Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Home Gardening Worth It???

This is the question I have been struggling with this all the time and money that has gone into our garden this year, worth what we get out of it??  We have been gardening for the past 4 summers and each summer we learn a little more and get a little better.  Last year was the year of the cucumber but this year we had only 4.  This year we had oodles of tomatoes but the plants were too close together and shaded out our peppers (see the albino pepper below) and we lost a bunch of them due to overcrowding. The Swiss chard never grew, the zucchinis were eaten by animals while I was away, my potted plants could not stay wet enough in our dry, hot weather and I spent $35 on a garden sitter while we were on vacation! 
So is it worth it??  Should I take the money we put into the garden (seeds, soil, plants, fence, water, sitter) and put it into trips to the farmers market??  We do get plenty of vegetables from our CSA and maybe that would be enough.  Not to mention all the time I'd save from not gardening....I am not sure what to do.
The thing is that I enjoy gardening.  I enjoy starting with a tiny seed and growing it into something that we can eat and enjoy.  Gardening is calming for me and a nice way to get outside.  It has also been a great experience for the kids too.  I love that they are participating in the growing of their own food and learning how plants grow.  Check out Lil'C's mini pumpkins from her pumpkin garden ;) We grew these from seed over the cute!
So maybe the answer is to scale back on the garden next year.  Perhaps next year we can grow Lil'C's mini pumpkins, some carrots for Z and create a small salsa garden (peppers and tomatoes) for the family.  I will get rid of the containers (other than my herb box) and spread out the rest of the plants in our bigger garden bed.   Hopefully this new plan will be easier to execute and far less expensive :)


Mommy Lisa said...

Good idea. I just don't have the sunny space in my yard for a good garden - I know I could probably find a place to garden in a community garden, but that would be even more work and expense. sigh.

Anonymous said...

To garden or not to garden...?
You coverd it all.
Sooooooo many more benefits vs the costs.
Suggestions?? Grow only what you enjoy and what grows easily and grow a lot.
Some of the excess you can sell via a small honor system vegetable stand on the road and make back your costs. (Another good learning experience for the little ones)

Keep the animals out is the a challenge but necessary. They're cute but they don't care a wit about your great efforts.
It's a jungle out there and you're growing a banquet for them. For defense you gotta fence...a high one.

You have a special challenge though when you're away and of course that's when the fauna will play.
Oh well, time to mulch the garden for next year.
Love U Guyz,
GpJ & Mimi

Connie Weiss said...

I miss gardening. I promise...I'm going to post the pictures of my one and only garden soon!! Because my husband doesn't believe me either.

I love fresh tomatoes from the garden and I'd just plant those if I could.

Mom said...

I would say the the excited look on the kids faces, the other night, when they were showing me the mini pumpkins, and when we went outside to see what was left...they were so pleased with it all. Lil' C brought each pumpkin over to me so I could "ooh and ahh" over them.
Was it worth it, yes! The smiles and pleasure can't be expressed in $$$$. However, could it be made more economical, probably. I agree with Mimi, grow what you want and can survive the summer away. Maybe put things in containers that can be brought up to the lake while you are there. Maybe put a sprinkler on a timer to water while you are away...cheaper than a garden sitter. You have the winter to figure it out.
But, those smiles...worth every penny!

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