So, a little fearfully, I started to put in peas and spinach, intending to dig a minor trench first to loosen the earth. But I found that the mulch of leaves and hay I had dumped on the garden in the fall had kept the earth soft and moist; I merely needed to clear a spot with the rake and drop the seeds. And having once started to take things into my own hands, I kept on. Our milkman, a farmer, was glad to give me what he called “spoiled hay” and I called wonderful mulch. I spread it 6 to 8 inches deep over the entire garden, except on top of the seeds I had just planted. In a couple of years, I abandoned all commercial fertilizers.
After putting the hay around, I soon found that the only jobs left were planting, thinning, and picking. Whenever I wanted to put in some seeds, I raked the mulch back and planted, and later, when the seeds had sprouted, I pulled the mulch close around the little plants, thus keeping the ground around them moist and outwitting the weeds.
My plot has become so rich that I can plant very closely, and I don’t even use manure now. The garden is now one-eighth its original size and so luxuriant that in the fall we call it the jungle. I haven’t used any kind of poison for bugs for 10 years, and I never see a bean beetle, corn borer, aphis, or cutworm.
If you have to garden and are not very enthusiastic about it, it seems to me my method is your answer; you can do the job with a minimum of time and labor. And if, as I do, you love such work, it is also the answer; you can keep at it indefinitely. So get rid of your hoes and spades and cultivator; the largest digging tool you will need is a trowel. And when, although you’re really getting along in years, you have a wonderful garden, and people marvel and ask who does the heavy work, you can truthfully reply: “There is no heavy work.”