You know how excited you feel once spring arrives and you get to go outside and play in the garden? And the joy you feel watching those first plant sprouts pop through the ground and eventually bursting into bloom? There’s nothing more motivating than that. But how do you keep that same motivation going from start to finish?
A Motivation to Garden
I spend nearly every chance I get in the garden during those beautiful spring days, and then summer arrives”¦
At first, it’s all good, that is until the unbearable heat and humidity in my Southeast garden begins to take hold. Oh, and the mosquitoes too. Let’s not forget those buggers! This is when I find my motivation for gardening waning. I mean, who looks forward to sweating like Niagara Falls or being eaten alive by blood-sucking insects. Yet, the garden needs us. We have weeds to pull, plants to water, and fruit to harvest. And, as they say, “the show must go on.”
So how do the folks at Gardening Know How remain motivated all season?
How to Maintain Motivation from Start to Finish
- Focus on the rewards. Laura says it’s the rewards that keep her motivated. “My goal is to have vegetables ready to harvest from spring until late fall. It starts with tender asparagus stalks in April and ends with digging potatoes in October. My next goal is to try growing hydroponic veggies in the winter.”
- Watch things grow (and eat them later). Bonnie can’t wait for spring and usually finds plenty to do to get a jump-start in winter, even if it is just reorganizing the planting shed or sharpening tools. The rest of the year, she says, “is such a pleasure watching things grow and eating what grows that being motivated is never an issue.”
- Garden for mental health. Tyler finds gardening to be an important tool for mental health and relaxation. “Gardening is my time to focus and think clearly, no matter how short the visit. I find it quite easy to remain motivated when the act of gardening itself is what motivates me!”
- Remember it has to be done. Becca, like me, knows it’s just one of those things you have to do, “especially the watering during dry spells and heat waves, if you want good end results.”
- Summer doesn’t last forever. In a zone 4 garden, where former GKH expert Stacey resides, she says “the growing season is very short, maybe 4 months from the first seed or plant put into the soil to the last fall pruning. When summer comes to an end and it is messy and near done, cleanup is always bittersweet. Motivation, for me, is that it will be winter again soon!
- Stock the fridge with veggies. Liz points out that in the hottest part of summer, it can be tough. “I stay motivated by keeping the refrigerator stocked with fresh veggies Even if I can’t muster the will to do maintenance, I can always pick tomatoes.”
- Perennials are a lifesaver. Maintaining motivation for gardening? “That’s easy,” says Amy. “During the growing season, things are always changing, which is why I love perennials. As one thing blooms and fades, yet another is blossoming. My garden is an ever-changing landscape and it never gets boring. The only thing that gets boring for me is mowing the lawn!”
- Take time for yourself. Heather makes it part of her daily routine to remain motivated. “I try not to overdo it early in the season. I set aside a half hour every day to garden to make sure I get out there regularly. It can be easy as summer gets busy with work and the kids to forget to take some time for yourself. Making sure I set aside time to work in the garden means that I will be out there all through the season.”
- Enjoy the end result. “It’s the end result really,” adds Mary Ellen. “I don’t always enjoy the work, but knowing that it will look better and be an outdoor space I can enjoy motivates me.”
Most of us have no problem with having a motivation to garden. It’s keeping up with that motivation for gardening from start to finish that can be a struggle, especially with me. Like my coworkers here at Gardening Know How, it’s a love for growing plants, the final stages of reaping the harvest, and being out in nature that drives me to press on even during those horrid days of summer heat – after all, the garden needs us and we need to garden.