Save Time and Energy in the Garden

You'll always be able to satisfy your green thumb if you follow these simple tips to save time and energy in the garden.

| November 28, 2012

In his book, Any Size, Anywhere Edible Gardening, author William Moss takes a beginning gardener through all the steps needed to grow vegetables and fruits in any setting, regardless of the available (or desired) size. This book covers container gardening, vertical gardening, raised-bed gardening and traditional methods to help gardeners everywhere bring a taste of homegrown freshness to their gardening experience. In the following excerpt from Chapter 3, "Time-Saving Tips," Moss gives the time-crunched gardener simple ways to save time and energy in the garden.  

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Any Size, Anywhere Edible Gardening. 

Time-crunched has become a common description of modern life. Our days are filled with activities, commitments, necessities, and distractions in a way that was unimaginable a couple generations ago. Everyone from toddlers to seniors has their schedules packed with events and tasks that in the moment seem absolutely crucial to their existence. Small pieces of plastic and metal interrupt our routines and summon us to work, chat, watch, and tweet at all hours of the day and night. The peaceful evenings and weekend mornings spent lounging on the porch with family and neighbors are as endangered as sea turtles. We feel compelled to stay busy. The time-crunched want to garden, but it has to fit within their hectic lives.

Downsizers are typically older gardeners who no longer have the inclination, time, or energy to tend large spaces. They may have tended a large backyard veggie patch in the past, but now they prefer a raised bed by the side door. They don’t want to give up gardening. They are just done working a large space. I’ve watched this time and time again. 

At 79 my grandfather parked his tractor for the last time. At 88 my great aunt stopped her decades-long fight against the honeysuckle vine that threatened her fig tree and veggie patch. At 84 my friend Tom gave up his community plot. They still wanted to garden, but the rigors were just too much.

In small spaces you can grow veggies without much time or effort. It takes planning, organization, and an acceptance of the limitations. If you garden in a raised bed two hours a week, you are not going to harvest as many tomatoes as the guy down the street who works in his backyard garden two hours a day. But that’s okay; you may not need or want that many tomatoes. In the following paragraphs are some tips to save time and energy while gardening.

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