Adjusting the Garden for Less Time, Less Water

I’m giving up the farm.

Okay, that is a bit dramatic, I admit. I’m giving up half my garden plot. The plot, which I’ve had for more than a dozen years, has become too much for me. It’s been nearly five years since I’ve moved out of that neighborhood, and having to travel two miles just to water—not to mention all the weeding and pinching and thinning … it’s become difficult to find the time. And the garden certainly suffered from my lack of attention last year.

Luckily I am able to keep half of my plot. It’ll be a much more manageable space. I’ve been thinking about what needs to change—in what I plant and how I garden—in order for me to be a better steward for the garden. This is what I’m thinking:

More herbs. They don’t require daily watering, and they grow pretty easily without any help. I can definitely use them in my cooking, and I can experiment with creating different pestos using new herbs. Except basil. It can be finicky.

Items in the onion family. Again, other items that don’t need daily watering after the initial month or so.

Carrots. The box I use as a small raised bed will have carrots in it this year. Yes, they need a lot of water—at first. The raised bed can be soaked and it’ll say moist for a few days at least. It’s also near close to my garden neighbor’s plot, and I can ask him to throw a little water on it now and then if necessary. Once carrots get going there really isn’t much need for maintaining them, and they don’t succumb to many foliar diseases.

Kale and chard and beets. These grow like nice little soldiers. While they can be attacked by leaf miners, I can go through them once each week and root out any affected leaves. I do have to worry about aphids on the kale later in the summer but

Deep watering. A smaller plot means less time watering on a semi-daily basis, but it also means a deep, deep watering on the weekends is still doable.

More mulch. Layer it on, baby. It’ll keep that water in the soil.

No water and time hogs. I’ll save the tomatoes and squash for the garden plot closer to my home. I’ll also plant lettuce closer to home, really just for the convenience of it.

Pictured is a new Chantenay carrot variety from Renee’s Garden called Short Stuff. I’ve purchased seeds and they are headed for that carrot box by the end of March. At just 4 inches long, these chubby carrots are just the thing for that container. Photo courtesy

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