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Low-Maintenance Vegetable Gardening

My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with cancer, and since I am working full time plus freelancing, I don’t have as much time to maintain her vegetable garden as I used to. She wanted something easy this year – so none of my permaculture techniques are in play here.

Even though it’s not really my style, I still like knowing I can do it. This took me about 4-5 hours to put together, so if you are looking to do something similar, give yourself an afternoon.

First, I laid some paving slabs in order to make space for container gardens. Paving slabs are an awesome thing to have around because flat surfaces can otherwise be a little hard to come by. I salvaged a few stacks of them two years ago and use them whenever I need to make a makeshift patio.

The planters I made are:

Then, I laid landscaping fabric for the rest of the bed, and got her outdoor sink set up. I put the greywater drain under the landscaping fabric to irrigate the bed directly.

I sowed 24 squash and pumpkin plants, which will all be grown on the landscaping fabric this year. It spares my mother-in-law (and me) the effort of weeding, and creates a warm microclimate that should hasten harvest times. This method is similar to commercial plasticulture.

The cultivars I am trying this year:

Tomato - sauce tomatoes: an unknown plum cultivar, san marzano
                cocktail tomatoes: yellow submarine, dorenia
                cherry tomatoes: black cherry, moneymaker
                determinate bush tomatoes: lemon drop, cherry kisses

Cucumber - slange (a long english), skole & snack (smaller, for pickling)

Squash - stoor’s green, gold rush

Pumpkins & winter squash - kabocha (from @hqcreations), australian butter squash (from @paintedgoat), turban squash, spaghetti squash, crown of thorns gourd, hallowe’en pumpkin, and potimarron (originally from @desixlb, but I have been saving seed for three years now!).

Potato - sava