Let’s be fair. Most gardeners are not lazy. They’re passionate about growing plants, vegetables and herbs — sometimes to the point of obsession. And they have a love for being outdoors. When that isn’t possible, they make do by growing things on the fire escape outside their apartment. So, being lazy and being a gardener seems like the ultimate contradiction.
That being said, like everyone else in today’s world, gardeners are being pulled in several directions at once, so even if they aren’t lazy, they need to streamline their gardening efforts to check off all those other items on their to-do list. So here are 10 tips for a busy gardener (and that seldom-found lazy one) to help them fit gardening into a hectic lifestyle.
1. Speedy bulb planting
If you have a lot of fall bulbs to plant, try using a drill with a spade bit about half an inch wider than the bulbs. You’ll get them planted in a fraction of the usual time.
2. Plant perennials
Perennials are the plants that come back year after year, saving gardeners money — and lots of time. A Heuchera is a perfect example of one of these foolproof plants, and they come in many varieties.
3. Forget about tilling
Tilling the soil is hard work and takes up hours of time. And although tilling might initially create a surge of oxygen to the garden, if you do it every year, it kills off essential fungal networks and beneficial life forms.
4. Save time cleaning tools
You can make a self-cleaning and self-sharpening garden tool holder. All you need is a mid-size terra-cotta pot, sand and mineral oil. The abrasive sand will keep the tools sharp while the oil keeps them lubricated so they won’t get any dirt or rust buildup.
5. Put watering on autopilot
A drip irrigation system can be simple (such as a soaker hose) or a bit more complex (as shown below). Either way, the system delivers water directly to the plant, where it seeps slowly into the soil one drop at a time. Not only does this save precious water, but it also saves time.
6. Keep weeds at bay with mulch
Weeding can be a full-time job unless you stop weeds from appearing in the first place. Save money by making mulch from compost, straw, wood chips, leaves or pine needles and adding it to areas where you want to keep weeds at bay.
7. Plant low-maintenance vegetables
Some vegetables are easy to grow, providing something delicious and healthful without all the work and aggravation. Cherry tomatoes top the list, which also includes asparagus, onions, beans and peppers.
8. Install a flagstone walkwa
Putting down a flagstone path is cheap and simple. Using soil between the stones is the easiest method. Pour straight vinegar into the soil, and you’ll never be bothered by weeds.
9. Save some weeding with ground cover
You know those areas you hate to weed? Plant ground cover instead. You might have to do some watering, but you can leave the hoe in the toolshed. A minimum of research will show which plants grow best in your area.
10. Use black plastic between plants
An effortless way to kill weeds is to stop them from seeing any light. Simply cover the weeds with black plastic sheeting, and they will turn yellow and die.