By: Serge Guenette

5 gardening chores to tackle


Gardening is a great active pastime to boost overall mood and reduce stress — something we’ve all needed throughout the pandemic. What with being quarantined in our homes for the last few months, it has helped to embrace our own outdoor spaces and backyards, giving us some time to finally put in the work to create a new garden space (or spruce up an old one).

But over time, and with added opportunities to safely leave our homes and slowly return to our regular routines, we may start to neglect the simple garden chores that keep our flowers and plants flourishing as much as they were when we first paid so much attention to them.

With that in mind, here are five gardening chores to tackle to keep your garden fresh and healthy throughout the summer months.

  1. Watering: Although this may seem like an easy task, it’s one of the hardest to keep on top of — especially in the hot, dry weather we’ve having in Ottawa this summer. The soil will dry out quicker in containers and garden beds, so make sure to keep a close eye on your flowers to ensure they aren’t beginning to wilt. An easy way to check if your container plants need water is by placing your finger in the soil up to your knuckle — if it’s dry at your fingertip, it needs to be watered.

  2. Weeding: Staying on top of the weeds as they begin to grow around your other plants can help with the overall aesthetic of your garden and minimize the demand on both soil nutrients and moisture. Weeds tend to grow faster than the flowers planted, so make sure to pick them before they multiply and take away from the vibrancy of your flowers.

  3. Deadheading: If you start to notice that some of your flowers are beginning to fade in colour or that certain plants are needing more room to grow, it may be time to start deadheading some of the flowers. The best method to use is to pinch off the faded blooms by using your finger and thumb at the stalk. Some plants may have tougher stems, so using a pair of scissors or hand pruners can also get the job done.

  4. Feeding: Just like us, plants need to be fed to get the nutrients they need. Feeding our gardens with a water-soluble plant food can help them to increase their energy and allow them to produce new flowers all summer long. Head to your local gardening centre to grab a fertilizer that is right for your plants.

  5. Support leaning plants: For any plants that have grown much taller than when they were first planted, it is always good to provide support for them to continue to grow and prevent them from falling over (hello peonies). Using poles, open cages or rings found at your local garden centre can help support your plants and give them an object to grow around.

If you enjoyed creating a garden this summer and are looking for more inspiration for the next gardening season, check out Canadian Living’s gardening category for how-to’s, inspiration, tips and tricks, and more.