The Lazy Gardener: 22 Time & Effort Saving Gardening Tips
It’s less about being a lazy gardener and more about being smart one
Another summer has passed and the time I have for working in my allotment garden was even less than I had last year. I enjoy having my plot of land on the Laxey hillside but I’m struggling with ways to keep the plot going while not having to tend it every day. I’m determined that there is a way so I’m creating an allotment plan that will hopefully minimize the time, effort, and cost I put into my veggie plot.
In a simple internet search I found dozens of links on what it means to be a ‘Lazy Gardener’ and the techniques we can use to maximise harvests while minimising effort. Being ‘Lazy’ actually means being efficient and striving for a fuss-free garden that is healthy and productive. This is achieved by setting the garden up properly to create a fertile habitat for both crops and beneficial wildlife. The below ideas are ones that I’ve collected in my research and some, if not all of them, are going to make it into my own gardening arsenal.
Weeding is probably the number one most dreaded task in the garden. It’s said to do it little and often but what if you don’t have time to weed for 30 minutes every day?
1. Let Nature into your garden by sowing a low-maintenance Wildflower Meadow. It acts as a ground cover and lures beneficial insects into your garden – Lovely Greens
2. Use black plastic and carpets to organically kill weeds – the Oregon Cottage
3. Weed the easy way! 15 Natural Weed Killer recipes – Holistic Help
4. Reduce weeding by planting in double rows – Sow and Dipity
5. Don’t plant in rows at all. Sow your seeds thickly in beds that are wide and long – Keeper of the Home
6. Use the False Seed Bed technique to eliminate weeds early in the season – Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada
Modern fruits and vegetables are for the most part the real Prima donnas of the plant world. They need a lot of nutrients and water to grow well but this could be an issue if you live in an area with reduced rainfall, hose pipe bans, or just very little time to think about watering.
7. Plant drought resistant varieties. These 32+ herbs & vegetables don’t need as much water – Lovely Greens
8. Mulch your plants several inches deep with organic material to suppress weeds – Grow a Good Life
9. Build an inexpensive Drip Irrigation system using hose pipes and an automatic timer – The Family Handyman
10. Use a kiddie pool for vacation watering: setting pots inside a small pool filled with water can keep your plants hydrated for up to a week! – the Oregon Cottage
After weeding, digging is the task that most people would probably like to avoid. It’s back breaking work and after reading some of these links you might actually question whether you need to dig at all!
11. No-Till Method: layer cardboard on soil to kill weeds and create a dig-free garden bed. – Our Fairfield Home & Garden
12. Plant inside Hay bales – no soil required! Learn how to condition and plant up a hay bale garden – Bonnie Plants
13. Use the power of worms, bacteria, and fungi to till your garden! Sheet Composting involves laying 5-15cm of organic material on the ground and letting nature do its work – Deep Green Permaculture
14. Do you live in a mild and wet climate and have noticed a lack of Earthworms in your garden? It might be that you have New Zealand Flatworm which could spell trouble for wanting to try no-dig methods – Lovely Greens
Sowing seed, tending baby plants, and caring for maturing crops can be a lot of work. Reduce your work load with some of these ideas:
15. A selection of low maintenance vegetable seeds and fruit bushes – Lovely Greens
16. Self-seeding veggies. Plant once and these vegetables can come up year after year without having to re-sow – Mother Earth News
17. Grow Perennials! These 20 veggies and fruits only need one planting then they come up again faithfully every year – Small Footprint Family
18. Don’t grow fussy plants: choose varieties that are easy to take care of (plus some other great tips!) – North Coast Gardening
For many people, gardening is about enjoyment and a passion for growing green things. Being a ‘Lazy Gardener’ is about reducing your work load so that you can putt your feet up, create outdoor artwork, and just enjoying your time in the garden.
19. Grow your edible garden in Zones – herbs near the house where they’re easy to pick, greens a little further away but still at hand, and crops that require less tending and harvesting further away. Read more about this technique and about Permaculture here – Lovely Greens
20. Instead of drudgery, what would you rather be doing in the garden? Here’s the only Summer Garden check-list you’ll need – The Empress of Dirt
21. Add some interesting artwork to your garden to fill spaces and detract from any weedy areas – Brown Green & More
22. Build a Scarecrow. They’re fun and also help deter birds from making off with your garden produce – Our Fairfield Home & Garden
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