Time In Your Garden: How Much Is Required?

The amount of time you spend in your garden will greatly depend on how large or small your garden is. I have multiple greenhouses and over 2000 square feet of garden where I plant flowers, vegetables, fruit, and herbs. In this post, we will look at the time commitment of a small backyard garden, a large backyard garden, and a micro farm garden.

All gardens require planting, watering, fertilizing, weed control, pest control, and harvesting. All of these will be daily or almost daily tasks. According to the National Gardening Association, the average time Americans spent in their gardens is 5 hours a week. That averages to approximately 43 minutes a day.

These statistics are based off of the average size of an American garden which was 600 sq ft in 2009. Things have definitely changed since 2009. Since the pandemic, several people are now growing gardens to become less reliant on the supply chain and/or to fight inflation. In order to fully answer this question, we’ll need to get a little more specific about the size of garden we’re talking about.

Time Spent In Your Small Backyard Garden

If you have a small backyard or limited space in your yard, you will be growing a relatively small garden. I have several small gardens around my house. I’m classifying a small garden as any garden less than 400 sq ft.

A small garden will not take you long at all to maintain. You will only spend about 15-30 minutes a day caring for it. This is a generalization of course. Regardless of the size of your garden, there are ways you can cut down on time and increase the amount of time you spend in a garden.

If you decided to plant out your garden fairly dense, you will have less weeding to do. Deciding to hand water with a watering can will likely take longer than a hose. You can also cut down on pests by planting some beneficial plants that ward them off. This will save you time trying to manage pest infestations.

Beneficial plants can help with fertilization as well! Green bean plants in particular deposit nitrogen into the soil. Planting different plants together (as opposed planting all one kind of plant in one spot and all one kind of another plant in a separate spot) can also help keep your soil fertilized. This is because different plants need more of different nutrients. A bunch of tomato plants will drain the soil of phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. Tomato plants that are separated will deplete the soil much slower and therefore will require less fertilizer.

You can also use compost or fertilizer you make yourself. Compost made from kitchen scraps and/or chicken manure, comfrey tea, aquaponics (where you use fish to make fertilizer), or one of the several homemade Korean Natural Farming fertilizers (let me know if you want more info on Korean Natural Farming) are all fantastic options to promote proper nutrition and plant growth while still staying self reliant.

Time Spent In Your Large Backyard Garden

I have four greenhouses. Two of them are in my backyard and filled with in ground plants. Each of these greenhouses cover about 500 sq ft. A large backyard garden is anywhere between 400 and 2000 sq ft.

In the largest of backyard gardens, you will only spend at most 90 minutes for daily maintenance. Weeding and watering will take longer with larger gardens.

Some of you reading this blog may absolutely love working in the garden. I do to! However, I always advocate for building your garden in such a way that it does most of the work on it’s own. Even if you love it! That way, you aren’t obligated to be out in your garden for prolonged periods of time everyday. This can help you keep your joy of working in your garden.

At this size of garden, you may consider setting up automated watering systems. I have a post that talks a little bit about how I do this myself.

Time Spent In Your Micro Farm Garden

An acre of land is 4356 sq ft. In 2019, the size of an average farm was 444 acres. Micro farms very greatly in size, but they are definitely well below that number. For the purposes of this post, I’m classifying a micro farm garden between 2000 (about 1/2 acre) and 17424 (4 acres) sq ft.

There is A LOT of difference between those two numbers. At this scale, you will very likely have some sort of automated watering system. You may even have a tractor if you have more than an acre or two planted out. On the lower end of this spectrum, you’ll spend 90-120 minutes each day in your garden. If you have more than one acre planted out, plan for an hour more of your time each day per acre (2 acres takes 2.5-3 hours, 3 acres takes 3.5-4 hours, etc.).

Permaculture is an incredible way to not only maximize the space you have in any size garden, but also minimize the time you spend in your garden. Permaculture uses nature to do most of the work in your garden. I have a post that goes more in depth on this subject called Alternative Gardening: How To Be A Weird Gardener.


I have close to an acre of space that I use to grow plants in. It takes me about an hour daily to water, evaluate any pest damage, and harvest my plants. Most of my fertilization comes from homemade compost and plants that act as nitrogen fixers. We are about to implement aquaponics and I am so excited to start sharing about my family and I’s experience with aquaponics on the blog!

In conclusion, you will likely spend a 2-4 hours a day at most doing chores in your garden if you’re growing enough food to support your family and sell. If your growing for your family’s consumption only, plan for 90-120 minutes a day. The small front yard gardener will only need to allocate 15-30 minutes per day to keep up with daily chores.

Does your experience match up with the statistics? Do you have any time saving tips? Let us know in the comment section how long you spend in your garden each day!

I wish you all joyful farming!

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