8 Tips for Easy Gardening

| 3/12/2014 1:50:00 PM

For those of us interested in living a sustainable and simple lifestyle, gardening is a great way to enjoy the benefits of healthy, fresh food and avoid the impacts of industrial agriculture. Yet, some days it is hard enough just to keep up with the kids, job, and house cleaning. With all we have going on, we can get discouraged with growing food when the effort put in doesn’t pay off at harvest time. In these moments we might question if sustainable and simple are at odds with each other.

Sunflower Garden
Photo by Christina Selby

Easy Gardening

As an avid gardener for twenty years, I have learned a few tricks to keep the task simple but often it still overwhelms my schedule throughout the growing season. Recently I picked up a few new tricks from experienced gardeners with full lives who keep low-maintenance gardens that still provide ample harvest. Turns out, gardening doesn’t have to be another chore that saps your time without giving much in return. Simplify your garden with these basic gardening tips, and enjoy your garden and the warm season to the fullest.

1) Plant fewer plants but more of them – While biodiversity is good, having too many varieties each with different needs can complicate things quickly when you are working to keep them all happy in your garden. Narrow down what you grow to a handful of crops that you eat the most and have had success growing, and grow lots of those. They will have the same requirements so you can tend to them all at once. Can or store the abundance for winter. Skip specialty items or things like onions and potatoes you can buy in bulk at your local farmers market.

2) Focus on perennials and landscaping – Perennials, those wonderful plants that come back each year with minimal care, allow you to fill your yard with food. Plant fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and crops like asparagus and strawberries that will feed you for many years.

3) Skip the starts - Starting from seed is a great way to save money gardening but if your top priority is to save time, this is one activity you can cut out. Buy organically grown starts from your local nursery or school’s seedling sale. Or cut down on the work by planning with a friend which seedlings you will grow and trade. You don’t have to grow them all.

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4/24/2014 8:56:14 PM

Thanks for the “easy gardening” tips—even the article was short and sweet! We used to have an elaborate garden, but as the demands of work and family increased, found it increasingly necessary to choose plants that would produce a lot while requiring little in return. Over the years we phased out the needy plants and added more hardy ones. One of my favorites is the Currant bush. These are often overlooked, but have many varieties and uses…and best of all are easy to plant and forget (especially once established). Here’s a variety I particularly love:http://www.naturehills.com/currant-red-lake