Tips for Gardening During Quarantine
By Danica Dodson, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on June 04, 2020, June 04, 2020

Garden weeds

Being stuck at home for months has been challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally. For many who love to go out and about, it has been hard to not have access to the same resources and opportunities we once did. This can be said in regards to caring for your yard and garden as well, as you may feel hesitant to venture out to purchase supplies, tools, and plants. Fortunately, there are still many ways you can spruce up your garden and maintain a beautiful collection of plants even during these trying times. APRD’s Urban Forestry Land Manager, Wendy Pappas, offers these tips for keeping your garden in shape while enjoying the outdoors during quarantine.

Weed Your Garden

Pulling weeds may not be the most glamorous chore, but this task is inevitable for all gardeners, so you might as well take advantage of this time and eliminate those pesky weeds that bring down the overall quality of your garden. On the plus side, pulling weeds can give you a mental break, and it also shows you immediate results so you can appreciate your hard work, unlike other aspects of gardening that take much time and patience. Using gloves, you can either pull up weeds by hand or use a weeding tool for the more stubborn weeds.

Assess Your Landscape

You may notice that your landscape has changed over time – this is perfectly natural. Perhaps you have more shade now than you did several years ago due to tree growth, or maybe your plants are growing in areas that are no longer suited for their optimal growth. You can take this time to assess the conditions of your landscape and see if you need to rearrange your layout or move plants around.

Divide Your Plants
One way to add visual volume to your garden is to divide your plants into smaller clusters and spread them out. Many flowering plants and bulbs can be divided this way, including iris, black-eyed susan, bee balm, daffodils, daylilies, and countless others. When dividing, make sure you include a lot of green growth with whole bulbs or root systems for each cluster you divide.

Clean and Organize

Just like pulling weeds, this task may not sound very fun, but it is one of the most important steps you can take for your garden. At the end of each gardening session, it’s a good idea to clean each tool you used, and then give all of your tools a more thorough cleaning at the end of the season. Remove all dirt and sap from your tools using bleach and a wire brush to scrub off the residue. If you do not properly clean your tools, you risk spreading disease, or the tools can develop rust. 

 You can also take this time to sharpen your pruners and organize your tool collection so they are easy to find next time you reach for a certain tool. You may even find some tools you forgot about!

Mulch Your Garden Beds

 Now is a great time to mulch all of your gardening areas. Mulch provides many benefits, including keeping weeds under control, maintaining soil moisture, and adding organic matter back into the soil as it breaks down. Plus, mulch adds visual appeal to your garden and keeps your landscape beds looking nice and clean.

 Given the current circumstances, many gardeners don’t want to venture out to the stores to shop for mulch. Thankfully, gardening centers along with larger retailers are now offering deliveries right to your home. All you have to do is order the mulch online, and some sellers are even offering same-day delivery. If you have a large garden, you may even want to consider ordering your mulch in bulk. 

Plan for the Future

 It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to do for your garden in seasons to come! Start by assessing your yard and noting features like the amount of sun and shade you have, and how the time of day influences these. Take note of areas where you already have plants – would you rather add more here or start from scratch? Write all of this information down, and then begin shopping for the plants you’d like to introduce to your garden. You can sketch a design on paper for what you want your areas to look like so you know exactly what you need when you go shopping. If you still don’t want to shop in person, many plants can be ordered online and delivered to your home.

 We hope these tips help you maintain a beautiful garden without leaving your house. Spending time outdoors doing your favorite activities is now more important than ever, and we encourage you to spend some time appreciating what you’ve grown, whether you’re a beginning gardener or a seasoned pro!

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