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On Being A Lazy Gardener

It's All in the Planning

Some people say they do not garden because it is too much work; to them I say bah, it just isn’t so. Sure you can spend hours digging, turning soil over, removing lawn and otherwise preparing a garden bed.

Now I love to grow things but I am not all that fond of hard work, not actually lazy but economical, so I have found a few things that reduce the work and allow me to enjoy the process.

You can devote hours to weeding, deadheading and making sure unwelcome creatures are not invading your garden and munching your vegetables before you do, Or you can take a little time on a cold winter’s night snuggled up on your couch and plan it right in the first place.

The secret to keeping the garden work you do to a minimum is in the planning and the preplanning.

The preplanning stage is when you first decide how big a garden you want. If you only have a little time to garden or if you really are not a gardener and just want to grow a few tomatoes for a salad now and then, be honest.

Do not plan a garden that you will not look after, this will discourage you and even worse you will stop looking after it and the vegetables or flowers will not flourish.

So how big will your garden grow?

Now that you know the size you are ready to tackle the next question, what do you want to grow? Perhaps you want a few flowers to use as a center piece or a few herbs to add flavour to your cooking, well a container on a patio or deck that is located as close to the door as possible, cuts down on steps you need to take, is what you need.

Bill Mollison, the co-founder of permaculture when asked how close the herb garden should be to the kitchen door, said close enough so that I don’t get my slippers wet.

If you want to save time and energy don’t plant your herbs at the far end of the backyard keep them close.

Now that you know what you are growing and how much time you have and how big the garden will be, you can select the plants you want and buy the seeds.

You can start most plants indoors four to six weeks before you put them out to deal with nature on their own.

All you need is a small pot; you can sue paper egg cartons to start seeds. Simply put a seed in each section and you will most likely get eight out of twelve seeds beginning to sprout. Egg cartons are a bit small for tomato plants but work for most herbs.

Now you have the preplanning done and are ready to design the garden.

You do not have to plan you garden in the ground, you do need soil, unless you are considering hydroponics but lets leave that for today and focus on soil.

Containers are great, you can grow anything in a container and you can place the containers just about anywhere,: up on a table to stand so that you do not have to bend over, in a wagon so you can move them around, on windowsills, balconies, patios and attached to fences.

If you want to put the garden in the earth, you do not have to dig, go the no-till method and use up those old pizza boxes and other cardboard you have sitting around.

When you design you garden keep size in mind and the time you have to garden and remember bigger is not always better.

A small garden can be a great producer, it is not how big the garden is but how it is designed that counts.

You can make the garden bed, circular with a path that runs into the garden’s centre so that you can reach the plants from all sides.

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You can grow vertically and eliminate the need to bend over or kneel down and you can buy tools that do the reaching for you.

The lazy gardener’s secret rests in the preplanning and the planning, get it down on paper and stick with it when you get around to putting yoru deign into practice, always leave a little fudge room so you can make changes, but remember the lazy gardener’s first rule, know yourself and do not fool you into thinking that you will change from a non-gardener who prefers to watch things grow into a gardener who makes them grow overnight. Start small and watch your gardening enthusiasm grow along with yoru plants.


Getting the no-till garden started, Bob Ewing photo

Getting the no-till garden started, Bob Ewing photo


Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 20, 2008:

worms are one of a gardener's best helpers.

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on October 20, 2008:


I am with you on economizing personal energy. No till is the only way to go. I say let the worms do the work. Great suggestions....C.S.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 18, 2008:

Thanks NY, glad this motivated you.

NYLady from White Plains, NY on October 17, 2008:

Bob: Great hub. I really am inspired now to get out there and start something. I must admit my gardening has waned in recent years and this might get me up off the couch -- and away from the computer -- into the fresh air and the backyard.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 17, 2008:

Cooking is an important part of growing. thanks for stopping by.

vitaeb from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia on October 17, 2008:

I'm extremely lucky - my wife does the gardening. Her garden is a huge tangle of weeds, flowers, veggies, chicken wire, old carpeting, bean poles, sratchy berry bushes and other soft fruits. With the abundance her garden produces, I cook the meals. My only means of not feeling guilty for being the sluggard.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 17, 2008:

Thanks shades, knowing yourself is a good first step before doing anything new.

Shadesbreath from California on October 16, 2008:

This is a spectacular hub. I actually am lazy so this is great advice, especially the part about be realistic about how much energy you are going to put into your gardening effort. If a planter box is all you'll (I'll) really be willing to pay attention to, there's no shame. I think pointing out that going too big is setting yourself up to be discouraged and therefore ending up not enjoying gardening in the future is pretty insightful, frankly. A very wise, humanistic perspective.

I have to say, if I was ever trapped on an island, I would want you as one of the survivors of the ship wreck with me (along with several super models and stuff obviously). Another good hub, man. Nice work.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 16, 2008:

But if do the couch thing and plan your garden tthat is ok. :)

Dottie1 from MA, USA on October 16, 2008:

I think that couch bit is appealling too but then I'll be a lazy Gardner. LOL

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 16, 2008:

Dottie, of course you're not :)


Princessa, the couch bit is appealling.

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on October 16, 2008:

Very good points to keep in mind. My favourite part is snuggling up on the couch and planning :)

Dottie1 from MA, USA on October 16, 2008:

Hey Bob....I am not a lazy Gardner! :)

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on October 16, 2008:

the cardboard ones then cut them and plant them in the ground a very good diea. thanks for stoppin by.

pcjunkychick from OKC on October 16, 2008:

Great tip about planning I totally agree. My Dad use to start seeds in an egg carton covered with plastic wrap to hold the moister in every year- Great tip! :) He would use the cardboard ones then cut them and plant them in the ground I luv that!

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