A Lazy Gardener’s Success Story

{{Yawn}} Well, that nap sure took longer than I anticipated. Like old Rip, I wake up to a yard full of leaves and a patio garden that won’t stop. This year I committed to total container growing, mostly in my dirt bags, as I like to call them.

Early in the summer, these babies shone like jewels in the potential sea of green. I tried to group them attractively, hues on a palette, rather than the dreaded single line-up.

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Plant-wise, I bought a couple of tomatoes (a Brandywine slicer and Sweet 100 cherry), two broccolis, two cucumbers of the pickling persuasion, two zucchinis, one sweet banana pepper, one miniature bell pepper that I’d never seen before, and heck, I even popped in a sugar snap vine at the last minute.

In the seed department there was the usual array of lettuces like the ever-popular Black-Seeded Simpson (I like the crispness of the name), and the mandatory arugula and basil crops. And I pushed my luck with a sowing of bush beans in a large grow bag intended for garlic planting. They seemed to like it:

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Don’t know about you, but the area where I live suffered from an unusually cold and wet June and July. (When are we going to stop talking about how strange the weather is every year and just admit that unusual is the new norm?) Despite identical containers and soil, my Brandywine shot up six feet into Little Shop of Horrors proportions while the cherry tomato waned like Tiny Tim. A bit of late starter, the cherry came into its own in good time, however.

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Gardens in the ground everywhere suffered from rot and blight. But not on the patio. My biggest problems were keeping up with the thirsty tomato monster, staking leaning towers of peppers and finding the cucumbers before they became obscene, never mind that they were a mere three feet from my backdoor. I swear cucumber leaves know how to hide their goods.

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Most everything flourished except for the zucchinis. It’s downright embarrassing that I didn’t have them coming out of my ears, but the darned vine borers get them just as they set fruit, every . . . single . . . year. I relished pulling off cabbage worms that feasted on my broccoli and then — you don’t want to know. The location made it easy to keep a close eye on nibbling varmints and slugs and the occasional marauding squirrel (now where DID I hide that nut???)

After a steady harvest the last few months thanks to some nifty watering spikes and stinky organic fertilizer, the vegetation is winding down on my patio farm. The tomatoes are just about done, peppers going for broke at the finish line, cucumbers finished thankfully (whew! we managed to eat all of them).

I’ve resewed some lettuce and swiss chard, and started fresh in the forlorn zucchini pot with an interplanting of nasturtium and beet greens. But let’s face it, I can’t bear to eat the flowers.

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Would I do it again? You betcha. After all, nothing beats nursing that gin and tonic on a fine summer evening while you casually reach over and pluck something for dinner, never breaking a sweat. Or getting out of your chair.

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8 thoughts on “A Lazy Gardener’s Success Story

    1. Hi Shirah! I really recommend these bags for small spaces and some kind of patio (may need something under them for wood decks). The material breathes unlike plastic pots, and plant roots are much healthier. Plus, in the fall you can dump the potting soil in your compost pile and fold them away on a shelf!

  1. What a delight! There is something introspective about a gardener’s retrospective, and therein lies the charm. I loved every word. With Shirah, I’m beginning to re-think gardening. However, I can’t imagine that laziness enters into it; I prefer to think of it as the need to think deep thoughts.

    1. You always have the best insights, Maureen. Maybe I am drawn to gardening because it is a meditation for me, when I’m not having violent thoughts about cabbage worms, that is. Hope you have a lovely weekend — cool weather ahead!

  2. I would call your gardening efficient rather than lazy! I’m looking out at our largish in-ground garden which required quite a bit of work this year, and while I really enjoy fresh beans, tomatoes, zucchini, etc., I’m also thinking about the work/rewards ratio in the garden next year. Some dirt bags may be in my gardening future!

    1. Hi Bonny! I gave up my in-ground vegetable garden due to large amounts of very tame deer and rambunctious weeds that got the better of me year after year. This method is more expensive because of the purchase of potting soil, but I tend to reuse it for a couple of years and then the old stuff makes good compost. Plus having everything right under my nose makes it harder to ignore. I just realized you have a wonderful new blog that I am settling in to read and enjoy. Congratulations!

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