Secrets of a Lazy Gardener
My friend has it figured out, she married an avid gardener and she just picks the flowers and harvests the fruit. But that means she's not technically a gardener. I am lazy and so devised a few short-cuts that keep me from procrastinating to the point where the weeds take over and the flowers and veggies are strangled and starved.
THE BUCKET: I purchased a garden tote that's made of fabric and fits over a five-gallon bucket. It has loads of storage pockets and I carry my trowel, pruning shears, garden gloves, seeds , a knife, popsicle sticks for marking plants, cell phone and water bottle in it. I keep a bag of bone meal in the large center of the bucket so it will be on hand when I plant bulbs or new plants. You can find the Garden Buckets online, or add one to your gift ‘wish list'.
SOAKER HOSES: We had five weeks with no rain this year and I know my plants would have been toast if I hadn't laid soaker hoses in and around my perennials, annuals and veggies. I buy the kind that are made of recycled tires. They work well, are more environmentally friendly and I leave them in the garden all the time and only remove them to till up the soil, then I put them right back. Soakers are a better way of watering your plants too, wet leaves can lead to disease and mildew.
A MAILBOX: I have a large yard and because I'm lazy I don't like to walk all the way back to the ‘Bucket' in the barn. I put up an old rural mailbox on a post in the middle of my perennial bed in the front.
I keep an extra pair of pruning shears, gloves and a hand trowel in it. I also keep some mosquito repellant in the bucket and the mailbox as well.
Put decals or paint decorative designs on your mailbox if you want it to blend in more with your garden. , I'm hoping to get around to painting foliage and flowers on mine - someday. Probably this winter.
WEED PREVENTION: Preventing weeds is helpful for the lazy gardener. In spring I pull weeds, trowel in a little bone meal, compost, composted manure. Then I sprinkle a little Diatomaceous earth earth to prevent slugs, and cover this with a few sheets of newspaper of cardboard, and top this with some cedar mulch, which repels insects as well as keeping the moisture in the soil.
INSECT PREVENTION: I used to have a terrible time with slugs eating my Hostas. Each spring, when the Hostas reach about 6 inches tall I apply Diatomaceous earth on and around each Hosta. Diatomaceous earth is fossilized sea creatures and sharp - to bugs. It would be like us crawling over a parking lot covered with broken glass in order to get to a burger joint. Some may actually get through, but very few.
Put up bird houses. We usually have about 3 or 4 Wren families in our yard and they eat enormous amounts of cabbage worms and other bugs that eat my plants. I also have a snake shelter in the far corner of my back yard for garter snakes who eat garden pests as well. I never use pesticides as these are indiscriminate and kill good bugs, which outnumber the ‘bad'. Hummingbirds feed aphids to their babies, so a hummingbird feeder is a good idea. I grow lots of nectar producing red flowers, so only keep the humming bird feeder out until the flowers start to bloom. Hummingbird feeders must be cleaned and filled at least every other day, and I'm lazy.
I purchased a garden cart at a garage sale for $4 about ten years ago and I love it. It has two big wheels that roll easily across even the roughest terrain and holds more weeds that I have the energy to pull at one time. I used to use a wheel barrow, but lifting it and keeping the one wheel balanced as I pushed it was not fun for a person with arthritis in her knees and not a good choice for a lazy gardener. My garden cart is balanced so it's easy to lift and if I'm really tired I can pull it instead of push it.
PLANTS: Perennials make gardening a little easier, but they aren't work-free. Then need to be dead headed (the dead flowers removed) if you want continual bloom. Many, like Hostas, daisies and day lilies need to be divided every few years. So research your plants before you buy them if you want the least labor intensive perennials.
I still plant veggies and annuals. I have to have fresh green peppers, hot peppers, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs as well as Impatients, Moss Rose (portulaca) and Gerbera Daisies each year. I grow herbs as well and my dill comes up from seed in the general area where it grew the previous year, tarragon is a perennial and attractive and I have Lemon Balm (mint) and lots of orange mint that I just let run wild in one corner of my garden.
Perennial ground covers are perfect for lazy gardeners. Sedums, Myrtle or Vinca, Violets, Sweet Woodruff and Bishop's Weed all fill areas in quite nicely and require very little attention. They are invasive, however, so keep this in mind. They may take over an area too fast for your needs.
I hope some of my lazy gardener tips work for you and encourage you to keep on growing!