Let’s Garden the Easy Way – 3 Key Strategies to an Easy Garden!
Lynn Gillespie is an organic farmer and gardening educator at TheLivingFarm.org. She specializes in teaching High Performance Garden systems and is the author of the High Performance Garden eBook and the creator of the Abundance Garden and the Leafy Greens Container Garden courses. Lynn and her family have been Paleo for 4 years and you can also find her at her blog, PaleoGardening.com
Do you dream of garden fresh vegetables? What about tomato juice dripping down your chin? How do other people garden so easily while you struggle to grow a house plant?
The people who are having an easy time at gardening have figured out the 3 key strategies for gardening the easy way. Not only will your garden be easy, it will be nutrient dense and weed free.
Are you ready to discover these 3 key strategies to the best garden possible? Let’s go over each of these and show you how you can have an easy productive garden too.
Key Strategy #3 Superior Soil
There are 3 types of soil found on this planet.
Clay soil – this soil is sticky and dense.
Sandy soil – is too porous, so it won’t hold the water or nutrients your plants need.
Loam soil – this is the perfect blend of clay, sand and organic matter.
The majority of gardeners won’t have the soil to succeed. 99% of our backyards have clay or sandy soil with no organic matter. This happens because the subsoil which was excavated to build your house got put on the top of the soil surface. The subsoil is not good soil for growing plants.
Plants like to grow in sandy loam that has a lot of organic matter. To fix the soil in your yard to meet the standards that the plants like takes a lot of amendments and time. Gardeners make growing difficult on themselves because of their poor soil.
When a plant is in the wrong type of soil it has a hard time getting enough nutrients, it is also prone to attacks from pest and diseases, and it may lose roots to drowning or drying out.
The other problem with backyard soil is that it contains weed seeds; when you water and feed the soil the weeds grow big and strong. So, you will want to get out your backyard soil and use container gardening. That way you can contain your superior soil.
Key Strategy #2 Mulch Magic
Mulching the garden is the second key strategy to an easy garden (read this if you don’t know what mulch is). When you mulch your garden with organic materials such as grass clippings or straw you are making your garden easier in 3 ways.
- The mulch will hold in the moisture so you don’t have to water as much.
- The mulch will add organic matter that the plants need to thrive.
- The mulch, if put on thick enough, will suppress the weeds.
When you mulch your garden you will have great savings in time and effort. I have a garden that is mulched and I don’t need a rototiller and I don’t have to use a hoe. I have learned to keep a thick layer of mulch on the garden. Now I rarely pull a weed! It is fun and easy to have a garden where most of the activities are planting and harvesting, not weeding.
Key Strategy #1 Superior System
The third key strategy to easily growing your plants is to grow them in the right system. There are 4 basic types of gardening systems.
- Chemical row garden
- Organic row garden
- Chemical container garden
- Organic container garden
A chemically grown garden will not allow you to grow the highest nutrient dense food. The chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides harm the microbial life in the soil and keep the plant from getting all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. As Paleo eaters we know that chemically grown food is not the best food and we want organically grown. It is not harder to grow an organic garden than a chemical garden; it is just a different set of growing skills.
So, let’s look at the organic row garden verses the container garden.
The row garden was grown in long rows so that it could be cared for with the horse and plow, and in more modern times with the rototiller. This is the type of garden that most people try.
I started in a row garden and found it to be way too hard, weedy and the production was too low. The average production in 2008 in a row garden was ½ pound of food per square foot. To amend the soil in your yard to meet the standards that the plants like takes a lot of amendments and time. I know a lady who grows a row garden. She has been amending her soil for 30 years, and still complains about how bad her soil is. There is another gardening method that skips this stage and starts with the perfect soil, container gardens.
Container gardens are any gardens that have borders and custom made soil. These custom made soils don’t have any native soil in them so we eliminate the weed seeds from the start!
These containers take many shapes such as towers; pots and even little kid swimming pools! My favorite container garden is a cinder-block garden. I stack my cinder-blocks 2 high, which gives me 16 inches of amazing soil for my plants to grow in. The great thing about a container garden is that you can grow them anywhere; in the yard, on the driveway, and even on the roof top.
After decades of gardening for my family and farm and experimenting with all of the organic gardening systems available; I created my own system that is easy, productive and time efficient.
I am a busy mom running a farm – I didn’t have time for any bad gardening systems. Over decades and with lots of experiments a system developed. I have named it the high performance garden system.
The high performance garden has the extra features, above the organic container garden we need to grow food easily. This system is:
- completely organic
- virtually weed free
- pest and disease resistant
- takes very little time or effort
- well planned and uses all of the space available
- incredibly productive and enjoyable (life is too short to not enjoy your garden)
In my High Performance Demonstration Garden we grew over 5 pounds of produce per square foot. Compare this to the 2008 study of average home gardens that grew only ½ a pound per square foot. Once you get into a high performance type garden you can grow enough food for 3 people in 128 sq. ft. When the size of the garden drops, the garden takes a lot less time and is way easier. For a row garden to produce the same amount of food it would have to be over 1200 sq. ft. Smaller is way easier, and will fit into your back yard and busy life better. The High Performance Garden system is out producing row gardens by 10 times! In this system we rely on the perfect soil from day one!
Once you get started in a high performance garden, they practically grow themselves. In our demonstration garden that was 128 sq. ft. we grew 743 pounds of organic nutrient dense food with only 15 minutes per day of work and the street value of that produce was $2560. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Easy gardens are a joy. They look great in your yard and they can save you $1000s off of your grocery bill. As a Paleo-eater I encourage you to start your garden today. Go scout out your 128 square foot today! Your life will never be the same.
For more help with starting your high performance gardening, check out the free online garden community at http://thelivingfarm.org/high-performance-garden-community/