Lazy Garden Idea

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Peacock, May 4, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Any reason why this wouldn't work? It's an idea I'm tossing around.

    As I've mentioned on other forums here, we moved into our home about 2 months ago. Still haven't sold our old house, so already we have twice the maintenance. But I MUST grow a garden. I'm sure you understand. :) Now, my DH is very strong and capable, but he's also very busy, and has informed me that if I want a garden this year, it's all on me. He's not going to do a thing. This irritated me, but I can't blame him. He's helped in the past and promised to help next year.

    We don't have a working tiller. (We have a non-working tiller. DH says he knows what's wrong with it, but who knows when he'll get around to fixing it.) So all I can do is dig. I've already removed sod and shovel-tilled about 10' x 20' to prepare and plant strawberry and asparagus beds, and frankly, I'm about dug out. :help:

    I've got 25 tomatoes, 8 peppers, 4 zucchinis and 6 cucumbers sprouted on the sunporch, along with lots of flowers to tuck here and there. They're not quite ready yet, but will be soon.

    DH wants me to place my garden in an area that I don't think gets quite enough sun for tomatoes and such. I have a better area in mind, but for whatever reason, he's not ready for it to be dug up. Up on the hill, where he wants it and near where I put in the other beds, it'd still be fine for cabbage, lettuce, etc.

    The sod isn't too thick up there. And the soil is rich, not too clay-ey, actually really good for a fresh garden spot without any help, at least for one year. So I was thinking, I'll just lay down some landscape fabric, secure it, and cut holes for each seedling. When planting, I'll just dig a hole, toss in a little time-release fertilizer, and be done with it. Except for vertical supports.

    I love landscape fabric. The best veggie garden I ever had was the year I used the stuff. The issue is not removing the sod first. What do you think? Too lazy?
     
  2. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    I guess I'm both lazy and cheap because I wouldn't use landscape fabric but newspaper. It doesn't last more than a season but, if you mulch your beds (wood chips are great and, for me, free), you get the same bang for less bucks. Our ancient family tiller broke 10+ years ago; I haven't missed it.
     

  3. tltater

    tltater Well-Known Member

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    Have you looked into the book Lasagna Gardening? It's a no tilling "lazy" approach.

    Tracy
    Southwestern, NY
     
  4. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    What keeps the newspaper from blowing around? I sure have plenty of it, but can't imagine it would stay put. I can make wood chips too, have a chipper. Don't know how to use it, DH always does it but he's just been burning everything instead.

    I must admit I have a bias against the Lasagna Gardening book because a few years ago I tried to interview the author for a national magazine article and she declined. I never did understand that, it would've promoted her book, but she said it was too much trouble. Not that she was too busy, that it was too much trouble. I cannot abide snooty authors. :)
     
  5. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    Lay 6 to 8 sheets of newspaper (if you have a lot, use more), dampen it and then put woodchips or some other "mulch" on it to hold it down--pulled weeds, grass clippings, whatever. I've never read Lasagna gardening books; this idea came to me in a dream years ago but I don't claim I created it.
     
  6. MsPacMan

    MsPacMan Well-Known Member

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    An easy way to build a raised bed garden:


    Mow the area you want to put the garden in, good and short.


    Place 8 sheet thick piles of newspaper down on top of the area. Wet it down to keep it from flying all over the place.


    Buy some top soil or organic humus either by the bag (e.g WalMart or Home Depot) or else get a truck load of top soil or garden mix trucked in. Put it on top of the newspaper, at least 8 inches thick. 12 inches is better.


    Get a complete fertilizer like the Garden Tone or Plant Tone sold by www.espoma.com. Mix that in to the newly bought soil. I use more than the bag says to use per foot. Because it is not a chemical fertilizer, using extra will enrich your plants without running risk of burning your plants like the chemical fertilizers do.


    If you have access to some aged, completely composed manure or other compost, mix it in too. Compost will make your bed richer, quicker.


    Dig holes the right size and put your plants into your newly built garden bed. Altenatively, you can plant seeds in the new bed. Water as appropriate. If you use transplants, you can mulch your garden that very afternoon. (Three to four inches of shredded tree bark is what I use, but you can use four inches of shredded leaves -- the bagged leaves your neighbors put on the street for the garbagemen to pick up will do -- instead).


    Voila.... you just built a garden bed that you can use for years on end if you maintain it properly.


    And how do you maintain that bed?


    For starters, pull up all plants right after harvest so that they will not sit around and attract pests or disease.


