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The Non-Gardeners Gardening Strategy

Non-Gardeners Gardening Strategy

Gardening doesn’t come naturally to me.  When someone asks me a question about my garden, it makes me laugh, because I feel like a pretend gardener.  With trial and error, I’ve had some successes but mostly because I’ve learned what doesn’t work first.  I only like to plant hearty herbs and vegetables that are practically fool-proof to keep my confidence level high when it comes to gardening.  Sometimes my garden looks like I’m more of a gardener than I actually am!  My garden is also small and I’ve improvised with my growing spaces by adding raised vegetable beds in unused (and ugly!) areas and by stealing some grassy area in our small backyard.

Spinach and carrots

The non-gardeners gardening strategy

My gardening style is to find plants that are hard to kill and will grow with very little attention.  Mix those components with regular watering and that’s my garden.  Also, I always ask my neighbors what’s working for them and listen to their tips.  When something works for a neighbor, I figure it will work for me, too.  When deciding what to grow, the best starting point is thinking about what you buy most at the grocery store, then work backwards, starting with what is easiest.

We eat lots of Swiss chard and spinach so that’s what I try and grow.  It’s hearty and the chard usually winters over.  I pulled this Swiss chard plant out at the end of fall and it started to grow even after I tossed it aside.  That’s my kind of plant!

Growing vegetables in small spaces

Beans and peas are easy to grow and delicious.  The pole beans I planted last year needed harvesting with a ladder.  This is in a very small space between our house and our neighbor’s house.  The beans really liked growing up.  By the way, my husband doesn’t always wear shirts that match our vegetables!

Plant green beans

Tomatoes can be fussy, but who doesn’t love home grown tomatoes?  The easiest tomatoes for me to grow are cherry tomatoes and in particular the “Sungold” variety.  They always taste great and go directly from plant to mouth easily!

Sungold tomatoes

Rhubarb is another hearty plant for your garden.  This one is from my neighbor but it used to be mine.  I divided mine several years ago, gave some to my neighbor and moved mine to a new spot in the garden.  My rhubarb plant didn’t like the new spot and it shriveled up and died!  I was under the impression that rhubarb never dies!  Well, my neighbor gave the plant back to me as it wasn’t a hit at her house so now I’m back to having a rhubarb plant.


In our small garden corn was more work (and took up more room) than it was worth.  I don’t think I’ll grow it this year although I have plenty of seeds.  It took all season to get 4 ears of corn!

Growing vegetables

Pretend to be a gardener along with me.

What are your gardening tips?

Go Gingham related links:

Here three easy herbs to grow and more importantly easy to keep alive!
How to stake tomatoes
Preparing for tomato season
Raised garden beds these are easier to build than you think!
Growing vegetables in small spaces

10 thoughts on “The Non-Gardeners Gardening Strategy

  1. I definitely am a pretend gardener! I am subscribing to a strict fake it until you make it strategy, and am prepared for failure at any juncture.

    Fake Gardeners Unite!


  2. I married a farm boy and we recruited someone with experience to share our garden with us. They are out planting the early stuff right now. I managed to look pathetic and sick enough to get out of it (small advantage of a spring cold).


    1. Heidi, I love that you’re finding the positive in having a spring cold! I don’t want to jinx myself and share how long it’s been since I’ve been sick so I’ll just knock on some wood now! Well done on marrying a farm boy and sharing the garden is sharing the work it seems!!


  3. I would contest the idea that you are a non-gardener! Surely gardening is about giving it a go, making loads of mistakes along the way and figuring out what works and what doesn’t in your garden. Even seasoned gardeners will make planting mistakes when faced with a new plot and different growing conditions. You’re a gardener and a great photographer too!! Perhaps your HB can blend in with the rhubarb next, has he got a psychedelic tee?


    1. Yes, he does have a t-shirt that would match the rhubarb! I could do an entire series… 🙂 Thanks Rebecca.


  4. love your site, lots of interesting info. I’ve gardened with mixed results (as with all things in life). But I saw you grew spinach in a planter and it looked great! If you remember what size was the pot and what variety of spinach was it? Looking foward to many future visits ~ beth


    1. Hi Beth,
      My spinach is just basic – as in whatever the grocery store sells – nothing fancy. If the soil is warm, the spinach seeds come up quicker. Sometimes, when it’s too hot in the pots, the spinach wilts. It’s pretty sturdy and should do well for you in a pot. I like how it adds some pretty greenery to pots – and you can eat it. 🙂
      Thanks, Beth.


  5. I came over from Rita’s blog (ThisSortaOldLife). I am totally a pretend gardener – dare I say, even more so than you. I am a “let nature do its thing” variety of gardener – which basically means I don’t add amendments and I water as rarely as I can get away with. Last year’s drought left my yield pretty thin. This year isn’t supposed to be much better so I don’t think I’m going to do any veggies.
    I had the same trial & error & advice from neighbors method that you described. Almost exact, actually. I agree about the corn – holy crap that was disappointing. I feel the same way about peppers as I do with corn. My parents (about 2 hours away) have excellent luck with peppers. They always end up with more than they can eat (that’s possible?!) and I rarely get 1 or 2 per plant. I’ve never tried the epsom salt additive which has been recommended to me. Cherry tomatoes and peas though – I never go wrong.


    1. Shaina,
      I say soar with your strengths! I was just in the garden re-planting a few seeds that didn’t come up from several weeks ago. They all should have – cold weather seeds and all. Sometimes things just don’t work and sometimes they do. Tossing my arms in the air! Oh well.
      Good luck with your garden this year….Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂


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