One of the most common complaints that I receive from friends about gardening is that it is either A.) too difficult or B.) they don’t have enough time. Little do they know that both of those could not be further from the truth, as you can maintain a small garden with an hour per day or less and it’s really not too difficult if you put aside your bad attitude and see it as a learning experience. Many do not know how simple of a process it really is. Don’t get me wrong, it does require some know how and a good bit of sweat, but it isn’t difficult with a good mindset and an ample bit of enthusiasm.
Likewise I also find that people often get discouraged that their gardens have little problems now again and find themselves discouraged by their results. Perhaps because gardening is often mystified by “how to” websites and HGTV style celebrities who try to sell them products they don’t need or just because they see the results of commercial gardeners and get discouraged by wonderful, photoshopped photos of bountiful, brochure-esque gardens that most do not have.
Do you find yourself in a similar boat? Well, don’t give up! Sit a spell and let me tell you why, meanwhile knocking some of your common excuses out of the park.
1.) I Don’t Have The Space
This is an extremely common excuse, but one that could not be further from the truth in most cases.
As you can see here, I use simple 7 foot railroad ties and in this picture have two 7×7 beds. This picture was taken in June and the plants in the picture have doubled or tripled in size due to the rain and heat we’ve had in Georgia. They still fit in these beds and have produced big, bountiful harvests. Also, contrary to conventional gardening wisdom (as well as something that will make most purists cringe), I planted 3 bush green bean plants per hole WITHOUT thinning them and it has resulted in MASSIVE yields. So you can, if you are careful, maximize your output in even a tiny space such as an 7×7 bed.
2. My Garden Doesn’t Look As Good As The Pictures Online
Well, mine really doesn’t either, but it hasn’t stopped it from producing BOUNTIFUL amounts of fruit and veggies.
As you can see from the picture, I’ve had issues with yellowing leaves and other types of problems. I also have weed problems from time to time (which can admittedly be time consuming). However, look in the middle. See that nice, lovely (and delicious) tomato? Bad leaf growth can be cut off (even to the benefit of the plant), so don’t sweat the small stuff. Any issues with mildew or other disease can likewise be treated with many readily available products at your local nursery. Also, if you have problems with wild growth (like I did with the same tomato plants after a long rain spell) then just tie them to a stake with zip ties.
3. (SO AND SO) Is So Much Better Than Me
I guarantee you half of gardeners online are better than me but that doesn’t stop me from doing it or blogging about it because it is a passion of mine. Gardening and homesteading are not, nor should be, competitions and everyone should help each other out and encourage each other. You can do it and even be better than me at it!
4. I keep Waiting But The Results Don’t Come!
July started like this for me.
And late July is doing really well for me.
I expect August to be even better too!
5.) My Plants Keep Dying
Okay, enough sarcasm. Don’t get discouraged my dear friend as it’s rarely too late to save a plant. It could be too little water (or if there is mildew, too much), too much heat (be sure to mulch and keep them hydrated) or wrong location (too much/little sun). Be sure to look up the needs of your plant on a site like Old Farmer’s Almanac and make sure they are in the right spot and are receiving appropriate water. It’s not that time consuming usually and if you are unsure, find a good gardening forum with people you can trust or ask a friend/family member. Finding good support is also a great way to ensure that you can learn proper plant care.
6. It’s Too Difficult
Don’t think of it as a competition or a quadratic equation. Think about it as play or as a learning experience, because that’s what it really is. I know it’s easy to get discouraged if you do not do well or if you kill a plant, but hunker down and try again. Read as much as possible, look for SIMPLE and AFFORDABLE methods of gardening and start small. Even if you start small, you will find the results to be immeasurable.
7. I Don’t Have Enough Time
Do you have time to watch Game Of Thrones or Breaking Bad every day? If the answer is yes, then you have time. A small garden can be maintained in one hour or less everyday. If you are crunched on time, remember that the best way to save time in the future is usually putting a little bit of extra time in BEFORE you plant.
What I mean by that is:
A.) Remove as much grass and weed growth from the garden area as you can when preparing the ground. Put a good bit of time into this.
B.) Make sure that you prepare the soil thoroughly so it is nice and soft.
C.) Mulch the garden liberally at the appropriate time.
D.) Organize and space plants appropriately as well.
And after you get everything planted, remember that an important part of saving time is to make your plants are staked (if needed), latticed, tied, etc. when they grow big so you don’t have to spend as much time harvesting.
8.) This Is Too Much. I Want To Give Up!
9.) IT’S TOO HOT!
That’s what fall and winter veggies are for.
You can grow all year round in many states (namely the South). If you’re up north, don’t fret because the possibilities of fall/late fall growing are there for you too but not as numerous as cold and frost are not a plant’s best friend.
10. I HAVE NO MORE EXCUSES! GIVE ME ONE, PLEASE!
Can’t help you there, buddy. I’m not a Democrat.
11.) Honorable Mention: It’s Too Expensive!
You can buy a shovel for $5.98 at Home Depot, a hoe at Walmart for $10 and a pack of seeds for less than $2.00. That’s less than 20 dollars total and that’s really all you need. I hand-tilled my gardens and while it requires labor, it’s not impossible. If you look around, you could find the tools and seeds even cheaper, especially if you get the shovel at a thrift store or a farm supply store that sells used tools.
Don’t get caught up in the bells and whistles of HGTV. Just stick to the basics and enjoy. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be viable.
Well, there you have it! I hope this inspires you to go out there and give it your best. Fall is coming soon, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to have your own garden. It’s still possible, just plan ahead, work smart and stay safe!
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God bless y’all,