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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In the Garden: More time-saving tips for fellow gardeners

Susan Mulvihill stores frequently used hand tools in a mailbox in her vegetable garden. This saves her from having to run to the garage to grab something she has forgotten.  (SUSAN MULVIHILL/FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Susan Mulvihill stores frequently used hand tools in a mailbox in her vegetable garden. This saves her from having to run to the garage to grab something she has forgotten. (SUSAN MULVIHILL/FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Susan Mulvihill For The Spokesman-Review

Last week, I shared some wonderful gardening tips from my Facebook followers. I ran out of room before I ran out of tips so here is the second installment.

Two Spokane gardeners have saved themselves time and effort with their watering systems.

As Andy Smith says, “I know of no better time-saver than my timed drip irrigation. It is tapped into my existing lawn sprinklers and I added a modern timer along with drip heads for each bed. It’s so essential for my wife and me as we both work.”

Cathi Lamoreux even ran a water line over to her potting bench and attached a hose to it. “This works so well when I am potting up plants and for watering all of the plants that I’m storing for the spring Master Gardener plant sale.”

Do you forget where you want to plant things? Deb Brown from Wisconsin solved that problem. “I use the empty containers I’ve saved from perennials in the spring to mark spots in my garden where I want to plant fall bulbs. I dig up the dirt and put it inside the empty container and then I put the container back in the hole. In the fall, the hole is ready to go for bulbs. I find it’s a great timesaver since I can never remember where the spots are that need to be filled in the fall.”

Nan Rawlins in Ohio employs this timesaver in her garden. “I hang rolls of soft garden twist ties on a trellis along with a pair of kiddie scissors. When I need to tie up a tomato plant, squash or bean vine to a trellis or support, which is quite often as my raised bed garden is 50 percent vertical garden, the ties are handy and ready to use. No hunting, no fuss.”

Robin Lawson from California keeps plant covers close at hand. “I keep a stack of little green strawberry baskets around to cover newly germinated seedlings to protect them from birds. I also keep a length of shade cloth handy to bunch up and cover newly sown seeds to keep them from drying out too quickly.”

Three gardeners shared their tips for keeping those annoying weeds under control:

Kathleen Callum of Spokane knows the benefit of placing mulch around her plants and on pathways. “It saves time spent on weeding.”

Paul Gentry from Utah doesn’t let weeds get ahead of him. “I water the vegetable garden by hand. If I notice a weed, I pull it. I hardly ever need to do additional weeding.”

“My paths between our raised beds are stone dust,” Susan Dumais said. “I use a scuffle hoe about once a week to weed. Takes minutes!”

Stacie Butikofer of Idaho Falls knows how to breeze through mass planting jobs. “When planting flats of annuals, I pull out my bulb planter. It makes quick work of a big job.”

Lisa Houser of Spirit Lake likes to keep things simple. “Handle things only once. Take a bucket or bin with you to toss weeds, plant material or soil directly into, rather than making small piles on the ground to pick up later. Leave an empty bucket by the garden gate: you know you’re going to need it!”

I think longtime Spokane gardener Penny Simonson wins the prize for the best tip of all: “Hire help.”

Gee, why didn’t I think of that?

Susan Mulvihill is author of “The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook” and “The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook.” She can be reached at Watch this week’s video at

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