Designing a Garden the Easy Way with Only a Hose and a Rake

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No Digging Required

I'm a lazy gardener. After my neck was injured in a car accident I decided to test my theory that you don't have to dig the ground up to plant a vegetable or flower bed. It worked and I've been using that technique for 20-some years.

A huge mound of compost was setting in the corner of my yard for about 20 years when I decided to put my "no digging required" technique to use. After all, when I moved to this location in mid-December with dozens of daylily tubers from my former garden and simply placed them on the existing lawn, covered with top soil and they managed to thrive and multiply as if I had spent hours digging holes.

This vegetable garden was laid out and planted in less than two hours tops using a hose and a rake. The key to this easy garden is to completely cover the existing grass or existing vegetation with soil which will smother it. Although I used soil from my 20-year-old compost pile, you can simply purchase garden soil from your local garden center or Lowes for a small garden, or order a truckload of topsoil and have it dumped on your garden plot, and then get out your hose and a rake and follow my lead.

Materials List for this Garden

  • Flexible garden hose
  • Garden soil either purchased by the truckload, or for smaller areas, bags from the garden center
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Iron rake
  • Water
  • Seeds, rooted plants or potted plants

Choose Your Location and Lay Out Your Garden Design With a Hose

Choose your location depending on the type of garden you are planting. If it is a vegetable garden, make sure it receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. If you are planting a shade garden, locate it in a northwest to north location.

Order your topsoil, have bags delivered from the garden center, or use available compost and soil from your own private source. In my case, I have a source of rich compost and soil that I carried to my site with a wheelbarrow.

To begin, lay out the garden design of your choice. It is not written in stone that a vegetable garden be square or rectangular in shape. Since I wanted my vegetable garden to blend in with my flower borders, I used a kidney-shaped design. This is easy to do with a garden hose. Leave your hose in the sunlight for an hour to warm it so it will be flexible and easy to move around.

Leave the hose in place while you spread the soil with a rake making sure you cover all the grass (or weeds) completely to a depth of 3 inches.

Next, spray the soil, wetting it so that it is completely saturated. This step is important as you need to settle the soil and work it into the grass or weeds below which will decompose from lack of sunlight.

Pop Your Plants or Seeds Into the Wet Soil
Pop Your Plants or Seeds Into the Wet Soil | Source

Garden Soil Choices

Poke in the Seeds or Pop in Your Plants

Before you plant anything, stop and think about what types of vegetables or flowers you are going to plant. Depending on the size of your garden design, it makes sense that planting corn in a 5 by 10 foot garden would not be practical.

If your design is small, look for plants that grow upwards and take up less space, such as pole beans. Choose tomato varieties that don't spread out and use tomato cages to confine them.

After I made my choices I simply planted both seeds and vegetable transplants in this garden by using my hands.

To plant the transplant, all I did was hollow out a spot and plop the little transplant in.

My little box of tomato, pepper and squash transplants.
My little box of tomato, pepper and squash transplants. | Source

 Keep the Soil Moist

The key to this garden design is to keep the soil moist until your seeds sprout. Also, by keeping the soil moist the grass under the soil will decay and turn into compost.

I use Miracle Grow Plant Fertilizer weekly which off-sets the nitrogen being used to decay the grass.

As you can see, my instant garden is growing nicely, the tomatoes and green peppers are coming on like gangbusters, and I just picked my first squash.

My Garden A Month Later

My tiny vegetable garden after a month.
My tiny vegetable garden after a month.

Success!

Hubby Bill picks first squash!
Hubby Bill picks first squash! | Source

Please Take My Poll

Do you think this is a good garden idea?

See results without voting

Conclusion

Defy the garden experts who tell you to use a tiller or hand-shovel the soil before planting your garden.

Try my idea and you will have to agree that this is the easiest garden you ever grew without lifting a shovel!

