Vegetable Gardening – Ugh

My veggie gardens always disappoint. I’ve tried several methods since moving to Columbia, MO. First, I just tried normal raised beds. Then, within those beds, I tried square foot gardening. I am never happy with the results. The raised beds tend to dry out too quickly. The plants get pretty crowded and weeding is difficult. I eye my friends’ gardens with envy, what am I doing wrong???

Exhibit 1

Check out how pretty my gardens always start out. Everything is gorgeous, mulched and full of hope.

Exhibit 2

Check out how my gardens always end up. Overgrown, weedy, and sad. Why does this happen to me every year and why do I keep expecting things to change?

I will say that I am, above all else, a lazy gardener. I don’t enjoy tending the garden consistently for weeds or trolling for pests. I do these things, just not every day. This fall, as my outside gardens go to sleep, I’ve been looking for new veggie garden inspo. This quest led me to two books that, so far, seem too good to be true.

Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich

Turning conventional wisdom on its head, this book shows how to garden like Mother Nature, offering a system that’s good for plants and good for people. Eschewing the yearly digging up and working over the soil, WEEDLESS GARDENING is an easy-to-follow, low-impact approach to planting and maintaining a flower garden, a vegetable garden, trees, and shrubs naturally. Say good-bye to backaches and weed problems. Illustrated. Roger Swain (Host of The Victory Garden) says: “The deepest wisdom gardening has to offer. Do as Lee Reich says. Pay attention to the top few inches of soil and nature will take care of the rest.”

Book Summary from Lee Reich’s Website

Raised Row Gardening; Incredible Organic Produce with No Tilling and Minimal Weeding by Jim & Mary Competti

For homeowners young and old looking for the easiest and most affordable way to grow the most vegetables, the Raised Row method shared in this breakthrough book is the new go-to choice. In the past decade, raised bed gardening has been wildly popular, but it requires buying wood or another material to build the raised beds, which quickly becomes expensive and labor intense. A raised row garden uses just soil and mulch, such as shredded leaves, to create raised growing rows and walking rows. This method is more budget-friendly, natural and just as effective to control weeds and see an impressive harvest your first year. Jim and Mary Competti, founders of the blog Old World Garden Farms, are the leaders of this gardening revolution. They’ve perfected and streamlined their method over several years. They spend only a few minutes per day maintaining a large garden that provides their family with food for the whole year. In this book, they share their secrets so anyone can do it too.

Book Summary from the Book’s Amazon Page

I’ll be reading each of these books and provide an overview of what I learn along with some pictures of my progress, so stay tuned!

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