Lazy Gardening: Designing a Bed the Easy Way
No Digging Required
I'm a lazy gardener. After my neck was injured in a car accident, I decided to test my theory that you don't have to dig the ground up to plant a vegetable or flower bed. It worked, and I've been using that technique for 20-some years.
A huge mound of compost was sitting in the corner of my yard for about 20 years when I decided to put my "no digging required" technique to use. When I moved to this location in mid-December with dozens of daylily tubers from my former garden, I simply placed them on the existing lawn and covered them with top soil, and they managed to thrive and multiply as if I had spent hours digging holes.
This vegetable garden was laid out and planted in less than two hours using a hose and a rake. The key is to completely cover the existing grass and vegetation with soil that will smother it. Although I used soil from my 20-year-old compost pile, you can simply purchase soil from your local garden center or Lowes, or order a truckload of topsoil, have it dumped on your garden plot, and then get out your hose and a rake and follow my lead.
What You'll Need
- Flexible garden hose
- Garden soil either purchased by the truckload or, for smaller areas, bags from the garden center
- Iron rake
- Seeds or rooted or potted plants
Choose Your Location and Lay Out Your Design With a Hose
- Choose your location depending on the type of garden you are planting. If it is a vegetable garden, make sure it receives at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. If it's a shade garden, locate it in a northwest to north location.
- Order your topsoil, have bags delivered from the garden center, or use available compost and soil from your own private source. In my case, I have a source of rich compost and soil that I carried to my site with a wheelbarrow.
- It is not written in stone that a vegetable bed be square or rectangular in shape. Lay out the design of your choice. Since I wanted my vegetable garden to blend in with my flower borders, I used a kidney-shaped design. This is easy to do with a garden hose. Leave your hose in the sunlight for an hour to warm it so it will be flexible and easy to manipulate.
- Leave the hose in place while you spread the soil with a rake, making sure you cover all the grass (or weeds) completely to a depth of three inches.
- Next, spray the soil, wetting it so that it is completely saturated. This step is important as you need to settle the soil and work it into the grass or weeds below, which will decompose from lack of sunlight.
Garden Soil Choices
Poke in the Seeds or Pop in Your Plants
- Before you plant anything, stop and think about what types of vegetables or flowers you are going to plant. It makes sense that planting corn in a 5 by 10 foot garden would not be practical.
- If your bed is small, look for plants that grow upwards and take up less space, such as pole beans. Choose tomato varieties that don't spread out and use tomato cages to confine them.
- After I made my choices, I simply planted both seeds and vegetable transplants by hand.
- To plant the transplants, all I did was hollow out a spot and plop the little transplant in.
Keep the Soil Moist
The key to this design is to keep the soil moist until your seeds sprout. Also, by keeping the soil moist, the grass under the soil will decay and turn into compost.
I used Miracle Grow plant fertilizer weekly, which off-set the nitrogen being used to decay the grass.
As you can see in the photo below, my instant garden was growing nicely after one month. The tomatoes and green peppers came on like gangbusters. Before I knew it, I was able to pick the first squash.
Defy the garden experts who tell you to use a tiller or hand-shovel the soil before planting your garden.
Try my idea and you will have to agree that this is the easiest garden you ever grew without lifting a shovel!