion is this would be great as a little printable I can pin up in my garden shed, one sheet showing your great list.

Angela Judd

Wednesday 5th of January 2022

Great idea! Thanks