In the Garden: Harvesting tips from fellow gardeners

Recently, I was reflecting on how much of the gardening knowledge I have gained over the years has come from other gardeners. With that in mind, I asked my Facebook followers to share their tips for success. I was rewarded with an abundance of great ideas that I’d like to pass along.

I’m a list-maker but Marjorie in Maine has a great method for whittling away at projects: “I write a to-do list for the garden and date it. Every day, I reread the list, go to the garden and do at least two things from the list to scratch off, even though I may do many other things.”

Sandra Rech from Indiana has gardening down to a science. “I measured our garden, figured out how many feet between rows and how many feet between plants. Then I made a chart of our garden, with little boxes to represent rows and the space needed for each plant. The chart is saved on my computer, so I can review the previous year’s garden, plan the current year’s garden, rotate crops, etc. If we want to try something new, we have to figure out where to put it on the chart.”

Kimberley Seitz of Coeur d’Alene knows the value of keeping notes. “I keep a garden journal, which includes the basic information of what I planted this year, the timelines, and outcomes as well as any variables such as weather, insects, etc. I also keep a running list of items I want to plant next year. When planning my garden, I start with that list and know exactly how many of each type I want, or if there are new plants, where I want to put them. I also created a yearlong calendar that shows all my gardening chores by month and put them in my Google calendar with reminders. Since they are annual events, I don’t have to take time repeating the list of them next year and I will get reminded.”

A few folks mentioned the types of containers they use for lugging supplies around the garden. “I use an old metal, upright shopping cart that I got at a flea market to roll around my potting soil or whatever else I might need in the garden,” shared Vickie Graves Jones in Arkansas.

“I use a folding wagon as my garden cart,” Christine Piper from Chicago said. “I can fit two tubs for debris and tools, or haul plants, bags of soil, tubs of mulch, etc., then easily store it for the next job.”

As Frankie Ayer Harbuck of South Carolina, posted, “I carry most of my tools in a small bucket as I walk through the garden. If I clip or dig a weed, I have the bucket to put the clippings in.”

Rural gardener Mary Wells shared the following: “I ditched wheelbarrows and wagons for a farm sled. There aren’t any tires to go flat, it works in snow for firewood and I can attach it to a riding mower if the load is too heavy.”

Karen Whitehead, who gardens in Greenacres, is always ready as soon as she heads outside. “I keep my clippers in a holster right at my back door,” she explained. “When I leave the house, my clippers are clipped on my jeans and always ready for deadheading and clean up.”

Isn’t it fun to learn useful tips from others?

Susan Mulvihill is author of “The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook” and “The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook.” She can be reached at [email protected]. Watch this week’s video at

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