    To keep the soil nutritionally rich and crumbly without having to use a tiller on it, at the end of every season, you will want to pull up your plants (I discard them -- too easy to harbor insects and disease if you try to plow them under). Then get one or more sacks of either cottonseed meal, soybean meal or blood meal, sprinkle it liberally on top of the mulch you have been using all season, then use your shovel to fold the mulch into your still soft and well tilled soil. The meal is used as a composting accelerant (it is a nitrogen source), and will help turn last year's mulch into next year's organic compost.


    Water the garden every week if mother nature does not do it for you, and cover with plastic to keep the bed warmer if you live in frostier climates. Every now and then, fork some air into the soil after wetting it, since the composting process requires both weekly water and air.


    I don't know if this method can work in areas where it is frozen most of the winter, but it works quite well down here in zone 7.


    By planting time in April, most of the mulch has already turned into organic compost. Nice rich soil -- and absolutely no tilling ever!
     
  7. oceandaughter

    oceandaughter Member

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    I'm using a lasagna and square foot approach and the lasagna part is a lot of work! Next year it won't be, but we have been shoveling and toting compost and other materials to the garden bed, not to mention our border, and it is a lot of work!
     
  8. wvpeach1963

    wvpeach1963 WVPEACH (Paula)

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    Check out

    http://squarefootgardening.com

    For a easy way to get your garden up and going.

    I used to do the long rows. now I grow almost everything this way.
     
  9. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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  10. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    re: landscape fsbric....I have it around my bushes out front....I bought the good stuff....15 year, instead of the commonly sold 4 year.....it's just about 14 months in use and the grass is growing through it! I can't imagine how quickly the typical cheap stuff would have given way....
     
  11. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    I appreciate the ideas, but truly, I'm looking for a REALLY fast and lazy shortcut. I might try the newspaper on part of it, but I'm suspecting the newspaper won't let the water penetrate quite as well, hm?

    I am going to do the square foot method next year. This summer - if we sell our old house and I can get my DH back, he spends so much time over there keeping it up - he's going to help me build some raised beds. I plan to stay in this home permanently, and I want a permanent garden setup done properly with good access to water, etc. But this year I just want to stick some plants in teh ground! :)

    Three years ago I used landscape fabric - it was the cheap stuff, bought on sale at Big Lots - and that was the BEST veggie garden I ever had. Virtually no weeding except at the edges, less watering, nice tidy look. But that was in an already tilled garden bed, albeit a very weedy one. By the end of the year the fabric was shot and needed to be tossed, but that was fine by me. I don't know why I didn't do it in subsequent years - just never got around to buying it, I guess. I planned to mulch with straw, ended up mulching with dry grass clippings, leaves, newspaper, what not and it just wasn't nearly as good.
     
  12. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    I've used at least 3 different types of landscape fabric around my flowers and shrubs and only one ever kept the weeds from growing through. It is super thick, blanket-like and extremely expensive mail ordered. One roll didn't go very far. My new puppy is currently locating all the paper-type fabric I put down last year, ripping it and pulling it out. One of the biggest problem I see with the landscape fabric is even if it keeps weeds from growing that eventually your mulch will decompose enough to grow all of the seeds blowing about, so adding more mulch the next year without removing the old just buries the landscape fabric. This spells lots of unnecessary work. So, for me landscape fabric is out. I do have another idea using the gazads of protein tubs FIL has around perennials, bushes and small trees and I'll take some pics after I get under way. Sorry, not meaning to hijack the thread.
     
  13. sue currin

    sue currin Well-Known Member

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    The roots need a much bigger hole then what you will be cutting into the cloth, so dig your holes frist, addmend the soil, then cut the holes and place the plants. I did this with watermellons and it worked out great. Good to hear you are going to do a garden, with all that is going on. Was wondering if a friend could maybe look at the tiller for you, or if you could get a book and fix it yourself.
     
  14. Twogun

    Twogun Zone 5

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    I agree, susieM.
     
  15. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The prolbem with landscape fabric is that you are not adding organic matter to your garden. I just dump grass clippings, straw and paper on my garden and it does the trick! The time I spend on throwing this mulch is offset by not applying fertilizer or spraying for bugs. IMHO.
     
  16. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Just cut a slit into a few manure bags and pop the plants in. Peat moss will work too but you'll need to fertilize it.
     
  17. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    for the really fast and lazy shortcut, hire some one with a tiller or a gardenplow to work it up for you and all you need to do is plant.