Low Maintenance Gardening

You call that five foot tall pile of newly pulled weeds low maintenance???

We are done. We’re done with backbreaking labor and DIY projects that drag on for months (I won’t name names here, but it knows I’m talking about it). We’re done with spider mites in the greenhouse, and rats in the garage, and half blind city-squirrels that take a few bites out of each persimmon, apple, loquat, and fig. We’re done pulling Bermuda grass and digging ivy. And we’re done having piles of bee equipment in the kitchen and mountains of cardboard stockpiled against the back of the house.

Most of all, we’re done with our own minds and our tendencies toward stress and anxiety.

We’ve decided we need a garden slave (or at least a housemate who pays their rent in gardening services). The only sticking point is that Kelly is unwilling to live with them. As a compromise, we will endeavor to practice low maintenance gardening, something we have always strived toward, but virtually never achieved.

Low maintenance gardening, a five-step plan

1.  We will spend our gardening energy this summer tidying and catching up, rather than rooting around for more hair-brained projects to embark on.

2.  We will plant out only the starts we have in the greenhouse and will leave several beds mulched and fallow.

3.  We will thoroughly mulch the summer garden with leaves to cut down on watering.

4.  We will finish installing drip irrigation to further cut down on water use and time spent watering.

5.  We will spend time enjoying the garden and relaxing in it. (Bring on the iced tea and garden hammocks!)

My precious ‘Sweet Meat’ squash in its new home beside the chicken coop. (Notice the dutifully placed leaf mulch for lower maintenance plant care through the summer!)

Gardening has become a bit of a chore and a stressor. While I can’t imagine postponing time in the garden for when I am 70 or 80 and finally get to retire, something has to give.

There are baby cucumbers languishing in the greenhouse. There are beehives bursting at the joints, in need of honey supers and frames, and there is Kelly and me, utterly exhausted and miserable. Low maintenance gardening, here we come.

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