Wild Gardens for Busy Parents: Plants

Wild garden for busy parents June

Once you’ve got a few plants in your garden, it doesn’t take much to keep them alive and help them thrive. There is so little to do that you might find yourself adding more plants just to keep busy.

June Garden Planting

If you planned your garden in Marchprepared the ground in April, and planted hearty plants in May, there might not be much to do in June. If you want to take the easy route (and who doesn’t), garden centers have an abundance of plants this time of year ready to be planted directly in the ground. Even if you did none of the other steps this year, it’s easy to buy a couple of tomato plants and create a garden within an hour on a Saturday morning. You’re better off preparing the soil, which doesn’t take long, but in a wild garden you can probably get away with just digging a hole and dropping a plant in it.

Find the gaps. My main focus in this series has been my husbands hops. Two of the three are over a foot tall now. For those, we added a climbing string that reaches to the roof of the house. One of the hops failed to thrive and finally shrivelled. We don’t want to dig it up, since it might do better next year, and we can’t replace it this late in the season. So, we decided to plant around it. After weeding other areas of my garden, I had a few other gaps as well.
Goal: use well the space you have

Buy plants. As of last weekend, we have passed our last likely frost, so it’s time to go garden wild. That seems to have been everyone’s idea, because the garden store was very busy when I visited last weekend. You could have planted seeds indoors to wait out the frost, but the easiest way to plant a garden is to buy a plant and put it in the ground. I did both. I went to the store for tomatoes, but I bought a couple of tomatoes, a last-minute chili pepper, some lettuce, some kale, a calla lily, basil, a few seeds, and a couple of bags of manure. If you are likely to get excited by all of the possibilities and buy more plants than planned, and if you really don’t want to expand your garden that much right now, send someone else to the store.
Goal: buy a plant for the easiest garden

Plant and water. If you’ve prepared the soil, you probably won’t have to do more than dig a plant pot-sized hole. If you didn’t prepare the soil, dig it up, turn it over, add compost or manure if you have it, and then dig a pot-sized hole. Gently tip the plant out of the pot or tear the bottom and edges off a biodegradable pot, and place it in your hole. Put the rest of the dirt back, press it down a bit, water well, and you have a garden.
Goal: Plant your insta-garden

Note on the red caps. Do you see the two red spots in the garden? Those are bottle caps, beneath which are plastic bottles with holes. When I unscrew the caps, I can add water, which waters the roots of my new tomatoes. The cleverness of Pinterest showed me underground watering with plastic bottles. In the desert, it can get very hot in the summer, and soil dries out quickly. My raised bed is partially shaded by my house, but it still gets enough sun to suffer the heat. I haven’t tried this method of watering before, but I thought I would see if it keeps the tomatoes from drooping. It’s an experiment.

Raised bed is saving my plants. Snails. I have a lot of snails. Usually, I ignore them or admire them up close, since they don’t eat my flowers, but this week they have been munching on my new vegetable plants. So, out comes the eggshell moat around plants outside the raised bed, and up comes the chili pepper into the raised bed. I hadn’t planned to put as many plants around the foot of the hops as I ended up planting, but I found that the snails can’t get over the lip of the raised bed, so I’ve created a snail-free zone. Now, I want to put all of my leafy vegetables up high. As it all grows, we may end up with hops, tomatoes, chili peppers, kale, and a lot of lettuce in the same bed.

Total Cost So Far

  • 2 more bags of manure compost – $3.00
  • 2 tomato plants – $5.50
  • 1 chili pepper plant – $2.50
  • 4 lettuce plants – $2.00
  • 4 kale plants – $2.00
  • 1 package lettuce seeds – $1.50
  • Total for June – $16.50 (plants)
  • Total for May – $34.00 (manure, top soil, peat moss)
  • Total for April – $18.00 (hops)
  • Total for the year – $68.50

Total Time So Far

This month, except for shopping, it really did take less than 30 minutes to make changes to the raised bed. Planting is quick. Add the time I now spend every day gazing at the splendor of my tiny garden, and I definitely take more than 30 minutes a month, but I’m not counting gazing time here.

  • Shopping – 1 hour
  • Digging & planting – 30 minutes
  • Previous time spent (research, prep, building raised bed, digging) – 9 hours
  • Total so far = 10.5 hours

Almost half of that time was spent building a raised bed.

Your June List: Plants

If your plants from May are thriving, just water, weed, and gaze. If you are filling in spaces like I was, buy a plant to fill in.

Our goal is to spend no more than 30 minutes a month. It probably won’t take you even that long, unless you include shopping time. Here is one possible way to spend your 30 minutes this month.

  • Shop (20 minutes)
  • Dig a hole (2 minutes)
  • Plant (5 minutes)
  • Water (1 minute)
  • Gaze at your creation (2 minutes)

The Rest of the Garden

Did you notice the plants behind our raised bed? A decade ago, my mother planted bulbs that would give her flowers throughout the season. You can see them green in April, tulips and daffodils in May, and now irises in June. The leafy greens you see on the far right are raspberries that we planted 2 years ago, blackberries planted 3 years ago, and grapes planted 4 years ago. They climb up a metal trellis then across a wire along the edge of the roof of our house. The hops will probably grow up to the wire as well. Every thing that you see growing green around the raised bed is generally neglected but thrives anyway. That’s our wild garden.

Monthly progress of our wild garden
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