Night Gardening (Or, How To Garden When You Have Small Kids)

I’ve often been asked how I ever have time to get so much done in the garden when I have four small children to care for. And I’ve shared in the past how I am able to get outdoors for a little while by bringing the littles with me in an infant carrier, a stroller, or a playpen.

But what about on those days when it’s just too hot for the kids to be outside?? What about those days when so many other things preoccupy my time and I just can’t get out at all?

Well my friends, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Sometimes, I garden at night.

When my husband is home from work, and is able to stay inside with the kids… there are times when I slip outside in the cool evening air with a headband light strapped to my forehead, or a floodlight hung high on a pole, and I dig and plant to my hearts content.

And it’s a perfect time to water the garden, when there’s no danger of the sun baking the wet plants.

Warm Spring and Summer nights are the best. The stars are bright overhead, the crisp air is refreshing to my soul, and the night noises keep me company while I become completely engrossed in tending to my beds.

I am especially prone to night gardening when I have plants that just have to get in the ground, and the smell of rain in the wind promises a nice greeting to my freshly planted sprouts.

To those of you who feel like it’s impossible to find the time or convenience to get outdoors and in the dirt… buy a good light… I suggest night gardening.

14 thoughts on “Night Gardening (Or, How To Garden When You Have Small Kids)”

  1. I guess I do everything but garden at night and I’m thinking it may be time to start since nothing has been on my side this year as far as that goes. I am a little concerned about the mosquito problem though. (I’m in MN pinned between three lakes and the Mississippi so we really do have enough to carry you away.)

  2. I just did this for the first time two days ago! Never thought I would be doing it on a regular basis, and I’m sure the neighbors think I’m crazy, but hey, I get to work the garden!

    Great to hear I’m not the only one who does this. Maybe we’re not so crazy after all. 😉

  3. About 8 years ago I used to pray with a minister’s wife who was so busy with caring for elderly parents and the business of the church (Sunday school class, women’s prayer groups, cooking church dinner every Wed. night, etc.) that when she needed to garden she would turn on her car headlights so they would shine into her flower beds at the parsonage and weed and plant those beds…even at 2 a.m.!

    Their family was transferred to another church about 150 miles away about 2 years ago. Last time I checked with her, she still had not found the time to go out and walk the land she lives on! I told her to wear the T-shirt that says, “Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again!”

  4. Definitely like this idea. I get the vast, vast majority of any work (cooking, cleaning, outdoors) done while the kids are sleeping, between naps and bedtime. As a field biologist, I have a deep love for headlamps so I think this is an awesome way to bring it into my home life! 🙂

  5. LOL It is 10pm and I just got in the house from “gardening at night”. Of course, I started around 7pm, just finishing up. Love it!

  6. I’ve tried to work in the evening but the mosquitos are ruthless, but I also live in MN where we grow bird sized mosquitos. j/k
    Question for you Kendra, with your berry bushes- I believe you said you plant them in raised beds? How much dirt do the roots need? Also, how many years will they last? I know they say to change strawberries every 3 years, but for say raspberrys and blueberries is it the same?

    • Jessica,

      If you have basil or mint growing, pull some of the leaves off and rub your skin with them- it’ll help keep the mosquitoes away 🙂

      We planted our raspberries in a raised bed, just to make a nice border for our driveway. They are only as deep as one railroad tie (12″??), but the bottom is open so the roots are free to work their way into the ground. Berry bushes will last for many, many years, as long as they are healthy. Same with grapevines. I met a man who had a grapevine he claimed has been on his homestead for over 50 years.

      My friend Ms. Addy’s blueberry bushes have been there for over 10 years, and are still going strong. Plus, berry bushes spread and produce new plants, so in that regard they could go on forever!!

  7. I love this idea. My kids are 4 and 7 so they are big enough that they enjoy helping plant and water or they just play in the yard while we work, but we hope to have another little one soon so this will be good advice for later. Our neighbors have kids and they also garden, so this is great because our husbands can help each other with the big stuff, and us girls can help each other with the kids, planting, and other stuff. This is also great because we can trade our vegetables if something doesn’t do well for one of us. It has made gardening fun for everyone.

  8. thats what i used to do when mine were all little now with my youngest being almost 4 ..i ship them off to play on the swings or trampoline and their fine…

  9. It’s staying light until about 9:30 pm at night here. We can get a lot done after the kids head to bed around 8 pm. When summer really hits it will stay light until 11pm. I guess there is some advantage of living North. The disadvantage is we are still early spring here.


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