Gardening Tips survival gardening

Keeping Gardening Simple Has Many Benefits

Keeping gardening simple, not only makes it easier in the best of times, but could make all the difference in your chances for survival in hard times. I’ll go over many of the benefits of using my suggestions for doing that in this post.

Those who have a more complicated way of gardening may want to keep these benefits in mind just in case gardening becomes a matter of survival.

Survey reports 16-24 million new gardeners in 2020 and 2021

With all the gardening  “methods” that are promoted online, I would imagine it was overwhelming for many beginning gardeners.

Many who chose what looked like an easy way to start may have found out that it was not what they’d hoped for.

Chinese cabbage in middle of May in my garden.

How Do I Know?

I know because in my first 10 years of gardening I tried just about every organic method of gardening. In addition to my regular garden, I’d start a small section each year using a “new” method.

Why Did I Do That?

It was important to prove to myself that I was gardening — not only the easiest way – but the way that would give me the best results with minimal costs, time, and no watering (since I have no means to water).

At the end of my 4th decade of gardening, a broken leg and being out of commission for almost a year, proved to me even more that my way of gardening is about as close to no work gardening as one can get.

My book Organic Gardening (Cutting Through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening) explains in detail the 3 simple things that help guarantee a successful garden.

You can see the table of contents here.

You can see a list of questions answered in the book here.

If you don’t have my book you can search TMG for the information you need.  There are more than 700 posts to help you.

More Rare Benefits of Using the 3 Keys

_My 3 keys to success allow you to put your garden on hold if you can’t work it for a  period of time. If you’ve prepared it as I suggest and have removed all perennial weeds, you can cover with a thick mulch to keep your garden until you can get to it.

_You can even use your spring weeds to maintain your garden. Details of that technique were explained in various emails to TMG subscribers  when I was using it in 2019 while recovering from being “down and out” for so long.

_ And it’s so easy you don’t need power tools. So if the grid goes or if you can’t get fuel, you can still garden.

At almost 80 years of age, slow as molasses, and walking with a crutch, I still keep my 2,500 square foot garden with a few simple hand tools as I’ve done for 42 years.

By following my suggestions for keeping gardening simple, you’ll find

  • costs are minimal,
  • weeding can be kept to about 10 minutes every day or so
  • and raising food won’t be as time consuming as you may think.

Two Things to Consider BEFORE Choosing What You’ll Plant and How Much

These are two things that will go a long way towards saving you a lot of time and keeping gardening simple.

#1 – Be Realistic About What You Can “Tend”

I know from experience exactly what I’ll be able to “tend to” when it comes to growing food.  Thus, I don’t plant more than I can handle OR more than I can use.

If you’re new to gardening and get into a situation where you find that inexperience has caused you to take on too much you can still benefit from those extra crops. Here’s how:

By pulling up what you can’t handle and piling on a bed your soil will benefit as it decays.  Nothing will be wasted.  Cover with straw or leaves and when it’s finished decaying you can leave it on that bed or spread it on your other beds. (You can also do this with any excess you may have that can’t be preserved.)

#2 – Consider What Benefit Each Crop Offers You and Your family

Benefits Include:

  • Nutritional Value
  • Storage potential (with and without power if the grid were to go down)
  • Ease of harvest
  • What other crops will come in at the same time adding to each day’s harvest time
  • It’s a family favorite

Final Thought – Stay Tuned

In the next post I’ll list various crops I grow, tell you why I grow them, and give other miscellaneous pieces of information that might help you in your garden.

Larger blueberry variety starting to ripen in mid June

Suggested Reading:

Gardening Advice – Who Should We Follow?

Another Gardening Method Around Every Corner


All content including photos is copyright by All Rights Reserved.


  • Always good advice Theresa and important for new gardeners and old

    Enjoy your garden


  • Thanks for commenting Ray. I was just thinking about you today. It’s always good to hear from you.
    So glad Diane connected us to each other all those years ago.
    All my best,

  • Thank you Theresa, I find this a really good post to share with those people who are asking me why I garden the way I do.
    I look forward to your next post!
    I’m thinking of you
    PS: The first few of my onions are up!

  • “Organic Gardening – Cutting thru the hype” and “Secrets to Seed Starting”
    These are both great resources for home gardeners – sharing years of experience and helpful tips.

  • I also tried different methods in the beginning. Many of the different “method” developers are too rigid, my way or the highway types. Instead, I take what works for me from each to make my own method. Each gardener has their own unique soil, microclimate, and other environmental conditions, as well as their needs, wants, physical abilities, amount of time and so forth. It’s fun to try something new. It’s great if it works, easy to discard if it doesn’t.
    PS: Glad to see you writing again.