Better Boy tomato.
Better Boy tomato. | Source
My first pepper, ready to pick.
My first pepper, ready to pick. | Source

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Comments 25 comments

daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

I love easy gardening tips like this!


Tammy 6 years ago

Why won't my peppers grow? Someone told me not to plant them next to tomato plants...is that true?


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

I've never heard that about tomatoes and peppers...in fact, my pepper plant is covered with peppers and planted right next to a huge tomato plant.


acellucci profile image

acellucci 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Awesome gardening tips. I wanted to grow a garden but wasn't sure how to go about it. Loved this article!


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Thank you acellucci. If you approach gardening by just using common sense, don't think about it too much, you can grow anything. For instance, instead of removing weeds that you pull from around your plants, leave them there to decay and make humus. Weeds are nature's "free" fertilizer.


rdown profile image

rdown 4 years ago from Usa

Great Hub! I was planning on starting a vegetable garden this year and these tips are great.

Thanks


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Thank you Rdown, it looks like it is going to be a good year for a garden.


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

Wow, I never thought to use the hose as a pattern for the garden. Makes it so much easier if you can see what you are doing. Thanks for sharing!


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Yes, it is easy as that! Thanks!


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

This is wonderful and so simple that even a gardening dunce like me can follow. Voting up up up and up again.


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

What a great idea! I have had terrible luck with vegetable gardening. This looks like something even I might be able to do! Thanks Lileyth. :)


2patricias profile image

2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

This sounds interesting, but I think the technique might work better on some soild than others. Pat's garden is on very chalky soil - with lots of rocks.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Thank you so much for the "up"! I appreciate it!


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Try it, you'll like it as they say! Thank you for stopping by.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

It should work on any soil because as the plants, minerals, and garden soil lay there, it is changing the soil beneath it as worms, and other microbes take up residence.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Hi Lilleyth - I am a complete novice when it comes to gardening; but I am looking for ways to assist my son and daughter in law. They are very busy, don't have much experience, but just moved into a house with a huge yard and a perfect sunny area perfect for a vegetable garden. Your Hub is very helpful and I am going to pass it on to them. Thanks and have a great week. :) SHARING


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Super! I question everything, so when I decided to go against the old ideas about gardening, and just followed my own knowledge about how soil decays, etc. I have used this idea for years and it takes so much work out of garden design. Thanks!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

My husband and I once built a raised garden for my mother who had just become widowed when my dad died. We used landscaping timbers and it was about 8 feet in length by 4 feet in width. It was built up about 3 feet with LOTS of dirt in it. After about a year or so the bermuda grass was growing up through all of that dirt! They now sell some type of barrier cloth. I would use that first before putting the dirt in. Where you live they must not have that type of grass. Would love it if your method worked the same way down here.

On another note, I have often used a garden hose for the outline of new garden beds against a house. Easy to visualize the final bed by doing that. Smart!

Your garden looks wonderful!!! I had a huge garden in Wisconsin Rapids years ago and wrote a hub about it. I also used compost. Where we now live I have much less garden space because of so much shade. Up, useful and interesting votes.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Luckily we only have fescue to deal with. I have used this technique to prepare both flower and vegetable gardens with no problem of grass growing up through the soil. The grass decays and is just another layer of compost. Try it, you'll like it!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 4 years ago from United States

Like your pretty vegetable garden! We made a raised island this way over the summer. Using a garden hose realy was a great way to get a good shape.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Thanks!


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 3 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

cool simplicity :-)


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Would you believe that I don't own a garden rake? (A situation I must remedy.)


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 2 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Author

Marie, Marie, Marie...use a snow shovel! (I bet you have one!)


Karah 22 months ago

Great artleic, thank you again for writing.

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    Lilleyth profile image

    Suzanne Sheffield (Lilleyth)159 Followers
    34 Articles

    Suzanne is a former regional magazine publisher, cookbook author, Master Gardener, manufacturer's rep, and retail gift shop buyer.



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