Summer-especially late summer-is best spent enjoying the garden rather than working in it. The days are hot, the insects are out, and the sun is intense. Despite these inconveniences, garden chores still need to be done. Here are some time-saving strategies to try. Garden in short bursts. Instead of spending an entire afternoon once every couple of weeks doing your gardening chores, spend 5 minutes in the garden each morning or evening. You'll spot weeds while they're still young and easy to pull. If you deadhead daily, you'll keep many of your perennials blooming longer and keep your garden attractive by removing faded flowers.
Mulch. If you haven't already done so, lay a couple of inches of mulch over the soil in your garden. Mulching saves you time, because it cuts down on weeds and helps the soil conserve moisture so you can water less. Nearly any mulch material will do, but mulches made of organic matter (such as compost, peat moss, straw, or shredded bark) will enrich the soil as they decompose. Select the right plants. If your area's summers are especially hot or dry, stock your garden with plants that handle these conditions with ease. Species that are native to your region are especially good choices. Stop fertilizing. Fertilizer encourages new, lush growth in your plants when they should be winding down and getting ready for autumn. Plus, this lush growth requires more moisture and is more susceptible to disease and insect problems.