  • Enjoyed your post about “the path” to finding your comfort zone garden was enlightening. I too have ventured down that path and still will try something different on a small scale to see if it works. However I now am much more practical and sensible in my golden years. Love your book and wish you many happy hours of peace and happiness….

  • Giulia, I love it that you’re going to use this post to explain to people why you garden a you do.
    The change in your garden has been as much fun for me as for you! It’s been a great journey!
    I know you were glad to see your onions come up. Now – to see what they do!

    Good hearing from you. Appreciate what you said about the books.
    Do you and Alice have Big Beef growing this year?

    You made such an important statement when you said, “Each gardener has their own unique soil, microclimate, and other environmental conditions, as well as their needs, wants, physical abilities, amount of time and so forth.

    I think that’s sometimes difficult for new gardeners (especially) to realize. That’s what makes each garden so different.

    Good to be writing again and appreciate your noticing.

    Nice to be on this gardening journey with you Alice.

    I love what you said to me many years ago — that my easy way of doing things made it so you could garden more than would otherwise be possible.

    I too would hate to have to do everything conventional gardeners do!

    Glad you’re still lovin’ the book. Thanks for letting me know.


  • My experiment using “soil in a bag” that I use for potting figs failed and my tomatoes never developed true leaves. I was afraid to get out due to COVID to get the items I use from “Secrets to Seed Starting Success”, hence I used the “soil in a bag” that I had. I ended up ordering tomato transplants online. I’m making sure to stock up on supplies this year!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience Julie.
    As I’ve stated in several posts“Real soil doesn’t come in bags. Real soil is made up of sand, clay, organic matter, water, air, minerals, and a multitude of living organisms.”

    For readers who want to know more about bagged soil vs real soil – this post will give you the information you need.

    Another post to review is:

  • Yes, we are growing Big Beef this year. We were able to enjoy one for father’s day. Looking forward to the rest of the summer.
    Thank you

  • Fantastic that you had a tomato for father’s day Gordon!
    Thanks for the update.
    You and Alice enjoy the summer!

  • Thank You Theresa for continuing your gardening blog, even in difficult times, it is encouraging. I also wanted you to know I did get a water storage tank for back up in dry California. You have said before you are not a fan of raised bed gardening, but for me it has been a blessing. Maybe I don’t use them the same way most people do. I don’t fill them all the way up, but dig down in the soil underneath first and add compost and soil about 1/2 full then plant. This method has protected my plants from wind, frost and dehydration.

  • Hey Valerie,
    Great that you were able to get a water storage tank.
    And sounds like you’ve come up with a great way to adapt raised beds
    to work with nature and at the same time protect your plants from wind,
    frost and dehydration.
    Thanks for the update.
    Wishing you continued success!

  • I wish to ask you a question about garden crop rotation and successive planting in the season. First do you always rotate your crops? Some plants are great at reseeding and some like potatoes don’t play well with others and would be difficult to rotate where they have been growing.
    I read all the time about planting every 2 weeks to extend your growing season and harvest, but I wonder where they mean to plant.
    Thank You,

  • Yes, Valerie I rotate most crops. Certain things sometimes stay in the same place like strawberries unless I see a problem.

    Potatoes pretty much stay the season in a bed, but you can plant something else there next year.
    If you do leave them in the same bed, watch for any signs of disease. I would not recommend it unless your soil is ultra healthy.

    Alliums do best with at least a 3 year rotation and preferably 4.
    This is really hard for me since I grow lots of garlic and onions, but I make it work for the 3 year rotation.

    “Where” you plant when succession planting depends a lot on how much room you have.
    If you have very limited space you can plan ahead to designate an area you can spare for let’s say lettuce. Then plant a quarter of that area with the first planting, a quarter again for the 2nd planting and so forth.

    When spring crops finish up, you can plant other things in those beds. For example if you have a row of early onions planted, you’ll harvest in June and then can plant other things like snap beans for example. Or you could save the area for fall and winter crops.

    Or if you have a row of winter lettuce planted – you can plant other things in that bed when the lettuce is finished in early summer.

    And yes some crops do reseed like dill for example. When that happens I usually leave it.

    Tomatoes reseed like crazy but you can transplant the ones you want. I do have a cherry tomato outside my garden that reseeds each year and I leave at least one plant in that area. But in my garden I keep tomatoes on a 3 year rotation.

    Hopefully this answers some of your concerns. If not, ask me more specifics and I’ll try to help you more.

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