Organic Gardening

Hassle-Free Organic Gardening

In February one of the newspapers in our area, the Rappahannock Record in Kilmarnock, contacted me and asked me to do an article for their Windows Home & Garden supplement to be released for Garden Week.

The young woman in charge wrote, “—we were wondering if you could write about a hassle-free way of organic gardening. Lots of folks would like to go organic but don’t have a lot of time to invest. What are some ways to start? We understand you have a wonderful website on the subject.”

Various TMG articles have been published by The Journal in King George, Virginia, but they have been more entertaining articles rather than articles that really address organic gardening.  So, I was a bit surprised that a newspaper wanted a serious organic gardening article for release at Garden Week no less.

Below is the article  I wrote for the paper entitled: Hassle-Free Organic Gardening

If you’re like me and only have a limited amount of time to spend gardening you’ll want to make the most effective use of your time. When you garden organically nature can do most of the work for you.  By cooperating with her you’ll be amazed at the time you can save in the garden.

Organic gardening is growing things without using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It’s a way of gardening that replaces what it uses.  It’s a simple concept based on building healthy, living soil through the addition of organic material. Good soil is the basis of any successful food production and without it — crops struggle and so does the gardener. To have a hassle-free garden, you have to build healthy soil.

Good News

You don’t have to wade through volumes of gardening books.  No need to subject yourself and your food to harmful poisons to prevent insects and disease. And you don’t need 10-10-10 and lime.

No need to put in long grueling hours in the hot sun in the middle of the summer. We have an acre with borders all around and lots of perennials. Plus our vegetable garden is about 40′ x 60′. Even with all that, the only thing I do in the heat of summer is harvest for about 45 minutes to an hour— very early and very late. Most of my yearly maintenance like pruning shrubs, cutting ornamental grasses, and adding straw to the borders and garden is done in the fall and winter months.

It Gets Even Better

  • You don’t have to water either, unless you really want to. Even in drought – a garden that works with nature will be able to sustain itself much longer than a conventional garden.
  • Weeds — when there are some — are easy to get out. Five minutes or less each time out takes care of pulling the few weeds that spring up in my garden.
  • No prepping the garden each year.  Your preparation is done only once when you start gardening. After that you just pull back the mulch and plant.

My way of gardening is probably as close as you’ll come to gardening without work, but to be successful in any endeavor without effort (or action) is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.

The 3 Basics to Success

Whether you have clay soil or sandy soil, there are only three basic things you have to do to be successful.

#1. Prepare your soil properly. (You only do this once.)
#2. Continually add organic material (leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc.) to your soil which turns to organic matter.
#3. Mulch your soil.

How to Get Started

A. If you’re new to gardening, plan your bed or border small enough that you’ll be able to manage it without going into overwhelm. If you take on more than you can chew the tendency will be to give up and you’ll have nothing to show.  If you take it little by little  – or as much as your time will allow (even if it’s only 10 to 30 minutes at a time) you’ll be encouraged to continue and consistency will reward you.

B. Your greatest effort in gardening should be in the preparation of your soil:

  • getting the sod up,
  • taking the roots and weeds out,
  • loosening the soil to a depth of 1 to 2 feet,
  • and adding organic material.

By not short-cutting this step you’ll  have something to show for your efforts. Time spent in soil preparation is one of THE MAIN ways to cut work to a minimum in the future.

C. Protect your investment by mulching.

  • Mulching keeps your ground from crusting, compacting and eroding.
  • It’ll also help add a continual supply of organic matter, not to mention almost doing away with weeds.  (Some sneak through now and then, but nothing compared to what bare soil allows to grow.)
  • It’ll also keep the roots of your plants cooler in the boiling heat of summer. That allows them to produce more.

If you’ve wanted to start an organic garden but have hesitated because you thought it would take too much time: start small, prepare your soil properly, continually add organic material, and mulch.  You’ll find that you’ll have more to show for your efforts with each passing year.  And — it’ll make your organic gardening hassle free.

END Article

Related Post:

3 Simple Things to guarantee a Successful Gardens (There are 12 other posts listed at the end of this related post.)


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Great article and so true. My first gardening experience started many, many years ago (50 years) and I read Ruth Stout’s book and subscribed to Rodale’s Organic Gardening magazine.

    We lived in the San Joaquin Valley (California farm country) on a ranch and I got some old, rotted hay from a neighbor. I spread it thick along with newspaper and waited for my “no digging” garden to grow. Well, what a great crop of weeds I had.

    Johnson grass and just about any kind of weed crop California can grow came up in that garden. I still use this method, but have stuck to straw and raised beds. Our Nevada soil has a hard time growing weeds. I have amended my soil organically and it is just beautiful. I was out in the garden yesterday and love to pull back the straw and dig my hands into that rich black soil and smell it.

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Thank you for your efforts. I have learned so much.

  • Kudos to you, Theresa! You are sending the message out to the world (by invitation) and my strong belief is that some will hear it and incorporate some of it.

    Once we try the “hassle-free” methods, it has a way of “growing” in our hearts…if not our heads. It’s such a practical way of “hooking” the attention of the gardener, but then the plants will respond so beautifully that the “right-ness” of the method starts to reveal itself…and all because we want to save time and get more done and all the rest of the busy life.

    You rock!



  • Your post brought a smile to my face, Alice. I think we’ve all been through the “great crop of weeds” scenario.

    As far as I know, I think Ruth Stout was the first one that made a gardener feel you could relax and let nature do the work — although she didn’t just put it in those words. I know when I read what she had to say many years ago — a great sense of relief came over me —- and stayed. 🙂

    And wasn’t Organic Gardening magazine WONDERFUL back then! Unlike today.

    Wish I could visit your garden and see that beautiful soil. I’ll think of you from now on when I go out and pull back the straw and dig into the beautiful rich black soil in my garden.

    So glad you have enjoyed and learned from TMG. Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know!

  • Good to hear from you Gail. Was just thinking about you yesterday!
    You have a way with words. What you said, “Once we try the “hassle-free” methods, it has a way of “growing” in our hearts…if not our heads”, was a great way to put it. Once the “right-ness” of it all reveals itself — you just automatically know what to do. You just feel it.

    I shudder when I think of all folks think they have to do that they don’t have to do. No wonder more people don’t garden!

    Thanks for the encouragement, Gail.

  • Lovely and encouraging words from your readers, Theresa. I hope lots of people read and then get out there and get going. You’ve certainly had that effect on me!

  • That makes me happy Sandra. If everyone knew how simple it all is —they’d be out in the garden doing! Thanks for commenting and letting me know the effect I’ve had.

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