Lazy gardening from spring through end of summer
When giving a tour of my vegetable patch, I call myself a lazy gardener. It usually gets a laugh, but more important, it gets people’s attention. Here are three of my top tips to decrease work, increase fun and grow more vegetables.
Garden beds. I like raised garden beds, and they can be simple or complex, all serve the same purpose. Garden beds can be reinforced (made of scrap lumber six to eight inches tall), or simply unreinforced (mounded up soil). Beds can be built before planting or after harvest (for the next season). Some benefits include:
- Easy access for planting, weeding and harvest
- Creates a physical barrier so you aren’t tempted to trod on plants or compress soil
- Soil amendments such as compost and mulch stay in the garden and out of the path where not needed
Don’t step on your plants. One of the reasons I like garden beds is it not only keeps weeds out, they also help to keep my size 9’s out of my garden. If you’ve worked hard to build loose soil, the last thing you want to do is compact it. Trodding too close can:
- Damage fragile roots
- Compact soil, reducing water penetration
- Break off branches, flowers or fruit
Mulch your garden. Speaking of mulch, a heavy layer of leaf or seedless hay mulch is very good for your garden. Heavy means a good two inches of hay mulch “slabs,” or a good inch of partially rotted leaves. Mulch is the organic gardener’s friend too:
- Maintains consistent moisture (less watering)
- Reduces weeds (less weeding)
- Reduces erosion (good for the soil)
- Breaks down, adding fertility (also good for the soil)
- NOTE: avoid wood chips around annual plants, decomposition uses up nitrogen.
Editor's note: If you garden, consider taking the American Family Insurance Pledge to Plant a Row to Fight Hunger. Go to our Facebook page, take the pledge to plant a row of vegetables in your home or community garden. When they're ripe, donate them to your local food bank. For every pledge received, American Family will donate $1 to Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.