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.
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.
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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