THE FIVE MINUTE GARDEN
|A strategically placed outdoor sink with a water hose
saves time and keeps the mess out of the kitchen when preparing plant
foods. Scraps go on mulch piles.
Two or more mulch piles are ideal. Bottom left pile is actively taking materials. Bottom right is covered, wet, hot nearly finished.
Open mulch piles do better with some shade to avoid drying.
Jim's Five Minute Garden
Get Greens from the garden 8 or 9 months a year!
To shorten your work time and to lengthen the time you can enjoy your garden, plant more perennials--hardy, endemic perennials are best. Also, encourage wild plants that are already established. Many open pollinated annual herbs will reseed such as: cherry tomatoes, Asiatic dayflower, borage, fennel, dill, coriander, Chinese cabbage, bok choy.
The following plant foods provide good nutrition: dandelions, chickweed, violets, sorrel, lovage, plantain, nettle, day lilies, wild leeks, watercress and dock. Lovage, fennel and parsley will provide March and April bounty. Lemon balm and anise hyssop are good choices that can be used in tea or judiciously in salads. All mints will payback in early spring, in salads, desserts, drinks.
Basics: (go to organic gardening for more details)
Alfalfa and manure are the best mulching materials. PEAT IS NOT GOOD AS IT MAY ROB NITROGEN FROM THE SOIL. Stinging nettles, dandelions and dock are mineral rich, include roots. BANANA PEELS AND EGG SHELLS ARE EXCELLENT. I use a lot of grass and weeds. I build piles here and there, preferably in places where there is sun and shade, on low, wet ground. Put weeds, grass, dead heads, old bouquets, vegetable scraps in a layer, cover with a layer of straw, then another layer of weeds, grass, vegetable scraps then straw again. This will be three or four feet tall and as wide near the end of the season. I DON'T COVER IT, I DON'T TURN IT AND I DON'T WATER IT. It rots from the bottom up and needs only one turn in November. I NEVER USE THIS MULCH THE SAME YEAR. BY THE SPRING OF THE NEXT YEAR IT IS FULL OF LIFE, PRIMARILY EARTHWORMS AND MICRO-ORGANISMS. NOW IT IS READY TO USE IN THE GARDEN.
The best garden soil is rich with life. Nitrogen from the air is a great source of plant building material. Soil teeming with life provides pathways for nitrogen to get into the soil.
In the fall, I spread 50 pounds of cracked corn on my garden. THEN I SHRED SWEET LEAVES (WILLOW, MAPLE) AND SPREAD THEM OVER THE CORN AND RICE. Throughout the year we add eggshells to the garden. I prefer egg shell calcium over lime. In late winter (February or March) I broadcast another 50 pounds of corn over the garden. Rice too, can be sprinkled over the garden. The rice and corn are food for the birds (who defecate in your garden). Also, worms, fungi, bacteria feed on the corn and rice as it decomposes. This is winter and spring food for your living organisms that enrich your garden. Rock dust, salt water seaweeds may also be applied. That's all I do. No blood, bonemeal, lime or mushroom mulch. The latter is typically full of pesticides and herbicides.
This is a matter of timing. Tolerate weeds until they are big enough to pull or dig easily. It doesn't have to be done all at once, a little every day. GROW PLANTS IN DENSE COLONIES TO WARD OFF WEEDS....BUNCH COLONIES CLOSE TOGETHER. PREFERABLY PERENNIALS ARE IN A PERENNIAL GARDEN, ANNUALS IN ANOTHER GARDEN. I DON'T MIX THEM. Many so-called weeds are welcome in our garden and provide us nutrient dense food from February through November (dandelion, nettle, chickweed, violets, plantain, lambs quarters, sorrel, Asiatic dayflower, dock).
Five Minute Garden Motto Simplify
Certain plants want to be there, discover what they are. Don't fight them enjoy them.
Plant annuals that are open pollinated and will self-seed: Asiatic dayflower; calendula; dill; coriander/cilantro; borage; flax; burdock (biennial); dandelion; plantain; cruciferous plants; fennel; chickweed...
Encourage hardy perennial "thugs" in your garden, these plants will compete and overgrow everything so separate them to their own territory: anemone, daylily, buttercups, stinging nettle, lovage, spiderwort,etc...
Certain plants go together, (see companion plantings in organic gardening section of this disk).
Space plants close together to crowd out weeds, use mulch, no fertilizer, water directly onto plants, concentrate plants in small area. Be certain to have smaller plants to front, larger to rear.
Once perennials are up mulch heavily to discourage competition.
Break garden up into plots that you can work in 5 minutes per day. No more than 7 plots. Keep in mind some will need little time, like my garden under my dining room window. It is full of daylilies, climbing Apios americana (ground nut), cabbages in foreground, with basil, calendula, sunflowers and hollyhocks as a backdrop, interspersed with daylilies are iris's and tiger lilies, as well as climbing clematis that work their way up lilies to trellises.
Plant in tight groupings, maybe same plant in three areas, but interspersed with different color coordinated companions.
Compost in bags or mounds, or in ground in three strategic sites, keep size of mounds ample enough to encourage heat production (heat speeds mulching), and puts compost in areas of use.
When in doubt do nothing about insect pests
Wet with your hose target what you want to grow.
Stay a step ahead of pervasive weeds and pests (see companions)
If soil bad spend 60 dollars and have load of top soil brought in.
Do only tasks you enjoy. If a section goes bad, learn from what nature is doing...A weed bed is a good teacher.
"Round-up" can be used if you don't eat food for one year (half life of round Up is 6 months).
Use your lawn mower to configure your lawn and garden. Use it to scribe the shapes of various plots.
Best deterrent to deer is a high fence or lower netted fence. DEER can be conditioned not to approach a garden by surrounding the garden with a single strand electric fence, peanut butter on the fence will draw deer to taste, low current shock will condition them to stay away.
Herbs are good weeds. Plant them judiciously especially close to the kitchen where they will be used.
Have one of your plots made up of culinary herbs you like to use.
On average I can manage my garden on 5 minutes per/day. Often I am away for a week or so, and may have to put an 40 minutes back into it. But on average I'm five minutes per day. Ninety five percent of the plants are hardy perennials. I encourage but contain some grasses, such as sweet grass.
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