If you’re still on the fence about breaking some sod and scattering seeds or selecting six-packs of young plants, think about this.
- Gardening is time-consuming. There’s a lot to do before planting and harvesting. Even before and after. Wouldn’t you rather be doing something else?
- Heartbreaking. There’s always a sacrificial crop each year. You never know which one it will be.
- Demands weeding. And more weeding. Especially if you’re largely organic. They’re back in a flourish overnight.
- Messy. You have to have someplace out of sight to hide all the pots and bags you’ve pulled out of the shed or garage. As for those weeds you uprooted? They get thrown somewhere.
- Debris-producing. You can’t compost it all, especially the woody stuff. And, yes, you can put that in those big brown-paper bags and haul them to the dump, or you can find somewhere to establish a brush pile. And then, at some point, you’ve got to do something with that brush pile before it requires a building permit.
- Anxiety-producing. Just listen to my wife watching the weather report or me anticipating the water bill when we’re having to water intensely through a dry spell. And that’s before hailstorms or frost warnings or …
- Unforgiving. For example, when a crop arrives, it’s often a flood that must be picked pronto or spoil. And just picking it isn’t enough. You can’t eat it all, so somebody has to can or freeze it. Now! Before it starts rotting or wilts.
- A magnet for invaders. Birds, picking out sees and later berries. Slimy garden slugs, taking bites out of anything fleshy, like strawberries and tomatoes, or greens. Squirrels digging mindlessly, often planting walnuts as they go, which then sprout into stinky treelets with tenacious roots. Woodchucks, which can devour a row of their choice overnight. (See item 2.)
- Costly. Those bags of potting soil and additives and pesticides (even organic) add up, as do the flats of seedlings, even once you’re past the round of catalogue orders at the beginning of the year. As I was saying about the water bill?
- Let’s not overlook replacing broken tools. Or lost ones.
Well, all those benefits do come at a price. Best you know now!
Fellow planters, be frank. What other downsides would you acknowledge?