Easy garden clean up tips for ‘women’

Everyone loves a beautiful garden! And I can’t wait to show you mine!

Beautiful irises shine with vibrant purples, brightening up green lush backgrounds!

Too bad this isn’t lush YET. Nice soil though, right?!? And weeds. Let’s try again.


Come hither, down this meandering pathway, into a whimsical secret garden…

…which I call the compost pile. Truth be told, the first pic does show self seeding perennials that give out glorious bloom late summer. But not in the best of settings. Yet.

One more. But I think by now you know I’m pulling your leg with a great (cough) ‘garden.’


A lovely array of wild flowers amongst crisp greens, adorn this sweet vintage mailbox I myself painted as a child.

Are you ready for this? Hold your breath. You will be in absolute AWE.

Ah yes, here we go. THIS is my vegetable garden. 

(I have other nicer areas but this one needed a garden ambulance!)

Rating: FAIL

My friends, there’s a reason I haven’t spotlighted my garden yet. While many of you have wonderful lush backdrops with glorious colour blooming everywhere you look, I have buttercups and overgrown carrots from last year.


I kid you not. These are carrots that were late bloomers last fall and I just ‘left them in’ thinking they’d die. They didn’t. The carrot tops turned into a HEDGE. With carrots about an inch long. Not good.

As you can see, it’s clean up time in these parts. And since I’m in the thick of it, I thought I’d show you a few things that help me get it the way it ought to be.

Bear in mind, I don’t have muscle help, so everything I show you is geared for girl power.

 Dual wheelbarrows.

These guys travel with me everywhere I go on gardening day. And they both have an important purpose.


One wheelbarrow is strictly for tools,

and the other is for weeds.

I use to combine the works in one wheelbarrow but I kept buring my tools with weeds. This works MUCH better!

Use buckets

I always throw the weeds in buckets so they are easy to pick up and toss into the compost. And this way, you can take your bucket deep into a flowerbed and not have to pick up after yourself.

Shallow wheelbarrow for the weeds.

The shallow lower wheelbarrow makes carting away weeds a breeze. You don’t have to lift a heavy bucket high up in the air to clear it.

Easy access for your stuff


I store this cute old relic right outside against my character building. It’s part of the overall display, as well as being super accessible. I don’t need a lock and key, garage door opener, have to move the lawn mower first, or empty it. It’s ready to go. This little ‘display’ makes me smile for all of the reasons above! So if I’m on the fly and I want to quickly throw a few weeds somewhere without getting ALL the gear out, I can. I don’t care if it rusts in the rain. I prefer it all rusty one day! :)

I plan to hang a few hand tools on the sides of the building too. Nothing like true grab and go!

(Building needs some prettying up! Coming soon!)

Weed trimmers meant for women

Once upon a time I relied on another to do this task. But on the days I wished to do it, the heavy duty variety had you feeling like you were jack hammering rather than trimming grass. And your hands and arms buzzed for days afterwards. Those days are long gone. I purchased a little weed eater that was made for women.

It’s got a shorter shaft as we generally aren’t as tall. It’s VERY light, not even requiring a shoulder strap. And the best part, no jittery feeling when you use it. I’ve had mine for 5 years now and I’m due for a new one next season. That’s a long life for a little one like this. They are affordable, lightweight and the best part is, you can do it yourself! This one does need the oil/gas mix, but premix it in a little gas tank and it’ll last you all season.

A lightweight self propelled lawn mower

For years I threw my back out using a heavyweight grade lawn mower. Even with self propelled, it was meant for muscle.  I ran it until it died and I’ve never been happier picking up a self propelled lightweight lawn mower for just under $200.

Mulch, not bag

Another tip? Ditch the bag and get a mower that mulches. Best thing I EVER did. No more lugging that silly bag around. If you keep up with the grass a couple times a week, you don’t even see the lawn clippings, they mulch that clean.

Just know, we have a summertime pool in the backyard, and I simply fill a little tub with water, placing it at the foot of the ladder and have the kiddos walk through it before entering the pool. The clippings are so minuscule that bare feet do not drag them indoors either. Not bagging your clippings is so much easier on your back, and it’s good for your grass too!

Enlist the young-ins for help

My 11 yr old son now helps with the yard work. I cut around the perimeter of the entire lawn, then he takes over and does the rest, while I weed eat and mess around in the flower beds.When my son was younger, he pulled weeds for me. So there’s something to do for any age group in the garden.

Clip trick

I use to work for a greenhouse and there was a special way we trimmed heather. I did the same trick to this tuft of grass so thought I’d share.

 

If you wish for anything to have a round shape, grab the plant in your fist and hold. Now clip nice and straight across the top, like you’re giving it a dead straight haircut. (not shown)

Simply let go and you’re left with a perfect little circular mound shape each and every time.

