Gardening at night: make the most of your time with a nocturnal workplan

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After moving into a house last fall, I was most excited about taking over the garden. This spring, I quickly learned that after blogging, reading all of the Internet, organizing events for artists, making my own art, and, you know, doing other junk around the house… I don’t have a ton of time to garden. At least in the daylight hours. If it’s light outside and I’ve finished all my indoors/schedule-dependent tasks, other stuff comes first: mowing the lawn. Cleaning out the garage. Important repairs.

And then I saw Susie Bauer’s post on Rock Scissor Paper, in which she shares her own revelation: after her husband surprises her by framing out a vertical garden panel she’d bought, she’s afraid she won’t have time to plant in it.

My first thought was that I’d try to fill this frame up with plants during the busy weekend, and then I said to myself “Why not do it right now?” The answer to myself was a resounding “YES!” It was a beautiful night, so why postpone doing something I’ve been wanting to do for so long. We have twinkle lights strung up over our patio table and Will came out and clamped a few spotlights from the workshop out there, too. This transformed our patio into a beautiful, magical, gardening stage of sorts. Just look…

On the same afternoon, I found kledu’s night gardening snap.

4.20.10 Night Gardening

And then I thought, of course. I have lights outside! I can save the gardening for the end of the day! And so now, many nights I do my watering and sometimes even a little weeding.

Okay, so not as pretty as the first two, but it’s pleasant and quiet and I can get my work done.

Though I’ve heard of night gardens before, I’m only now seeing flickers of mentions about gardening at night. Maybe it’s a product of, you know, busy modern life and all that. Or maybe the internet age is just growing up and starting to garden, and we all stay up too late.

Comments on Gardening at night: make the most of your time with a nocturnal workplan

  1. Just be a little careful with the night watering if you live in a humid/hot state. I created mold on a few of my plants (one so bad it destroyed the plant) by consistently watering at night… Watering in the morning allows excess water that gets on the leaves to evaporate in the sun and heat of the day. Some plants will be fine with the night watering – a few might really not do well with it.

  2. I actually plant all of my plants in the late afternoon and early evening to help prevent heat damage to the young seedlings upon initial transplant. Unlike RC’s experience, I prefer watering in the summer just before sundown (and our average temp here is 98 degrees in the summer), as well as in the morning for container gardening. The amount of heat here causes very quick evaporation of the container soil, even if you’re using the fancier moisture retention varieties, thus twice a day watering is needed to prevent wilting and dehydration damage.

    • The plants that went moldy were established plants in the ground, not new plants and not in containers. So some circumstances/plants might do better for night watering…

  3. I’m so glad I’m not the only busy person who had enjoyed playing with plants at night. I ended up planting all of my herb and vegetable seeds on the night of the spring equinox after a busy day at work. Our flashnight was out of batteries, so I ended up doing it by candlelight. Yeah it was a bit silly and I dripped candle wax on the planters, but I really enjoyed it and the plants are doing ok!

    • Ha! Yes!

      Although Michael Stipe said the song was actually inspired by nocturnal public urination as opposed to actually cultivating plants after dusk. πŸ˜›

      Personally, I prefer the ‘sans urine’ application. πŸ˜‰

  4. We are super busy but I think this statement is a better assesment (at least for the younger generations):
    Or maybe the internet age is just growing up and starting to garden, and we all stay up too late.

    Gotta admit I didn’t think you could garden at night—but how perfect!?!? No pesky neighbors or crazy kids to run through the mud…i needs me a house now πŸ˜‰

  5. Since it’s better to water in the morning (and out here in NM a lot of places will actually have a designated time for watering for drought conservation) I would HIGHLY advise getting soaker hoses hooked up to timers, they aren’t that pricey (think like $35 for a fabric soaker hose from Walmart and basic timer) plus you’ll conserve tons, keep it consistent and if you’re feeling REALLY ambitious, set up a grey water system (using slightly dirty water from like showers, pasta water, and such)

  6. Watering at night gives bad bugs a chance to make home in your soil because it stays moist for hours. Be careful of gnats, snails and slugs. The latter which are most active at night. The best time to water is between 3 and 6 am., so your plants have enough time to absorb water into their roots before taking on the heat of the sun. Look into drip irrigation systems to save time watering and having less chances of bad bugs making a home in your soil.

  7. Helol my fellow garden people. I’m a 17 year old kid who lives in a tiny town . Our community is a bit broken when it comes to sharing and caring. I myself and 2 of my very close friends have decided to start gardening in empty lots around our city for our community to come and grab it for free and to be able to use the food to feed there familys. What do you all think?.

    • It’s a wonderful idea. We call it ‘Gorilla Gardening’ in the UK. Best of luck to you my love x

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