The Pajama Gardener

morning in the garden by liz morrowI am a morning person. It is no surprise to me that I do my gardening first thing in the morning, but it may be surprising to others that I do it in my pajamas. Pajamas are comfortable. They do not get in the way of bending, stretching or reaching. They allow the contortions I put myself through to avoid stepping in garden beds lest I compact the soil.

I start my pajama-clad gardening by taking kitchen scraps and coffee grounds to the compost tumbler, or by watering flowerpots, or by checking on recently planted seeds. Like many gardeners, I can easily get distracted in the garden. This is fine when I do not have to be anywhere anytime soon.

For gardeners with a tighter schedule, here are five quick garden tasks to do before you start your day to maintain a beautiful garden on a busy lifestyle. They go together hand in hand and follow a theme. Gardening is considered exercise by some (by my chiropractor, anyway—I am to stretch before I garden), and exercise is a sport, right? What is good in sports? A good offense! This also applies in the garden. A good offense is necessary to maintain a beautiful garden.

So, grab your morning beverage, and head outside to begin your good offense. It starts with a walk to enjoy the garden and to survey what is happening in the yard. While you are walking:

  1. Check your plants to ensure they are getting the right amount of water and that your irrigation system is working as expected.
  2. Examine plants for pest insects. For example, check zucchini plant leaves for hideous squash bugs. If you are not sure if an insect is a pest or a beneficial, check with your local Cooperative Extension office.
  3. Look at your soil. Is it a dark rich brown? Does it smell? I turn my compost tumbler and sometimes feed my red wiggler worms. The promise of worm castings or rich dark compost as an amendment to my beds is exciting.
  4. Remove any debris, broken limbs, branches or stems. I will even pluck a weed or two while I am at it.
  5. Ensure that tomato cages, walls of water and plant stakes are in their proper position to support your plants.

This routine enables me to accomplish several garden tasks in a relatively short time and gets me on with my day. If I happen to have a little extra time in the morning, you will find me in my garden. Perhaps I will be wearing a gardening hat, since I was not planning on being out there long enough to bother with sunscreen. But, I will more than likely be in my pajamas, garden clogs and gloves.

One final pointer—don’t wear the dirty pajamas you’ve been gardening in to bed.

Liz Morrow is a Certified Master Gardener Volunteer with University of Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening and landscaping in Nevada, contact a Master Gardener at or 775-336-0265.