Lazy Girl’s Guide to an Awesome Garden 

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If you’ve got the urge to grow things but need some serious short cuts that will get you beautiful flowers, plants, and even vegetables without a lot of work or hassle then you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got 5 of the top gardening tips so you can enjoy an awesome garden in less time and with less worry and less stress than you think!

Spring and summer in Wisconsin bring out the gardener in me!

And when I say gardener, I mean the person who wants to have beautiful flowers, fresh tomatoes, crispy lettuce, and savory herbs ready to be picked and enjoyed.

Full disclosure –  I’m not so big on the planting, watering, weeding, worrying about pests, etc. part of all that. My husband teases that we just need to get a house next door to a botanical garden so that I can walk through it, enjoy all the plants, and don’t have to actually do everything that it takes to keep it that way.  

Throw in a decent farmer’s market nearby and you probably have my perfect “gardening” location.  

A stone path winding through pink tulips

Don’t get me wrong. I used to garden for real. But over the years, my time and attention span have drifted to other things and now I just want the benefits without going through all that hassle and having to worry about watering or get stressed out by an infestation of mysterious pests.  

So here are my top 5 ways to have an Awesome Garden that’s perfect for a Lazy Girl or Lazy Guy! And these are great ideas for beginning gardeners or anyone who’s tired of worrying about if they’re doing it right, too!

a shovel dug into the dirt.

First, let’s talk dirt.

I’ll be honest with you. Mine sucks. We have the hardest, heaviest clay soil known to man and I can’t even get a spade into it sometimes. You can imagine what the plants think of it! So rather than trying to tend and bolster and enrich my soil, I go the easy way and use containers! 

2 metal containers planted with flowers on a grassy lawn

Container gardens are totally awesome!

You just grab an appropriate container or gardening pot, add some good potting soil and pop your plants in. This works if you want to grow from seed as well. You also can position the container so that it is getting the just the right amount of sun or shade or whatever your plant needs.  

Plus, in your containers, you are MUCH less likely to get weeds. So that dreaded task of weeding becomes almost nil. Yippeee!

I say less likely, because I have a chipmunk who plants sunflower seeds from the bird feeder in my flowering pots on my deck each summer and I always have to end up having to pull the sprouts out. Maybe I’ll go really lazy this year and put one pot out with just soil in it and let the chipmunk plant sunflowers for me! 

 The only thing I’ve ever had to worry about with container planting is watering. Depending on your container and location you may need to be vigilant about not letting your container plants dry out. But watering is so much easier than digging and weeding that I don’t consider that too much of a chore to take on.  

What can you plant in containers?

I’ve planted flowers, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces and all kinds of different plants in containers and they’ve done great! It really is a time and energy saver! 

You can plant in almost any container. Just be sure that you have some holes in the bottom of the container so the plant can drain if it’s a rainy year. You don’t want to drown your beauties.

I prefer large plastic pots because they don’t dry out as quickly as terracotta and they aren’t quite as heavy. (Do take into consideration where you are placing your pot. If it’s a big pot and it’s full of soil it might be pretty heavy.)

But you can use whiskey barrels, old metal pails and wash tubs, glazed ceramic pots, you name it. It just depends on the look you want to go for and your budget of course.

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There are some cool alternative pots available as well if you’re more concerned about growing food plants in containers. Have you tried fabric bags? These are lightweight, don’t take up a lot of space and can really work great for things like tomatoes, herbs, peppers, etc. So they are definitely something to consider.

 

Don’t feel like hauling bags of potting soil home from the store but want all the benefits of some gorgeous planted flowers.  No problem.

A pot full of pin and white flowers on a crate in front of a green hedge

There are tons of pre-planted pots ready to grab and go.

Almost any retailer with a garden section in spring will have them available for you. (Some are pretty big so bring a friend or your honey to help get them into the car.)

Then when you get them home just place them wherever you want on your patio, steps, deck, anywhere you want a little color. And Viola! Instant garden!!

