Secrets of a Low-Maintenance Vegetable Gardencomments (1) July 26th, 2011
I'm on the road to mastering the light-touch veggie garden. With a new baby in my life, time is extremely limited so I took a new tack this summer. The keys to limiting time in the garden seem to be selecting mild-mannered plants, using weed-taming tricks, and avoiding seeds.
I stuck to foolproof vegetables like zucchini, bush beans, cucumber, potatoes, garlic, swiss chard, and tomatoes since I didn't have time for demanding plants. Low-fuss perennials like asparagus, rhubarb, and herbs like chives and thyme are also great.
No one likes weeding, so it seems to me the best way to avoid the tedious task is to keep them from growing. This year I put black plastic weed block over all the open soil in my garden. Anywhere I couldn't get the weedblock to fit, I covered with woodchips. It looks a little tacky but it sure beats pesky weeds choking out my plants. Chime in if you have any tips for success with weedblock or mulch.
I love seeds, but this was not the year for that. They take time to carefully plant and thin. Plus, it's really hard to make the little seeds play nice with weedblock.
So, I did the bulk of my effort early in the season. With a couple afternoons of effort, I've been able to let the garden go a bit, visiting just to water, prune a bit, and harvest.
In other news, I also use a big tomato trellis to keep the vines in line. This big swing-set-like structure looks like overkill but I love how easy it is to keep the tomato plants under control using Lee Raich's pruning technique. More pruning tips here.
This is my first year nurturing a vegetable garden that "thrives on neglect," in the coming years I hope to get it down to a science. In the meantime, anyone out there have tips on more easy-to-grow veggies or ways to keep the weeds and pests at bay?
posted in: mulch, weedblock