Nearly Work-Free Vegetable Gardening

Nearly Work-Free Vegetable Gardening

Growing vegetables from your own garden is one of the best ways to provide your family with healthy and fresh produce. But starting a garden can be a time consuming and intimidating process, particularly for beginners. Fear of the amount of labor and time involved in planting and maintaining a garden keeps many would-be gardeners out of the garden and in the supermarket instead.

Much of this fear may be misplaced, however. There has been much experimentation in the gardening community in recent years aimed at developing innovative ways to reduce the amount of time and labor spent gardening, often with sensational results. Although there may be no such thing as completely work free vegetable gardening, there are definitely ways in which you are able to dramatically reduce the amount of labor and time you need to spend in your garden.

One of the best ways to lessen the work spent preparing and weeding your garden is through a gardening method known as “Lasagna Gardening” or “Sheet Mulching.” Lasagna gardening is a non-traditional, no-till method of gardening that relies on blanketing a garden plot with multiple layers of mulch obtained from locally available, and preferably organic, sources (such as weed clippings, chopped leaves, animal manure, compost, sawdust or seaweed). The lasagna gardening method greatly reduces the time and labor needed to prepare a new garden plot, and some gardeners report that they spend almost no time at all weeding a well-mulched lasagna garden. This may be as close to work free vegetable gardening as one can get.

Here are some additional suggestions to greatly reduce the amount of time and labor spent in your vegetable garden:

– Grow prolific vegetables. Vegetables like summer squash, pole green beans and indeterminate tomatoes produce large quantities of produce for extended periods during the summer. The amount of labor they require is very small in comparison to the harvest you will reap. - Keep your garden small. It is easy to be overwhelmed by your garden, and many gardeners end up either producing much more than they can consume or giving up entirely. You will only need one or two zucchini or tomato plants to feed most families. - Choose vegetables well suited for your climate. Although growing a long-season winter squash in Maine or keeping a heat-sensitive lettuce variety from bolting in Florida may be noteworthy accomplishments, they are also time-consuming projects. Stick to growing vegetables that are best suited to your region. - Choose vegetable varieties that have a reputation of being easy to grow. Many seed catalogs will mark certain vegetable varieties as being especially easy to grow. Select these varieties if they are available.

By using gardening methods such as lasagna gardening and focusing on growing the most prolific, easy to grow vegetables for your region, you are on your way to nearly work free vegetable gardening.

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