Are you looking for a daily garden maintenance checklist so that you don’t forget anything? Then you’ve come to the right place.
I have a free PDF that you can download below, along with some things to keep in mind for each task.
So, how do you maintain a garden? To maintain a garden, plan on going through these tasks daily:
- Cleanup debris
- Check for weeds
- Add to compost pile
- Check for pests
- Check for diseases
- Check soil moisture
- Additional Tasks (such as pruning, trimming, etc.)
Of course, you may want to customize your list for your own yard. You might also need weekly, monthly, or seasonal checklists as well.
For now though, we’ll just outline a daily garden maintenance checklist.
Let’s get started.
Daily Garden Maintenance Checklist
It can be overwhelming to try to remember everything that you need to do for garden maintenance. However, you can bring some order to your process with a checklist to keep track of everything.
In addition, a checklist also makes it easier to split the work among family members. You can also use a checklist as a job specification for a hired gardener or landscaping company.
You can download a free printable PDF daily garden maintenance checklist on this page. There is some blank space for additional gardening tasks that may be specific to your yard.
Let’s start at the beginning with yard cleanup.
Before you do anything else, you will need to cleanup any debris in the yard and garden. This debris includes:
- Fallen branches
- Pine cones
- Dead plants
- Fruits and vegetables
Branches, leaves, and pine cones can fall any time, but they are more likely to be a problem right after strong winds or a thunderstorm.
Dead plants due to pests, diseases, and other problems can popup at any time during the season. However, these are more likely to appear towards the end of the season, when annuals start to encounter hard frosts.
Fruits and vegetables that are not harvested will eventually rot. You may also see some fruits and vegetables damaged by pests that take one bite and leave the rest.
For the most part, you can put leaves, plants, fruits, and vegetables in your compost pile. The only exception a plant died due to disease, which could live in your compost pile for some time.
Check for Weeds
Some weeds are large and obvious, especially if you haven’t pulled them in some time. Others are small and hard to see, since they hide under established plants.
Still others are sneaky, since they look just like the plants they are growing next to. In all cases, you want to get rid of weeds before they steal water and nutrients from the plants you want to grow!
One option is to cover any weeds with mulch. This will smother existing weeds with heat or a lack of light and air.
A layer of mulch will also prevent new weeds from growing. Just remember that you can hurt your plants with too much mulch.
Another option is to simply pull up any weeds you find. Leave them out in the sun with their roots exposed so that they cannot establish themselves elsewhere.
If weeds have already produced seeds, then you might want to avoid putting them in your compost pile. The seeds of these weeds might be able to survive over the winter and come back in the spring.
If you spread compost with seeds of weeds in your garden, you might regret it later!
Add to Compost Pile
After cleaning up leaves, dead plants, fruits, and vegetables from your yard, you can add this material to your compost pile.
You can also add other common yard waste, such as:
- grass clippings from your lawn (see my article on how to compost grass)
- sawdust (see my article on how to compost sawdust)
- wood ash (as long as the burned wood was not pressure treated)
You can even add kitchen scraps to your compost pile, including:
- banana peels
- orange rinds
- coffee grounds
Make sure to turn your compost pile every week or two. This ensures proper aeration and encourages the bacteria in the pile to work their magic to turn the yard and kitchen waste into compost.
Check for Pests
If you check for pests daily, then you can stay ahead of them before they get out of hand.
Some insect pests or their eggs will show up on stems, flowers, fruit, or on the tops and bottoms of leaves. Other insects will go after the roots of your plants.
Still others, such as cutworms, will chew their way through the stem and keep going (you can prevent this with a cutworm collar). You can learn more about how to prevent cutworm damage in my article here.
If you notice insect pests on your plants, you can use pest control if there are not too many of them. If the infestation on a plant is bad enough, you may want to cut your losses and remove the plant.
This will prevent the pests from spreading to other nearby plants in your garden.
Animals pests can also give you trouble in the garden. If you notice damage from chipmunks, mice, voles, or moles, then try to find out where they are getting in.
If you can seal off any easy entrances to your garden, there is a chance that animal pests will move on to greener pastures. You could also try some homemade repellents, or practice companion planting to deter some animal pests from your garden.
Check for Diseases
If you see wilting or spots on your plants, then a disease may be present. (The problem could also be due to a nutrient deficiency, in which case fertilizer may be necessary – get a soil test to find out for sure).
To be safe, you can do one of the following with a diseased plant:
- Quarantine – separate it from other plants. You can cover the plant with a cloche if it is still small enough. You can learn about cloches in my article here.
- Remove and Destroy – this will prevent the spread of disease to other plants in your garden. Destroying the plant instead of composting it will prevent the disease from surviving the winter in your compost pile.
If you have a problem with plant diseases in your garden, try the following:
- Mulch over the soil – this prevents rain from splashing soil onto the leaves of your plants. This stops soil borne diseases from spreading.
- Water early in the day – if you water too late in the day, leaves may stay wet overnight, which can promote mold and other plant problems.
- Clean tools – make sure to clean tools like knives or pruning shears with alcohol between each plant. Otherwise, you could spread a disease to all of the plants of the same kind in your garden.
Check Soil Moisture
You may not need to water daily, especially during the rainy season. However, you should check the soil every day to see if watering is necessary.
All you need to do is use your fingers to feel the soil to a depth of a few inches. If the soil feels dry at that depth, then go ahead and water.
If the soil is too wet, don’t add any water. It is possible to over water your plants – you can learn more about it in my article here.
If you install a drip irrigation system, just make sure to adjust it as necessary so you don’t drown your plants.
Finally, keep the weather forecast in mind, and avoid heavy watering just before a thunderstorm or extended period of rain.
You won’t have any harvesting to do early in the season, but you should keep an eye on your plants. Some fruits and vegetables mature quickly, and you could miss part of the harvest if you ignore them for a few days.
You will get the most out of your garden if you harvest consistently. For example, spinach and peas will keep producing for a longer time if you keep harvesting the pods and leaves.
If you don’t harvest in time, some vegetables get tough (squash comes to mind), others go to seed and become bitter (such as broccoli), and others start to rot (for instance, peppers).
Harvesting promptly keeps rotten fruit and vegetables out of your garden. This will help you to avoid rats and other creatures that are attracted by unpleasant food smells.
This category is a catchall for anything not mentioned earlier. Some of these tasks may not need to be done daily, but you should check every day to see if they need doing.
This category includes some tasks that are specific to certain plants. For example:
- Hilling for potatoes – in order to avoid green potatoes (which can make you sick!), you should pile up soil around the base of potato plants as they grow. You can learn more about hilling potatoes in my article here.
- Pruning for tomatoes – some gardeners like to prune some of the suckers off of their tomato plants. I would not recommend this for determinate varieties, but it can help to make indeterminate varieties more manageable. You can learn more about tomato suckers in my article here.
- Trimming – keep an eye out for any hedges, vines, or other plants that need to be cut back. It can be hard to prune them if the vines get too thick.
- Fertilizing – if any plants exhibit signs of nutrient deficiencies, get a soil test to be sure before adding fertilizer. You can learn more about how to do a soil test in my article here.
- Lawn mowing – this could probably be done weekly, but the lawn may grow faster during the rainy season, especially if you fertilize it.
Now you have an idea of what garden maintenance tasks you’ll need to do so you can keep your garden neat and productive. You also have a printable PDF garden maintenance checklist, which you can download it here.
I hope you found this article helpful. If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.