by Texas Homesteader ~
There are some plants that work perfectly for a lazy gardener. You know the ones – you plant them once and they provide you with food year after year? I’m sharing some of my faves.
Our homestead is located in NE Texas – in planting zone 8. So your lazy-gardener plant list may be slightly different than mine depending upon your typical weather conditions.
But following is a list of things I – for the most part – planted once and then pretty much just forgot about. And some of these things have provided food for us for several years so far, with several more years to go.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
I love my veggie garden. It’s just something in my bones – I *have* to have a garden.
But I’m also a fan of the mantra ‘Work smarter, not harder’. So I’m always on the lookout for the lazy-gardener ways to provide food for us with very little (and sometimes NO) input from me.
I planted strawberries years ago back when the kids were young. But I remember them providing only a few delicious berries and then they were gone. I just didn’t think they were worth the garden space for such little return.
Then I heard about something called *‘everbearing strawberries’ and thought I’d give ‘em a try. I planted them in a galvanized trough as part of my edible landscape plan.
That first year I was thrilled to get a small handful of berries, but they didn’t produce during the hot summer months. Then I got a few more strawberries in the fall.
I heard that you could mulch the strawberries for the winter months and they would come back the next year. So I tossed on a nice thick layer of dried leaves.
And sure enough those strawberries came back the next spring and produced more prolifically. I’m typically picking and enjoying strawberries by late April.
I’ve since had those same strawberries for about 5 years now. They spread and took over the trough.
I harvest the strawberries every morning and if there’s more than we’ll eat fresh I’ll toss the rinsed/air dried berries in a freezer bag.
My parents gave me a small crown of *Asparagus about 10 years ago. I’ve read that a crown can produce continuously for several years and mine is still producing heavily for me each spring.
I harvest fresh asparagus spears each morning and bring them inside and rinse them off and allow them to air dry.
If we’ll be enjoying them for supper that night I’ll simply put them in a cup of water like a little asparagus bouquet and place them in the fridge. This will keep them fresh and crisp all day.
But if we’re having so much asparagus that we’re tired of it (I know, but believe it or not, it happens!) I’ll either Pressure Can The Asparagus, or if there’s not enough for a canner load I’ll cut off the more fibrous ends and put the rinsed air-dried asparagus spears in a freezer bag for enjoying later.
That way even in the summer I can pull out a couple of servings of asparagus and lightly steam them with a small pat of butter. The freezer changes the texture to more of a cooked texture anyway so it doesn’t take long at all to steam them until tender.
Back when I first designed my veggie garden over 10 years ago I decided I wanted to try growing grapes. I picked up a start of *Concord Grapevine from Tractor Supply and placed it in my garden.
My theory was that I would plant it near the fence and let it use the fence to support the long vines as they grew.
MAN that grapevine is productive! I only water it when I’m already watering the garden.
But I’ve never fertilized it or done much other than to tie the vines to the fence & prune it back in late winter. That dang vine grows up into the adjoining trees if I don’t maintain it!
Cilantro Volunteer Plants
We love *Cilantro and I’ve only planted it once, several years ago. I allowed that original plant to go to seed and I’ve had cilantro in the garden ever since!
There are several reasons I allow the cilantro to bolt, bloom and seed. Our honeybees love the blooms, it assures volunteer cilantro plants for next year’s garden, and I’m able to harvest coriander after allowing the seeds to dry.
I’ve never purchased coriander but it’s an ingredient in my Homemade Breakfast Sausage. So I’m happy to let my cilantro plant provide coriander for me each year for FREE. What a multi functional plant cilantro is!
In my Botanical Hole of Death yard I even had a hard time getting mint to grow. MINT! I got tired of buying mint to have it succumb in just a few weeks.
So I asked my family for a start of the mint they have in their own gardens and my aunt shared starts of her *Spearmint with me. It grew like CRAZY!
I don’t water or fertilize this mint bed. It’s on its own against the harsh Texas summer sun. And it’s even planted next to a west-facing wall with heat radiating from the bricks in those hot summer months.
I made a specific Mint Planting Area so it would play nice and not take over.
The bees love the blooms and I enjoy harvesting the mint for a Cool Sugar-Free Mint Beverage in the summer, or to steep the mint leaves in water for a delightful hot tea to sooth and comfort on a cold day. And of course I’ve made soap with it. Homemade Morning Motivation Mint soap!
I’ve planted and lost blueberries so many times in the past. But I love them. Then one day at a plant fair the merchant told me about this miniature blueberry plant that works well even when grown in containers.
So I made an adorable Galvanized Blueberry Container and it’s grown ever since.
I enjoy being able to stroll to the back porch and pick those ripe blueberries.
Several years ago a family member shared a start of walking onions with me. I was so intrigued!
They are *Egyptian Walking Onions. And they are a ‘plant it and forget it’ kind of onion. They’re small but strongly flavored.
