For many people, the time needed for gardening is hard to find. Have you wanted to have an organic garden, but need something low-maintenance?
We’ll take a look at specific vegetables in a moment, but first, let’s examine a few easy ways to have such a garden.
1. Plan a Large Garden
If possible, plant as large a garden as you can. It will allow for wide paths, soil relief and easy crop rotation. This way, you can give parts of your garden a break to rejuvenate for the next season.
Large gardens allow for a variety of plants and bugs. This usually helps the garden with pests, as the diversity of bugs creates a natural balance.
2. Care for the Soil
When you till, mix in mulch, manure and crop residues. Do it twice in the spring and once in the autumn. Tilling puts nutrients back in the soil, keeping it fresh and healthy. It is also a natural way to keep weeds away. Start tilling as soon as the dirt is workable. Try to wait as long as possible, however, so you can till under the weed sprouts. Do this twice, every two weeks until planting. It cuts down on weeds and hoeing.
The healthier soil is, the faster and hardier the vegetables will grow. Rotation is important, as well. Any bugs who like a certain plant will lay their eggs with that particular plant. By moving crops around, the bugs will not be able to find their favorite meal.
3. Grow a Cover Crop in Fallow Season
Growing a crop like rye or buckwheat during the fallow season will prevent erosion. Their root systems are not deep, and they won’t seed before you are ready to till. Those crops will also add nutrients when tilled into the soil.
Mix plants together that will benefit each other. Interplanting can mask scents (some insects don’t like certain smells, and other use the smell to locate their favorite food), help with rotation and strengthen crops. For example, mix cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli with beets, tomatoes and onions.
5. Disease Resistance
Keeping your garden healthy helps resist diseases. Prevention is easier than finding a cure. Diseases and pests target plants that are injured or weak. When planning a garden, check seed catalogs for plants with natural resistance. Planting crops that will do well in your soil and climate area will help discourage diseases. Always touch plants gently, when you have to touch them at all, and don’t work around them while wet, as many diseases find it easy to travel on water.
6. Encourage Nature’s Guests
Wild birds and toads are actually welcome guests in a garden. They provide natural bug and pest control and are harmless to the plants. You can always have chickens, giving them a list of duties such as providing eggs, scratching the ground, weeding and eating bugs. Nature provides cultivators, weeders and pest control. With chickens, however, you need to control them, as they can go overboard on the scratching and weeding. Don’t let them into your early spring garden, or your small seedlings will be damaged.
Now that you know how to have a low-maintenance garden, here are a few easy-to-grow vegetables, which are low-maintenance, to get you started.
Zucchini: This vegetable is easy to grow. Zucchini loves the sun and easy-draining soil. It needs a bit of space to grow, but can be started in containers and then transplanted when the weather is right. Even the flowers on zucchini are edible.
Asparagus: Asparagus needs full sun with sandy, moist soil (but not too wet.) It is very tasty and can be used as side dishes or in salads
Bunching onions: These onions grow in clumps and are easy to harvest. They are very hardy and multiply on their own. Once planted, you can harvest and not worry about having to plant again. This plant can come back year after year.
Beans: This vegetable likes deep and moist soil. Plant after the threat of frost is gone. Beans need a lot of sun — at least six to eight hours a day. The soil also needs to drain well. Some bean plants need a fence or trellis to grow, while others only grow up to two feet and won’t need support.
Garlic: Try to plant garlic in the fall for the next season. Plant clove root down, with plants being six to eight inches apart, depending on the size of your garden. Only water when the soil is dry.
Rhubarb: This is a hardy vegetable, and does well in colder climates. It needs well-draining soil with part shade. The plant will come back each year, so be prepared as it can grow very wide.
Cherry tomatoes: These tasty, grape-sized tomatoes are family favorites and easy to grow. This is another plant you can start indoors and replant outside when it’s warm enough. Cherry tomatoes do well in moist soil, and full sunlight. They grow fast and ripen quickly, making them great for snacks.
Peppers: These guys need well-draining soil and watered about twice a week. You can start peppers inside, in pots. When the frost is gone, you can plant outside. Plants need to be about 18 inches apart. Hot peppers hardly have any problems with pests!
Herbs: Herbs are easy to grow. The more you prune and pluck them, the fuller they become. They have lovely smells and are very tasty to put into different dishes. Try herbs like basil, mint, thyme, parsley, dill and chives. Most herbs like full sun. Space for their roots to spread.
There you have it: a low-maintenance garden with some yummy vegetables to enjoy. With a little bit of planning and research, you will be in for a relaxing season full of colorful bounty.
What are your low-maintenance gardening tips? Share them in the section below: