What makes You an "Easy" Gardener?

digitS'

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I don't really mean a participant in TEG. Although, that should certainly lead to learning about others' successes (& stumbles) and guide our own direction in the garden.

I mean something like this: I want success. So, I like diversity -- how can the stellar performance of the tomatoes, the okay performance of the peppers, and the poor performance of the eggplant be anticipated? After decades of experience, I can't even be confident of a guess.

There are 4 or 5 varieties of eggplants, about that number of peppers, and about a dozen tomatoes. Not all of them in those groups did poor, okay, and stellar! For sure, the Apple Green eggplant did better than any season out of the last several. The Giant Marconi and Mucho Natcho did just fine. The 4 tomato plants in "the neighbor's" garden here at home probably rate a C-. (I don't expect stellar performance for the potted cherries at the foot of the backsteps but those other4 were in the ground 🙁.)

Something else that makes gardening easier for me under this heading I suppose is a wishy-washy attitude. Of course, I'd call it flexibility. I'm willing to try new things. That's an important reason for me to be on TEG :). @Trish Stretton is a no-pesticide gardener. Well, I try not to be poisoning things out there and tried something that I thought was an interesting idea this year - deterence. So, composted mint tea was sprinkled on the cabbage instead of insecticidal soap or neem oil. Aphids have entirely ruined cabbage plants some years. They showed up but it has been a super cabbage year and they really got ahead of the bugs. Was it that compost tea :hu? Maybe so.

Well, that's a couple of personal quirks that make gardening easier for me ...

Steve :)
 

flowerbug

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you can easily make more work for yourself than you'll ever accomplish, so, yeah, being a bit more laid back can make things easier on yourself. :) for me one aspect of that is not freaking out over every weed or bug found in the gardens. after a while you learn that certain weeds are ok and how to manage them and others you figure out that nuke on sight is definitely the right approach.

same with bugs...

for me the easy stuff is making a garden bigger so there is less edge to manage, stirrup hoe, low till, diversity, fences, good nozzles and valves on the hoses and when the weather gets hot a siesta.
 

Zeedman

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I've just come to accept that gardening on a large scale will never be "easy"... I just try to find ways to make it "easy-er".

In some cases, that means just not growing something that is labor-intensive, or insect bait. As much as I would like to grow potatoes, they fall in both categories. My heavy soil & Colorado potato beetles have made it impractical for me to grow them here. That may change, I've purchased a leaf vacuum to collect the neighbor's leaves & will try growing potatoes in bags of shredded leaves... at which point the only remaining difficulty is the beetles. :mad: A single problem, however vexing, is easier to deal with.

Good fencing helps a lot, it has eliminated damage from large herbivores. Growing vertically as much as possible not only discourages deer from jumping the fence (by denying them a place to land), it greatly reduces insect damage & spoilage. Mice are a persistent problem, but ironically they are worse at home than they are in the rural garden. The property owner there has several semi-feral cats, which hunt the mice in that garden with great efficiency. Their dogs keep the ground hogs at bay - I am blessed to have so many predators there protecting the garden.

Liberal use of straw or hay as mulch helps to maintain soil moisture. This really improves the overall health of the plants, and the quality of the produce - especially for beans, eggplant, and peppers. It also reduces diseases due to mud splash, and adds organic material when turned under. It does occasionally cause problems if the bales contain excessive amounts of weed seed (I'm still battling ragweed from a bad batch several years ago)... but the benefits outweigh the risks. It would be helpful if I can find a good source year-after-year, I'll propose that to the next good source I find.

Finding the right varieties for my soil & climate has revolutionized my garden. I'm blessed to live within driving range of Heritage Farm, which is SSE's headquarters in Iowa. Their soil & climate are very similar to my own. Anyone, whether member or not, can walk the grounds & view their gardens. In gardens located throughout their property, they grow hundreds of heirloom & OP varieties each year for seed or observation. There are often many varieties of a vegetable growing in a given plot, where you can observe their strengths, weaknesses, and differences side-by-side. It is essentially the nation's largest publicly-accessible test garden. Those observations led to most of the beans, tomatoes, and peppers that I currently grow, and greatly improved my chances for success.

I can easily get carried away in discussions about gardening, so I should probably stop now, before I get my second wind. ;)
 

ninnymary

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Easy for me is having a small garden making it easy to manage. I have 1 4x10 raised bed and 2 4x4 beds and 1 4x7 bed. Since it's right outside the back door, I walk out there and see it numerous times a day. Thus being able to catch any problem early. Of course this excludes catching critters who like to eat my stuff.

The good news this fall is that I picked 2 lemons yesterday! Last year the rats ate the rinds of every single one.

Of course my garden is weed free. ;):p

Mary
 

flowerbug

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I've just come to accept that gardening on a large scale will never be "easy"... I just try to find ways to make it "easy-er".

In some cases, that means just not growing something that is labor-intensive, or insect bait. As much as I would like to grow potatoes, they fall in both categories. My heavy soil & Colorado potato beetles have made it impractical for me to grow them here. That may change, I've purchased a leaf vacuum to collect the neighbor's leaves & will try growing potatoes in bags of shredded leaves... at which point the only remaining difficulty is the beetles. :mad: A single problem, however vexing, is easier to deal with.

Good fencing helps a lot, it has eliminated damage from large herbivores. Growing vertically as much as possible not only discourages deer from jumping the fence (by denying them a place to land), it greatly reduces insect damage & spoilage. Mice are a persistent problem, but ironically they are worse at home than they are in the rural garden. The property owner there has several semi-feral cats, which hunt the mice in that garden with great efficiency. Their dogs keep the ground hogs at bay - I am blessed to have so many predators there protecting the garden.

Liberal use of straw or hay as mulch helps to maintain soil moisture. This really improves the overall health of the plants, and the quality of the produce - especially for beans, eggplant, and peppers. It also reduces diseases due to mud splash, and adds organic material when turned under. It does occasionally cause problems if the bales contain excessive amounts of weed seed (I'm still battling ragweed from a bad batch several years ago)... but the benefits outweigh the risks. It would be helpful if I can find a good source year-after-year, I'll propose that to the next good source I find.

...

I can easily get carried away in discussions about gardening, so I should probably stop now, before I get my second wind. ;)
on that last part you'll hear no complaints from me. keep going... :)

as far as a good source, while i appreciate the diversity of nutrients in hay as mulch it's just way too much potential for bad weed invasions and i'd never use it. even straw can have some contaminant weed seeds in there (and if it doesn't it means the field was likely sprayed with herbicides i'd not want the residues from too).

the only ways i've got to trust what is going on here for mulches is if i grow them myself. cover cropping and turning things under so that i know what's going on. i just can't let this be someone else's responsibility...
 

Zeedman

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I suppose the easy part is gardening where I can only do so for half of the year.

The downside is... there is no garden for half of the year. :( That half of the year is spent watching transparent carrots growing from the gutters, and shoveling freeze-dried water. And dreaming & planning for greener days.

All of which is part & parcel of gardening. It wouldn't be challenging or fulfilling if it was "easy".
 

digitS'

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It was mice in the potatoes that turned me against mulch in the veggie garden, @Zeedman .

A couple of times, I've stacked bags of chicken manure at the corner of the garden. Mice have torn a hole to get inside. I guess that they were eating it 🤢.

Then, bindweed and quack grass simply moved from my ornamental garden paths, under the mulch, into the beds. Dang, that didn't work either. I thought rain-spoiled alfalfa would be a real good choice. Nope. This is such a good place to grow alfalfa that it exists as a weed. Composted, it worked just fine.

Something that has helped with the gardening is being on the same sprinkler system as the neighbor. That saves me drives to and from and sitting around watching the sprinklers turn around or hanging out at the park for hours.

Steve
 

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