Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Low Energy Gardening

I like the idea of growing my own food.
My little "lotsa lemons" miniature
lemon tree, happily growing with
lots of mulch.

What doesn't sit very well with that idea is that I have a bad habit of killing plants, and that gardening often takes more effort than I can manage.

So here's some things I'm trying that seem to be succeeding, with minimal effort.

  • I have some baby fruit trees in the back yard that I haven't managed to kill yet.  The main thing I can do to help them is give them lots of mulch.  Mulch helps stop water evaporating, so the trees get water for longer if it rains or if I actually get the energy together to water them. It keeps the weeds down around the baby trees, and as it decomposes it provides food for the young trees. Miniature fruit trees take less space, so eventually I'll have a lot of varieties of fruit growing in my planned orchard space of the back yard.
  • Herbs and strawberries theoretically grow in the ground.  I tend to kill them when I put them in the ground.  Far better, I've found is to put them in water-saving pots (the ones with a reservoir in the bottom to slow water plants continuously.) Rain refills the pots, or if it hasn't rained for a while, watering refills them. The plants only need to be watered every week or so. Then I only need to give them a small amount of slow-release fertiliser every couple of months. Even I can manage that.
  • Passionfruit vines seem to be able to grow anywhere and survive anything.  They just need a fence or something else to climb on.  Mine has climbed a tree and is fruiting three metres off the ground, but it's growing.
  • I'm trying something new (well new for me, but a very old idea) with potatoes.  Those potatoes that have sprouted and started to grow in the kitchen, I've thrown out on the ground, and got my son to put a bale of hay (straw is recommended) on top of them.  Once they grow through that, a second bale should go on top.  They should grow through that as well. When the plant dies off, it's time to break open the hay bales and just pick the potatoes out - no digging.  I've been told that the twine on the bales can break, so it's best to put some wire around the bales until it's time to break them up.
  • One day I'm going to work out how to grow a vegetable garden without digging and constant attention.  (If you know the secret, let me know. I'd love fresh home-grown veggies.)

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