They reproduce by growing bulbules on the flowers, which then get weighed down and touch the ground. There they’ll root and make new plants.
I’ve not purchased onions for my garden since then. They just keep producing, y’all!
Garlic is another lazy-gardener plant. I harvest mature garlic bulbs in June. After curing the bulbs by allowing them to air on the back porch for several weeks, I pull the largest bulbs and put them into a paper bag (labeled, of course) and store them in my refrigerator.
In October I’ll separate the cloves from those largest bulbs and drop them into the garden to repeat the cycle over & over again.
A heavy mulch of Fallen Leaves in the fall helps protect the garlic over the winter months. And those leaves decompose to enrich the soil and make it more fluffy and easier for garlic bulbs to grow.
By planting my garlic this way I’m able to benefit from garlic that is most suited to my environment. The garlic bulbs grow larger every year! I haven’t purchased garlic for the garden in more years than I can count.
I love my rosemary bushes more than any other of the fresh herbs I have growing. I planted 3 on the north side of our home because I could see them from our main living area windows. With all the brown dreariness of winter, those evergreen rosemary plants were a site for sore eyes.
And each time it rained they would pop out with little purple blooms that our honeybees would go crazy for! And I used much of that fragrant rosemary in cooking or in Making Homemade Soap.
The Snowmageddon of February 2021 took about 90% of each of those beautiful rosemary bushes and I’m beyond devastated. But I’ve trimmed them back and am hoping against all hope that they’ll come back for me. If not, I’ll for sure be replanting these herbs!
Sage Is Beautiful
I love cooking with fresh herbs. And I love to grow plenty to harvest and dry at the end of the season too. I have a Handy Herb-Drying Station in my kitchen to make it easy to dry and use those herbs.
I planted a sage plant in a southern-facing ‘flower bed’ at my front porch years ago. I was thrilled when it came back year after year. It’s now about 5-feet wide, y’all!
And the blooms! Oh those gorgeous purple blooms. I’d never seen a sage ‘bush’ all abloom until this one. The pollinators love it and so do I. What a gorgeous edible plant for my Edible Landscape plan!
I use oregano in my edible landscape too. I’ve had the plant for several years now and I usually allow it to bloom for the pollinators and then hack the dead bloom stems off.
All season long I harvest those fresh leaves for cooking and it’ll be ready for me to take at the end of the season to dry too.
I’d always heard that if you want your basil to last you should keep it cut back and not allow it to bloom. And I always followed that advice. Until I didn’t.
As with much of my edible landscape I wanted to leave some blooms for the pollinators while allowing me to eat the actual leaves of the herbs.
It didn’t seem to negatively affect the basil plant. I had plenty to harvest even after allowing the plant to bloom.
And at the end of the season I left the ugly-isgh dead bloom stalks because I found the birds used it as a food source during the winter months when food was scarce. Then I found yet another benefit…
The next spring I had no shortage of basil volunteers! They popped up prolifically. I typically dig several up and relocate for other edible landscape/pollinator garden options.
And I relocate several to plant with my tomatoes in the veggie garden since they’re great companion plants. Of course I always have a fresh (volunteer) planting of basil for use in cooking for the year too.
I Planted Stevia for my own home-grown sugar-free sweetener several years ago.
During the cooler late spring & early fall months I’ll hack it back about a 3rd and dry the leaves before grinding them into a powder.
I’ve used that home-grown sweetener when making my favorite Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Brownies since RancherMan prefers a sweeter brownie but I didn’t want to add sugar. I’ve also sprinkled it onto my homemade yogurt to sweeten it for him.
But like my basil above, I let it flower and go to seed one year. Low & behold several stevia plants sprouted up the next spring!
I relocated several the same as I did the basil to use in my edible landscape plan. I shared several plants with friends & family too.
What About You?
Those are a few of my lazy gardener’s crops to provide food year after year for us. What are the favorites in your garden? Be sure to note your location so others can learn about what works best in their areas too.
Links Included In This Post:
- Homemade Yogurt – Stovetop Version
- Pumpkin Granola Recipe
- *‘everbearing strawberries’
- Pressure Canning Asparagus
- *Where To Find Asparagus
- *Buying Concord Grapevine
- *Where To Find Cilantro
- Homemade Breakfast Sausage
- Plants That Grow In Our Botanical Hole of Death
- *Where To Find Spearmint
- Containing Mint In A Planting Area
- Cool Sugar-Free Mint Beverage
- Homemade Lavender/Rosemary Soap
- Handy Herb-Drying Station
- Galvanized Miniature Blueberry Planting
- *Where To Find Egyptian Walking Onions
- How/When To Harvest Garlic
- Using Fallen Leaves
- Planting Stevia
- Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Brownies
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Using Vining Plants For Living Mulch
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Compost Old Confidential Documents
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- How To Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons
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