Before… (my cat is in shock)

And after! All ready for some fertilizer and seedlings! I generally have salad fixings, tomatoes and potatoes in this little area. It keeps us eating fresh veggies all summer long.

Instead of tomato rings, those things in the garden are wound up stucco wire. My stucco guy was working on my house one day. After he left, I found these around my tomato plants. Tell me that isn’t sweet! I’ve kept them ever since. Chicken wire would do much the same thing.

Now.. you know this post wouldn’t be complete without something abit ‘different’, correct?

When I dream up new inventions for stuff, I prop things in place to ‘think about it.’ And the backyard was no exception. Can you guess what I have in mind below? Or, feel free to…


… caption this!

There. My dog will even smile for you. :)

How’s your garden coming along? Got any tasks you find difficult to do on your own? Any garden cleanup tips to share?

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Categories: Gardening
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  1. Can I please have your shed and all the rustic goodies displayed in your garden beds…please? Your post makes me want to head outside right now even though it’s 2:20 in the morning ~ Great tips! I adore your little tomato cages!

    I just started my outside seasonal ‘clean up’ last week. After 10 yards of mulch I’m ready for a break though. I love when it’s all done and you can sit back, sip a tea, relax and enjoy. Love your yard…your style definitely shines even outside your home! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  2. “Did she seriously put a ladder there? You mean I don’t have to try and jump over the fence?” How creepy would that be if you saw your dog climbing the ladder??
    Your yard looks so nice and I love the mailbox you painted – so cute!

  3. “Seriously..does she want me to trim the tree for food?”

    I Love the headboards in your garden.Stop by and visit me and see what I harvested yesterday.

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  4. Oh that shed is wonderful! And I love the rustic knick-knacks – Beautiful gargen. Love your doggie:
    “This ladder won’t stop me getting over the fence!”
    Can’t wait to see what you have in mind – I’m intrigued!!

  5. I know! I know what it’s for! I’m doing the same thing at my fence gate. I figure it’s the perfect use for all the extra ladders I have. (and my trumpet vine needs somewhere to go)
    I won’t spoil it by saying it outright tho.
    My garden is full of weeds too and I’ll be working on it this weekend. Big plans, BIG!
    Rose

  6. You should at least hold the ladder if you expect your dog to climb it. (insert laughter here)

    I love all of your gardening tools used at decor. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for that ladder!

  7. If you are doing what I THINK you are doing with the ladder than we are doing the same thing… once I get more ladders. Folks around here don’t seem to want to part with much! The clematis are crying for something other than an old dress form (previous owners did it) and since we moved in over the winter I wasn’t ever sure it was alive. Ah, now to start carting the lava rock away… Yep think in all gardens and around the house entirely… Ugh what were they thinking???

    Lovely shed!! :-)

  8. Not a clue what you will do, but I know it will be awesome – and by the smirk on your fur kid’s face it looks like he already knows! Wouldn’t it be great if Spring lasted forever?

  9. “Okay, as soon as she is not looking I am over the fence”!

    Love the garden and all the tips! I would love to only have to mow enough to be able to use a push mower. I feel your pain though, I have been doing this for the last year it seems and the to do list just keeps growing! I keep finding more that needs tending to. Ugh! My best tool is my farty shoes and gloves. I totally freak out if I touch a worm and I have dagger like plants that hide im my flower beds. Takes a pair of welding gloves and a shovel to get them out!

    Your grass is beautiful! Oh how I wish that I had a nice looking lawn like that!

  10. Of course, even your wheel barrel and rake thingy look cute propped up against your barn. Great garden, I have not room for one.

  11. Can’t wait to see what you end up with in the yard and garden. I don’t have a place for a garden, but I bought a few tomatoe plants at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday thinking I would just pot them in containers. Let me tell you, I decided to plant them in the ground at the corner of my deck instead, and when I went to do it, they were laying on the deck -dead! So I guess, a green thumb I am not -or I watied too long to repot them.

    All I wanted was fresh tomotoes.:(

    That garden bed clean up was a lot of work. We had 4 of those at our previous home last year and it was a lot of work trying to keep them clean and weeded and bug free. But we ended up with great veggies.

  12. Ah, that shed is fantastic! Wow you sure have done a ton of work to get this going! Loving your weeping willow and the use of old bed frames as garden decor, so neat!

  13. I love your secret garden compost pile, because I have the same thing going on in one of my gardens. If only I could find a whimsical headboard to make it look pretty, like yours.

    You’re doing a great job out there, I know it’s a LOT of work :)

  14. Your Veggie garden rocks. I like that weed eater. I am the yard man at my house and I like it. I weeded the gardenia beds yesterday and have no complaints as the scent was it’s own reward.

