Easy Garden Prep for Lazy Gardeners

If you live in the South, you should already have planted your garden. Northerners can wait until June for more cold sensitive plants.

The Plan
• This is the fun part. Think about what you like to eat or flowers you like to see on your table. What fruits and vegetables do you regularly buy at the store? What’s your favorite, but most expensive herb or veggie at the supermarket? What’s the prettiest flower you hardly ever get see?
• Make a list.
• Research what will grow best in your climate or season.
• Draw a garden plot showing where all your plants will live for the season. Here’s mine.

The Dirt
• Turn over your soil, breaking up any early weeds.
• Add compost, peat moss, or more soil as needed. (It always needs it.)

The Lazy Way
Get your kids to do this part or hire a neighbor kid if you are kid-less. I am not above using child labor. Nothing hurts on them. Everything hurts on me.

Pay blood money accordingly. It’s only a few hours work depending on the size of your garden. It’s worth it to get someone else to do the hard stuff. 🙂

Watering
How do you plan to water? If you’re hand watering, carry on. If you’re lazy, contract or put in your own drip irrigation system–the best and most efficient in my opinion. I used to spend eight hours a week watering by hand. Irrigation is paramount to the lazy gardener. It gave me back a whole day to do other stuff, like write this blog post.

Rubber mat for walkways. The initial investment is costly, but this will last for many years.

Prepping for Seeds and Seedlings
• Seeds should be started 6-8 weeks before you put them in the ground. You can move them earlier if the weather is warm and their stems are sturdy.
• Wrap the base of your seedling in an inch high strip of aluminum foil. Every year the cut worms find my bedding plants, but I foil them with…well, foil.
• Once the soil has been prepped, cover it with a weed barrier. Barrier cloth, newspapers, cardboard, or wood chips all make good weed deterrents.

In this photo, I used a rubber mat roll in 25 foot sections. These are usually used for horse stables or industrial use, but I’ve found this is the most durable and user friendly weed barrier for walkways. You can’t use them inside your planting area. For that, I recommend either deep leaf litter or weed barrier fabric.
Note: Rubber mats are not cheap, but they also don’t have to be replaced year after year.

Plant
• Plant your bedding plants or sow seeds directly.
• Mark your plants. Just do it. You know you won’t remember if you planted bell peppers or jalapeno peppers in that spot.

Don’t have garden space?
• This year invest in some nice big pots for your balcony, doorway, or front yard.
• For apartment dwellers, look for a sunny window or just outside your door.
• Nice pots make all the difference. It makes you want to put pretty things out.

Good container candidates
• Almost any herb: basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley
• For your sanity, always grow any mint in pots. They’re invasive and will take over your garden.

• Strawberries (especially pretty in hanging baskets)
• Blueberries
• Tomatoes
• Any pepper
• Eggplants are exceptionally pretty in pots
• I’ve grown potatoes in pots (even in the winter). Just make sure it’s a deep pot.

Turmeric, grown from roots from an ethnic grocery store.

 

 

The only thing to bear in mind with container gardening is that you have to be diligent about watering. A little liquid fertilizer helps too.

 

 

 

If you’re lazy as well as cheap, this is what I do to save money.

A hydrangea emerging from its ugly duckling stage. It was bought on clearance for $1.

• Buy or beg flower pots from garage sales or your sister’s driveway. I always buy these used. Pots are terribly expensive new.
• If you EVER see workmen cutting branches and chipping them on the spot, ask them if they can dump their load in your yard. Wood chips are the absolute best source of mulch. If you don’t live far, I’m willing to bet they will give you all you want for free.
• Don’t ignore flowers on clearance or free. Even if they look homely, you’d be surprised what fresh dirt, a bigger pot and a leaf trim will do to bring it back to life.
• If you shop the farmers’ market, you can plant the seeds from fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Also, regrow veggies, like green onions, celery, and lettuce. Just take the root stalk, trim and stick them in the ground.

The only thing I will pay top dollar for are my gardening tools. You don’t need every single tool out there, but whatever you buy, get the most ergonomic and quality tool you can afford. Believe me, it’s worth it!

Vegetable gardening makes you feel like a noble human being. Plus, it feeds you. What will you grow this year?

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All original content copyrighted by Maria Zannini 2017.

4 Comments

  1. Maria for the past 4 years our weather has been so unstable we have not put in a garden. However we have been chatting the last few months about putting in plantings in containers here and there in the back so we can control how much produce there is to harvest on any given veggie. At some point my sweet husband has plans to put in a fall garden but right now that is not firmed up yet on what to plant and where to plant it.

    Hopefully when he does make up his mind will have at least squash, okra and a tomato of some kind if he tries for spring/summer vegetables next year.

    • Jackie: One of the reasons I went to raised beds is because I knew it would be easier to handle as I get older. If my joints get worse I might even switch to all container gardening. I just like having living things around me. It makes me feel useful.

      re: okra
      Okra is the vegetable that keeps on giving. I’m sure I’ll have way too many again. 🙂

  2. Liane

    After living with my mom for several frustrating years–she is an avid gardener but very territorial about her yard–I’m on my own and gardening again. Gardening is a bit of an euphemism, because I’ve just got a tiny patio to work with, but I’ve planted some herbs and foliage plants in pots and some easy flowers like impatiens in a brick planter. I hope to have a real garden again one day! I miss growing hybrid tea roses most of all.

    Absolutely right about the mint. Planted a few sprigs with Mexican cilantro in a trough on a wall and can’t believe how vigorous it is. Completely overpowered the cilantro, has filled the pot and is now draping down both sides of the wall. Easy to see how it would overtake an entire garden.

    • Liane: LOL. I can sort of understand the territorial part. I don’t care what Greg wants to plant by his shop (except bamboo!) but in my yard, I grow what I like.

      re: patio plants
      My mother has a tiny patio that gets enough sun. It is filled to the brim with potted plants. It’s gorgeous with pops of color everywhere.

      re: mint
      It’s crazy. I had this tiny little spearmint spring in a giant pot. Now you can’t see the pot. I need to see if the chickens will eat it. Maybe it’ll give them minty breath. 😀

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