Just don’t forget to water them frequently enough, especially if they get a lot of sun. 

If you want to go a little bit “deeper” into gardening but don’t want to deal with your less than perfect soil, you can try, drumroll please…

Raised Bed Gardening

Gardening in a raised bed is really a life saver if you’ve got crummy soil like I do. There are a few different ways to garden in a raised bed. These two gardening books are my favorite for step by step instructions and awesome inspiration! First the Square Foot Garden method. Baby, this one is time tested and really works. It’s even what I used to do when I was a “real gardener.”  Not only will it help you with your gardening layout, it’s really like gardening 101. It will teach you to garden in a much more efficient way than we traditionally think of.

AND, there are such dreamy projects and gardening ideas in this book called the Raised Bed Revolution. I tell you, someday I’ll have one of these…

And this little ditty gives you an automatic 2 foot by 2 foot raised bed that you can place anywhere you want and just fill with soil and plant. It’s lightweight and there is NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED! Yaaayyy! Win/win!

 

One HUGE key to your success at making gardening easy, whether it’s in a raised bed or right in the ground is – 

MULCH!

Mulching well is a total game changer because not only does it keep down the weeds, you also need to water much less! So a total no brainer. There are mulches to enhance just about any garden look you are going for. Or there are things you may have right in your yard you can use.  

If you don’t know much about mulch you can find out more in this little book.  

Another method I want to bring up, which is kind of a takeoff of raised bed gardening, is – 

a straw bale with 3 white pumpkins sitting on it

Straw Bale Gardening

If you live in an area where it’s easy to get straw bales (not hay, it’s got to be straw) and don’t want to dig a garden this might be the route for you to go. It sounds kinda weird but you can get great results.  The bales take about 2 weeks of prep before they are ready to go, so plan ahead a little bit to use this cool and pretty fun technique. This book will tell you all about it and help you with your straw bale gardening design.

One last method I have to mention because I get such a kick out of it is  –

The Ruth Stout Method

The title of Ruth’s book is “Gardening without Work” which grabs you right away, right?!? Because seriously, who doesn’t want to learn about a gardening method advertised for “the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent.” LOVE IT!

This is such a fun book and the awesome part is that this method really works. It worked great for Ruth (I mean she raised some SERIOUS food for her and her husband) and I’ve seen several Youtube videos that show how different people have implemented this same method. I’m totally going to try this out if I ever have a yard with a little more sun. (I’m almost entirely in shade!)

The book is worth a read even if you don’t have the time or energy to start a garden. I wish I had known Ruth Stout. She was born in 1884 and died in 1980. In 1923 she traveled with other Quakers from New York to Russia to help with famine relief. That must have been quite a trip. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Later when she was married and living with her husband at “Poverty Hollow” her farm in Redding, Connecticut, she hosted so many “notables” over the years the guest list read like a “who’s who” list of popular people of the times.  

I particularly love that she made a career out of writing books that made her passion, which was gardening, simple so that anyone could do it! That’s my kind of gal! 

So here are the 5 key takeaways from this Lazy Girl’s Guide to Gardening. 

1) Make it easy on yourself and use containers 

2) Buy pre-planted containers of flowers for instant color and beauty.  

3) Used raised beds if you want to get a little “deeper” into gardening without having to “till the soil.”

4) Mulch, Mulch, Mulch!  I don’t usually have to mulch my containers because the plants are packed in pretty tightly, but I do mulch raised beds! 

5) Looking for something a little more adventurous & have a source of clean straw bales? Try Straw Bale Gardening for a change. You’ll make your neighbors wonder what you’re up to! 

6) Go all out and be a totally Lazy Girl Gardener with the Ruth Stout Method! The book and method are real winners (even if you just want to read about gardening this year instead of actually doing it!) 

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Interested in making your cleaning easier? Check out The Lazy Girl’s 2-Part Cleaning Routine!

If you like the idea of simplifying the rest of your life along with your gardening but aren’t sure how to start, check out The Seven Days of Simplicity Action Plan.

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