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  • Writer's pictureSandy Glenn, LM MBC

Sandy is a Lazy Gardener

It's true and it works. I've had some form of garden my entire life, but after all of the work and sweat, the weeds would overtake my masterpiece and I would cry. Now I garden the easy way and I LOVE IT!!


Piper is playing in the garden (don't worry, there are no bees in that hive yet). I used an old carpet to keep weeds away from the blackberries and grape vines.

The Spring season to plant is after the last frost (April 15) so start thinking about how you can incorporate fruit and veggies into your yard. Seriously, don't make this a big chore. Instead, make plans to enjoy your time and your garden.


I have land and a tractor so I can still till a plot of soil and I even plan to grow some corn for the goats this year, but that's not my real garden. My garden has turned in to pots and raised beds. They are so easy to weed and if something dies or doesn't come up, I just say, "oh well" and I plant something else.


Work! Work! Work! - no thanks. Here are my cheats:


I plant all year. At the end of summer, I throw fall seeds under my dying summer plants and wait to see what my soil can cultivate. This Winter a lot of mustard greens and broccoli grew, but last year the beats and kale took over. I know I could have tested the soil and planted everything in rows, but "ain't nobody got time for that." I mixed the winter seeds together in a bowl and scattered them in open areas. That's it.


I planted lots of seeds close together and then thinned them out where necessary.


I buy my seeds in bulk at the feed stores or discount stores (NOT AT BIG BOX STORES because they are too expensive).


There are peppers under this winter crop that is starting to go to seed in this beautiful weather. UGLY, but I have lots of greens.

I have an ugly garden. Maybe this isn't for you or maybe you have neighbors that wouldn't appreciate it, but since I live in the country I do not stress the details. I use old logs for borders and pallets or carpet remnants as a weed barrier. I even reuse feed bags to plant my potatoes. Maybe your garden doesn't need to be as ugly as mine, but spending a fortune on your beds is incredibly discouraging so I highly recommend looking for cheap or repurposed supplies.

A lasagna bed ready for planting. Ignore the racks/fencing, I use that to keep the chickens from digging.

I use the "lasagna method."

I started by putting cardboard down, then fertilizer (I use rabbit poop because it's free here) then I put soil on top. In areas with crab grass, I also put some plastic under the edges of the beds. I'm not going to lie the first year I did this it was work so start small. But the next year was much easier because I just put the new soil, paper and fertilizer on top of the same bed. I only needed a small amount of new soil and the weeding was a breeze. IF weeds come in to the bed, the soil is so loose that the weeds can be plucked with very little effort.


Strawberries mixed with kale.

I mix my annuals in with the perennials. Since the perennial beds are maintained, why not plant a cucumber or zucchini?


Baby Rhubarb is much happier in pots.

Pots are even easier than raised beds. I was never able to get eggplant to flourish in the large garden, but in a pot they are happy and healthy.


I don't pull up my peppers, tomatoes, malibar or cukes in the fall. I just cut the stems short, mulch around them and plant my winter seeds in the same bed. Since I use heritage seeds, some of the plants will return in the spring.


I let a few of the plants go to seed. Kale, onions, mustard, amaranth, basil, oregano and many others will propagate themselves. These plants are usually annuals in our zone, but with this gentle encouragement, you may have them for a few years.



The lavender and lambs ears never need to be tended unless you want to thin them and the onions are perfectly happy in the same bed.

Leave some bulbs. I plant my garlic in clusters so that I don't have to replant each year and then just harvest from the edges. If I'm in a good mood, I might spread the bulbs out while I'm harvesting. With the soft 'lasagna' soil, it only takes a few minutes to transplant. Sweet potatoes will come back as well.


PERINEALS

Perennials are the laziest of the lazy. Plant once and smile about it for years. Let's face it cucumbers and tomatoes are ok, but asparagus', strawberries, blueberries, artichokes, yams, rhubarb .... THAT KEEP COMING BACK...Yeah baby!


My favorite perennials are fruit trees. Blue berries can be pruned to stay small and are hardy producers. I also think they are pretty. I have other trees that might not be right for smaller yards, but you can plant smaller trees like pomegranate or even heavily prune to keep apples or persimmons small.


I have also incorporated Rhubarb, artichoke and comfrey.

Malabar spinach was prolific in my garden. Warning though, it's a little slimly so I only eat it cooked.

EDIBLE LANDSCAPE


I don't live in a subdivision so I don't really 'decorate' my yard, but if I did it would be with edible landscape. I have never understood why subdivisions plant poisonous plants when edibles are so beautiful.


There is a summer spinach called Malabar that does wonderful in South Carolina summers. It's a beautiful vine and it's quit tasty.


Taro

Turmeric makes a great border. Tapioca has a tropical appearance and taro roots grow to look a lot like those elephant ears (I couldn't believe how easy the taro grew).


Of course you can also throw some flowering vines in too. I like maypops (passion flower) and pumpkins or spaghetti squash (their flowers are amazing and they grow so quickly).


This year we planted Jerusalem Artichokes as a hedge and I found something called "Pineapple Guava" at a local nursery that can also be used as a hedge. I'm excited to see the results.


I hope I have encouraged the "Johnny Appleseed" inside of you to incorporate some extra veggie plants into your life, feed the bees and eat real food. #TVisOverRated



My Passion Flowers were gorgeous and if you get the indigenous variety, the fruit is also amazing (clones don't produce as much fruit). Also, mine took over a 30 foot section of fence so if you don't have time to prune all summer, make sure you plant it in a spacious area.


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