Row of onions
Beginner Gardening

How Much Time do I Need to Spend Gardening?

How much time is spent on vegetable gardening is totally dependent upon you. Before starting a garden, decide what amount of time is feasible to you. This post walks through some considerations to think about.

Row of Onions

How Much Time Do You Spend Gardening?

How much time is spent on gardening is totally up to the individual gardener. In my first post for this blog, I briefly touched upon this. Each gardener is different and how much time he/she wants to dedicate will also be different. 

For me, I don’t really spend an exorbitant amount of time in the garden contrary to what many may think. At most, I spend a few hours a week between checking the plants to make sure they’re healthy, pulling weeds, pruning, and generally cleaning up. Before the plants were in the ground though, I was spending more time a week to get everything in order. The main reason for this was because I was starting everything from seed. Starting from seed does require you to think a few months ahead of the actual growing season. A gardener will plan out when they have to sow each plant. My story doesn’t have to necessarily be yours because before I started growing from seed, I wasn’t doing any of that. I just didn’t have as much time since I was studying for my Masters program and working a hectic full-time job.

I’ve put together a list of things to take into consideration before starting a garden.

According to the America Time Use Survey which was compiled from 2019 to 2020, Americans increased their amount of hours spent in the garden and on lawn care from 20 minutes to 27 minutes per day.

How Much Time Can You Spend Gardening?

The very first step is to determine how much time you actually have to dedicate. Evaluate how much time you have per week and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. If you work a full-time or part-time job, are you able to dedicate any time after work? If so, how many hours of time can you dedicate per week? Can you dedicate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour per day? 

At just an hour per day, that’s 7 hours per week. That may seem like a lot less than what you may think. Herbs may be a perfect solution for those that have limited time. They can be grown in small spaces and containers, even on your windowsill.

  1. Will you buy seedlings or start from seed? Starting from seed may require more time to be dedicated per week in the initial start of the garden. Planning out when to plant the seeds is required a few months before the growing season. In contrast, buying seedlings cuts out all of that work. The only thing you’ll have to worry about is when to plant them and where to plant them. There are even some herbs you can plant that grow back the next year, cutting out the planting step entirely.
  1. Depending on the amount of time you can dedicate can help gauge the size of your garden. If you can only dedicate a couple of hours a day, consider planting a smaller garden. If you have more time to dedicate, you may be able to have a larger garden and more plants.

My suggestion to anyone starting out is to start small and work your way up. 

  1. What kinds of plants do you want to grow?

The types of plants you want to grow can help determine the size of garden you’ll need. Some plants grow really big, and others have a small footprint. The appropriate plants for the size of your garden is important. Then again, there’s always vertical gardening for small spaces.

5.    How many plants do you want to grow?

Growing a lot of plants is going to take a bit more of your time in comparison to growing only a few.

Getting Off to a Good Start

Getting off to a good start in the garden can actually reduce the amount of time you need for upkeep. Using good quality soil, compost, and mulch keeps the garden healthy, helps suppress weeds, reduces the likelihood of pests, helps the overall health of plants, and other perks. By creating a strong foundation to get your garden started, you’re getting the bulk of the work out of the way. Prepping the garden can be done in small increments in the time that you have. While the prepping may seem like a lot of work, the care that you take before the growing season has its rewards during the growing season. It reduces the time in upkeep later on. 

All Garden Require Care

There are no gardens that are completely hands off when growing your own food. Even gardens that are well prepped and take all the measures to keep maintenance low will have some sort of care required.

What Can Gardening Look Like on Any Given Day

In case you’re wondering about what caring for a garden looks like, I’ve put together another list to give you an idea of the tasks you may encounter.

  • Putting down soil, compost, mulch, and fertilizers
  • Pruning plants to keep them in optimal health and have proper air flow.
  • Weeding (my least favorite chore)
  • Watering
  • Inspecting plants for disease and pests
  • Planting seedlings or direct sowing seeds
  • Training vines to go up trellises
  • Checking for critter intrusion and putting up barriers to deter them
  • Harvesting (after all the hard work, this is the best part!)

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