Don’t let a little dirt get in your way of planting something. What do I mean? Well, this is the statement made to me…
“I don’t even know how to prepare the ground…”
Honestly, in just about every place I know you can grow something with very little effort. Most back yards will let you turn the dirt over in circle about 18″ in diameter chop up the clumps, and plant a seed right in the middle of it. I used to think to grow a garden you needed rows and rows of tilled earth and if you didn’t rent one of those motorized machines to do it, you were doomed to failure…. it just isn’t so. Now, that’s not to say that you should never do anything to your dirt. Just don’t stress out so much about it that you never do anything.
Little effort plants I posted in “Lets Get Started”. What I didn’t address was the dirt, planting, water and mulch.
The dirt: get your shovel and get it into the dirt as far as you can. Pry it up and turn the whole clump over. Use your shovel then to chop up the clump right there in the hole. Do this in a circle till its about 18″ in diameter. Believe it or not that is enough room for most easy veggies to grow. If you want to be sure, get yourself a bag of organic potting soil (I prefer Square Foot Gardening) and mix a bit of it into the soil you chopped up.
The Planting: When planting the seeds I suggested follow the basic directions on the package right in the middle of your circle. Make sure you pat it down gently so your seeds don’t float but don’t get overboard or it’ll struggle coming up.
The Water: Since you created yourself a hole, there is no need to water your entire yard just to water your plant. Fill the hole with water daily till your plant peeks its head out. If you want to be able to turn on your water and walk away by all means bust out the sprinkler! Another fun way to water is to take a super cheap hose (or just a old one wearing out) and lay it out in whatever pattern your circles are in and cut tiny holes in the hose at each circle. Crimp the end of your hose with a heavy rubber band (I use hair ties) then turn your water on low and enjoy your very easy and adjustable “drip system”.
The Mulch: Once your beautiful little baby pops its head out mulch the circle with something biodegradable and good for next years garden. Example: my property has a lot of clay in the soil so I mulch with wood chips so that I can turn those under and in doing so increase the organic matter in my soil for water retention next year! Here are some great mulches; wood chips, straw, pine shavings, pine needles, nut shells, leaves and even cardboard that isn’t waxed. Get creative but remember where you live. If its hot mulch lightly colored, if its cold mulch dark colored, if its windy mulch heavy such as nut shells. Mulch is for water retention and weed suppression so have fun!
No one said a garden has to have rows! Not to say there isn’t a purpose for rows just don’t get stuck on it. I planted pumpkins at the base of my greenhouse short wall and it caught all the rain water and dropped it right on my pumpkins. The beauty was the leaves! I grow an heirloom called Big Max and the leaves can stand as tall as my waste! Oh how they were gorgeous wrapping all the way around the greenhouse and providing shade for the inside and a green background and wonderful yellow/orange flowers to look at from my back porch. I’ve told several people now to try growing pumpkins about a foot from the base of their gutter down spouts. Train them to follow the house and before you know it, you’ll have greenery that after the first frost will surprise you with great big gifts that had been hiding underneath. Little work… great pie!
Lets talk about raised beds briefly. I love my raised beds. I recommend it for any gardener for a multiplicity of reasons. However, its June. Don’t worry about it this year. We’ll build some beds in late fall after canning when there isn’t much growing but we want to be outside cultivating for next year. I am all about recycling and there are so many fun ways to build beds for very little cost so I may go over some ideas before then so you can start grabbing materials sooner. For now, plant a squash anywhere.
Genesis 8:22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.
Just try, if you mess it all up, try again next year.