Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Simple, Lazy Gardening

Pachinko asked for gardening tips. There are plenty of books and web sites out there about gardening. This post is for you if you think it all sounds like too much work, or you think you don't have the magic "green thumb." You can grow vegetables with very little effort. There are only 3 principles, and the first is the most important.

1. Discover what grows easily in the areas you have

Here's what not to do: "Hmm, I think I'd like a Japanese eggplant. That would be cool. And I'd like to plant it right over there, by the big tree. Oh look, it died. I guess gardening sucks. I don't have a green thumb."

Don't decide what you want and where you want it. You're probably wrong -- I've been wrong, too, many times. Let the plants decide where they want to grow. Buy a whole bunch of seeds for many different vegetables (seeds are cheap), and plant them all over the place. Plant the same thing in many locations, and many things in the same location. Find out what grows the best. Work with nature, not against it.

Your yard is probably made up of many different "microclimates." A plant that grows great in one spot might not survive 50 feet away. Don't bother trying to guess what will work, just try lots of things and observe. Keep notes so you don't repeat the same mistakes next year.

You'll probably find that some edible vegetables are almost like weeds, and rather than struggling to keep them alive, you have to find ways to prevent them from taking over your whole yard. That's great! Those are the ones you want!

2. Get good soil

Most residential yards have pretty bad soil. Either build raised beds and put good soil in them, or put good soil into containers. Other options are typically more work.

3. Water

Use common sense. If it looks too dried out, water it. The only thing that might surprise you is how quickly things can dry out on hot summer days. You may have to water daily during hot times of the year, especially with small containers. Watering shouldn't take much effort, just a few minutes a day.

(There is more to gardening than this, of course, hence the thousands of gardening books. But this is all you need to know to get started.)

1 comment:

Illiana Speedster said...

Great simple tips!

Don't forget to look for and learn about the edible "weeds" that already grow in your yard!