Gardening, as a pastime, is not really something that can be enjoyed in 20 minutes. It usually requires spans of time far greater than this and can easily make hours seem like minutes. But, then there are times when 20 minutes is all you get – and you better use it wisely.

The weekends are predominantly my garden fixes. They usually consist of a few hours working on a new project, maintaining areas (such as the lawn), or getting dirty by moving plants around the yard. Yet, if the only time I got to spend in the garden was on weekends then my quality of life would be poorer for it.

I return home from my full-time job between 5:30-6pm most days, and after a 15 minute coffee with my wife and quick wrestle with the kids I’m left with 20 minutes of sunshine – albeit fading – before dark. This small window of opportunity can be the difference between feeling connected with my garden or becoming melancholically apathetic towards it.

So here’s 51 things we can do in the garden with only 20 minutes available;

  1. ‘Smell the roses’
  2. Pick some flowers
  3. Start a new hanging basket or container plant
  4. Turn the compost
  5. Pull some weeds
  6. Rake some leaves
  7. Prune a shrub
  8. Plant some annuals
  9. Fertilise your plants
  10. Sow some veggie seeds
  11. Repot a cacti
  12. Restock the bird feeder
  13. Take some photographs
  14. Pick some fruit
  15. Gather lavender flowers for some pot-pourri
  16. Water your container plants
  17. Shape your topiary or hedge
  18. Test your soil for future plantings
  19. Propagate some new plants
  20. Make some natural pesticide
  21. Train a vine
  22. Deadhead your finished blooms
  23. Plant some bulbs
  24. Start a new compost heap
  25. Pick some veggies
  26. Begin making some compost tea
  27. Repair your lawn retic
  28. Repot some of your container plants
  29. Transplant a shrub that hasn’t been growing well
  30. Plant a fruit tree
  31. Pour scolding water over weeds in your paths
  32. Mark out a new garden bed
  33. Collect some herbs for dinner
  34. Stake a tree or your tomato bushes
  35. Thin out your veggie beds
  36. Spread some mulch
  37. Divide some bulbs
  38. Collect seeds from your spent annuals
  39. Refill the bird bath
  40. Sweep your garden paths
  41. Clean your garden tools
  42. Build a climbing frame for your beans and peas
  43. Move your container plants into better positions
  44. Dig up a dead plant
  45. Clean garden walls from unwanted moss
  46. Enjoy a garden walk
  47. Mow a small lawn
  48. Make some wind-protection for a tree or shrub
  49. Sow a green manure
  50. Clean the water feature
  51. Map out a new garden bed

So, the next time you find that you only have 20 minutes to get out in the garden you won’t have an excuse. There is so much we can do in our gardens even when time is limited.