The Easy Garden by Marcus Evans


The Easy Garden

I am always looking for new places on my property to plant useful or edible plants. My wife, children & I maintain several gardens on our property and I look forward to the time when I can say that my property is a garden.

We have a home in a rather normal northwest Oklahoma City neighborhood. Our property measures approximately 60' X 150'. Because we plant in raised beds that have been sheet mulched and we try never to step directly into the beds, our yields are plentiful and our soil is well conditioned.

We compost all of our vegetable kitchen scraps directly on the soil surface. Then cover the compost with mulch; therefore the nutrients of the compost leach directly into the soil around the plants. An additional benefit of mulching in place is the effect it has on the worm population within the soil. There is no bad smell and the worms grow healthy spending their time nearer to the surface of the soil consuming the scraps and fertilizing the soil.

This method of gardening isn't only an easy way to garden - it is an environmentally responsible way to grow our own food. No need for fertilizers- the compost and worms do all the fertilizing. No need for power tilling- the worms keep the soil aerated and the since we don't step into the beds the soil tends not to get compacted. No big need for pesticides-when the beneficial insects are thriving and the soil is aerated you have less of a negative insect problem. No need to water every day- with a good thick bed of straw or other mulch your soil will retain more of the water.

But, there still is an even easier garden to maintain, the spinach garden. There isn't much work or materials needed to maintain an abundance of spinach for your family in an Oklahoma City garden from October until March.

Start out by looking around your property to find an area that is already a flowerbed or vegetable garden. If you do not have an area available build your own garden bed by using untreated lumber, rocks, bricks, logs or hay bales as a border. Remember to design your garden bed so that you will not be required to step into the garden to harvest or work the soil. Then place a couple of layers of brown cardboard directly onto the ground making sure to overlap the seams. Next, cover the cardboard with a layer of well-rotted compost, leaves, horse manure, or other organic material. Then, cover the organic material with topsoil or rich mix.

You are now ready to sprinkle the soil surface with spinach seeds. Make sure after you are done sprinkling the seeds over your garden that you lightly tap the soil surface with the end of a rake to settle the seed just under the surface of the soil. Finally it is time to lightly water the garden.

In about a week you will notice many small spinach plants growing. Make sure and water regularly. You will be harvesting spinach until about March as long as you only pinch off the leaves and allow the roots to produce more spinach leaves.

No fertilizer, no tilling, no raking, no weeding, just good wholesome food grown by you on your own property for you and your family. Marcus Evans.