  15. You’re so funny (LOL)! Love the before and after…nice clean up job!! I LOVE your garden shed! I think it looks great just the way it is…all rustic and with some old Coca-Cola signs. Love the wheelbarrel, too…great color…and the iron bed headboards… and…and… You may not have lots of flowers yet, but you sure have a great backdrop to start with! :) ~ Jo

  16. Wow, all that work was exhausting. I think I need to lie down. Love your shed and all your garden areas. Our wheelbarrow gets constant use, too. Something climbing would look great wrapped around that ladder. Just not your dog!

  17. My garden is still in the planning stages. Especially since it was 23 degrees F. last night!!! Yikes!! What spring??
    Your pics are fabulous! Made me smile.
    How about your beans or peas climbing on the ladder?
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  18. Good morning Donna.
    That was a sweet post, and very interesting. Thanks for showing the before and after of your garden box.

    Love your little shed. Looks great just the way it is.

    Have no idea about the ladder, and maybe too tired this morning to think at all. =)

    blessings on your day

    barbara jean

  19. I think THAT’S when I first met you…the shed, the shed…YES!! I’m almost certain it was that sweet shed!!

    Ok.

    Caption: “I’m sensing that something weird is going happen here…real soon”

    Tips:

    GARDEN in the early hours of the morning (my favorite 5am – 7am) before the world wakes up. The solitude and quiet just make for the beginning of a lovely day.

    Or GARDEN in the evening.

    I NEVER do any gardening in the heat of the day. Every time I do I feel very bothered by the sun/heat and regret it. That’s just me, though.

    I don’t have a green thumb YET. So when I get all jazzed about flower/veggies/fruits at the garden center I walk straight towards the “knowing gardener person” who works there and ask….what are the plants that I cannot kill. Surprisingly, there are many. I started there. Then, I also learned that if the care of an entire garden is daunting…many, many plants can be maintained and bear fruit in a pot!!!

    And it really works. From there I went on to a larger piece of the earth.
    It was a great place to start and I still put plants in pots.

    I love your dual wheelbarrows!! Brilliant!!! And your idea of “grab ‘n go”. And having the kiddos help!!! YES!!!! Can’t wait to enlist my boys now. I’ve never had them weed before!

    I’m looking to put some personality onto our kit type shed that EC built.

    Looking forward to getting outside. A LOT!!!

  20. You guys totally crack me up! I posted this to show the ugly side of my garden and you point out all the things you love! You sure know how to raise a brown thumb up to green status in a hurry! :)

    Makes me wish I showed you around abit more now.

    When things are well under way and blooming, I’ll do another update and show you what I consider pretty enough for a real garden post. :)

    Thanks all!

    FJ Donna

  21. Donna!
    Love your gardens… the bed frames are a nice touch.
    I don’t think there is a thing wrong with showing us your dirt! Because what’s inside that dirt is going to be beautiful once it begins to flourish!

    As for the ladder– I’m guessing some sort of trellis. But on a stretch— You could be putting a rusty old mailbox on top to catch all that AIR MAIL-chuckle snort– especially seeing how you’ve recently had computer problems! LOL…

    As for the Dog– He’s thinking your so distracted by the ladder

    And He can attempt to escape through that gate!

    Don’t fall for it! He looks like a runner– you’ll be chasing that dog all afternoon!

  22. Hey, who’s the handsome black and white one?!? I think I should have stopped by earlier when the garden was still a jungle – oh the critters oh-great-black-and-white-one and I could have caught!!!! I noticed he (it is a he right or wrong?) wasn’t around when the garden area was clean and ready to go. Hmmmmm….I think he’s waiting around the corner – nothing better than soft dirt you know MOL aka free fertilizer!

    Ah well, rabid carrots or soft dirt – your garden area is a winner in my book! Thanks for sharing the tip about trimming, I’ll get “her” to do that with my cat grass. Yes, even I like a little style ;)

    Have a great day!

    Romeo and “her”

  23. What a great post. I love all the gardening tips, pictures and especially love that garden shed. The picture of your cat is so cute. It looks like he’s finished with gardening and ready to move on to some serious napping.

  24. I just fell in love with your shed!
    And oh, those bed post! I have been looking for one to creat a flower garden with them, no such luck yet….

    You are a woman after my heart!

    Love your animals, too! :)

  25. That ladder is either your stairway to gardening heaven or to check your airmail? (I’ve seen those mailboxes way up high on a very tall post that say “air mail”) Silly but cute!

    My other guess is a second ladder parallel to it and capped with a twin sized metal headboard…for an arbor????

    Can’t wait for the reveal….

  26. I had to do a double-take on the garden shed. I thought it was a professional magazine photo! I love your taste and would love a tour of the inside of the shed. Thanks for your lovely blog!