It seemed like an innocent enough question… simple really.  “How much time will I have to spend every day taking care of my new garden?”  While I have presented thousands of new garden designs to clients over the years this was the first time anyone had asked me how much time they would need to spend daily in the garden.  I had never really thought of gardening as a daily task even though there are very few days I don’t spend a portion of my time “playing” in the yard.  For most, yard work would be done in chunks; an hour to cut the grass, 3 hours of mulching, weeding here and there.  But if you added it all up and divided by the days of the year how many hours per day would that be?  For my client, I would guess it would be somewhere around 3 minutes but for me maybe 10?   

So I got to thinking if I needed to set aside 10 minutes a day for gardening, how would that fit in with all the other things I need to do?  Well, if we are really going down this road, first we need to cover the essentials; they say you need 8 hours of sleep a day but we all know that isn’t happening so let’s say 7.  There has to be a ½ hour per day of personal hygiene; shower, shave, brush teeth, bathroom breaks, dressing and other assorted fluffing.  Eating and drinking takes time.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  It isn’t healthy to eat on the run and we all know that a family isn’t quite right unless they sit at the dining room table to eat a meal together.  Add in meal preparation and you easily take up 3 hours of time each day providing ourselves with sustenance.   

Somewhere along the line we need to cover our overhead so we need to figure some work time in our day.  Whether you are running a company, driving an Uber car, or taking care of the family home you need time to take care of business.  This amount of time will vary greatly of course, but few that I know get it all done in an 8 hour work day.  Figuring in transportation time I would say that 10 hours would be a conservative number to devote to a daily work allowance.   

So we sleep, we eat, we work, we poop and we work in the garden… but there is so much more life to live!  We all need to have fun!  Watch movies, play cards, talk with friends, play video games… you need to do whatever makes you happy or… you’re not.  So how much time a day do we allow for fun?  The American Bureau of labor statistics says that Americans spend an average of 4.5 hours per day watching TV.  You have to figure at least another 15 minutes talking on the phone and 15 with face to face communication that has nothing to do with work.  Everyone takes an hour per day to watch birds, read a book or simply stare off into space… some time in each day just passes along.   

Now for me I know that if I don’t exercise I’m just not right.  They say 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day is needed to stay healthy.  On top of that my physical therapist has me doing 20 minutes of stretches for the bulging disc in my back and 15 for my shoulder impingement.  We all need to figure some time for Doctors and other health visits… maybe 3 minutes a day for that.   

The ASPCA claims that 47% of Americans have pets and pets take time.  Feeding, exercising, grooming… half the people out there must spend 1 hour a day taking care of pets so we’ll figure 30 minutes per person across the board.   

There are studies showing that 20 minutes of meditation per day can increase gray matter density improving cognitive skills and general brain health… we need healthy brains for sure so we better fit that in our day.   

Driving takes time.  Shopping, visiting, errands, driving just for fun… driving takes 30 minutes of each day easily.   

I am sure you can think of a handful of things you do each day that aren’t covered here but this is a pretty good list.  Adding up the hours I get around 28 hours of things we need to do each day… not including that 10 minutes of time in the garden. 

So the next time you find yourself claiming you are too busy for this or too busy for that remember; 

- We all have the same 24 hours to work with. 

- We all have a choice in what we make time to do. 

- We all have more to do than we have time to do it. 

- We make time for what is most important. 

Find time to live life fully… nothing is more important. 

No go outside and have fun in the dirt!