After spending most of my day yesterday loading, hauling, and dumping wood chips and manure for my garden yesterday one thing kept ringing in my head about why people don't garden... I don't mean to be critical or judgmental. I look at myself and what I was doing even just a few years ago. I at least kept trying to garden, but really just kept accepting the "conventional wisdom" spouted by most of the talking heads on TV, and stuff you will see online, or books. And the results generally speaking were "OK" or frankly poor. Of course the answer by the experts is yet something else you need to buy... There is more CRAP being sold to gardeners that you can shake a stick at and it is pathetic, expensive, and completely UN-nesessary. So why don't people garden?
Here is my hypothesis on some of the reasons why people don't garden. I will point out what I think are the MYTH's and what really is holding people back.
1. COST, If all you did was ran out and bought all of the tools, fertilizers, pesticides, herbacides, gadgets, gizmos, and stuff it will drive you to the poor house in a hurry.
2. Confusing, complexity, scarey, overwhelming.... Yes, if you listen to those who only have some garbage to sell you then you will get buried in lots of the nonsense.
3. Terminology, there are some things you really do need to learn about the basics, but many of the things that are related to the garbage someone wants to sell you don't sweat it, forget it!
4. Time, It can take some time to setup your garden initially. I don't recommend tilling your soil, or destroying beneficial bugs, worms, fungi, and bacteria that may live where you want to garden. But if you take your time and set up your garden you will not spend as much time as you think during the year and really the hard work is in the planning and initial setup.
5. Work, yes when your initially setting up your garden it is work. Your going to find yourself hauling manure, dirt, wood chips, saw dust, coffee grounds, leaves, and any organic material you can get your hands on to setup your garden beds and your compost piles. It is work, but your laying the foundation for years to come and you will find it won't be a lot of work in the long run if you keep it simple.
I find that my garden time is mostly front loaded each year. Meaning most of my time consumed is actually before the first seed or plant goes into the ground. Each year as I have gotten really serious about the garden my soil has gotten better, and the results have gotten better. Even when I was running late and out of time to get things done things still went better than I would have expected and continues to improve each year.
Out of all of the list of reasons people don't garden I think it really boils down to find someone who gardens simply with nature, organically and ask them to help you. It doesn't have to cost you an arm and leg, it doesn't have to be confusing or tough. It boils down to deciding to make some time and do some work.
Now the question I have for you and for myself is this. Can I buy the kind of vegetables, and fruits that I am growing in my garden? On the surface the answer would appear to be yes, UNTIL you bite into a garden grown tomato, or cut a fresh salad and taste it, or a garden fresh green bean, or the old fashioned fermented pickles that we grew and stored... You see it might APPEAR you can buy these things, but you can't. These things may look the same, but they are totally different. The quality, freshness, taste, and nutrition cannot be compared. So why would anyone NOT want to grow a garden? I mean if you want to settle for bland, boring, tasteless, nutrient deficient food and have lots of money to spend on all of it then fantastic. But if your like me and realize that what I am getting in return for a little bit of my time and some work is something that is priceless then I have to ask myself and YOU why on earth wouldn't you want to do that and grow a garden?
I hope you will join me this year and plant a garden. Keep it simple if your new to gardening. Please ask if you have a question or don't know where to begin. It can be both simple, fun, and rewarding.
Take Care, and God Bless,