How Much Time Does It Take to Maintain a Garden?

Jerome Powell

Illustration for article titled Do These Gardening Tasks Based on How Much Time You Have

Photo: Joshua Resnick (Shutterstock)

According to the 2019 American Time Use Survey, people are spending anywhere from one and a half to two and a half hours in their gardens. Unfortunately, no matter what your plans are for the day, the weeds will keep growing and flowers still need watering. So how do you regularly tend to your garden and make time for the rest of your life?

Plants aren’t waiting on you to squeeze them into your schedule, so here are some gardening activities you can finish in a time crunch.

If you only have five minutes, do five-minute gardening projects

Five minutes gives you just enough time to complete the basics, like watering, planting, pest control, or cleaning. Garden enthusiast Laetitia Maklouf created a useful five-minute gardening method that lets you get more done in your garden over time with only five minutes every day.

Monday you might spruce up your garden, like pulling some weeds, debugging, and cleaning as much as you can in five minutes; then, the next day, pruning. You gradually get done what you would have in one and a half hours, but across a week or two.

If you only have ten minutes, do ten-minute gardening projects

If you have another five minutes to spare, you can take your speedy gardening to the next level with some ten-minute projects.


Adding mulch to your garden is a practical way to make your garden more self-sustainable. Mulch helps plants retain moisture and prevent weed germination and growth. Horticulture expert Joe Lamp’l strongly urges gardeners only to use mulch made of natural materials though, so they can degrade with the soil and not pollute. Good Housekeeping suggests spreading a 5cm layer of mulch, leaving space around the stem and trunk of plants for easy access for water to the roots.

Garden staking

Some plants like Loofahs live on vines, meaning they need a strong structure to climb as they grow. Good Housekeeping suggests taking ten minutes to bend and form metal wire to stake your plants. Staking provides plants with a sturdy footing to outlast hard winds and other extreme weather conditions.

If you have 30 minutes, do 30-minute gardening projects

Half an hour is just enough time to get a larger gardening project done without feeling rushed. Those projects can include:


Before planting, you will want to create an environment where your plants can thrive. Broadcast fertilizing is the best method for a 30-minute project and the least likely to cause issues during the planting process. Broadcasting involves spreading the fertilizer evenly across the desired area and mixed with the soil three to four inches deep. It doesn’t all need to be done at once, really, so you can set a timer to do as much as you can in half an hour and leave the rest for the next day.


Tilling is best done after fertilizing the soil for planting. The best time to till your land is the spring season as soon as the soil becomes dry. Since tilling requires specific timing, you’ll need to plan your 30-minute gardening session based on the weather.

Because you only have thirty minutes, plan to do a small area of your garden and have the right tools ready. Start in one area and work the soil in rows. Take your time so you don’t overwork the soil. And if you’ve sectioned off a small enough area, you can likely complete tilling your garden within half an hour, no problem.


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