Why It’s Crazy Not to Garden



Here is the scene on my screened porch currently: Approximately $4500 worth of organic heirloom tomatoes, plus a fortune in organic exotic potato varieties, onions, and patty pans.  We're not even counting the basil going into pesto, the tomatoes I've already processed, the pumpkin I sent home with my friend Kate, the cabbages, carrots and cilantro made into cole slaw–or all the stuff that is still sitting out there in the garden patiently waiting to be picked.


  1. Yummy yummy yummy. But a whole lot of processing to do. As a full time working woman I found the best thing I did was to fianally stagger the plantings so it didn’t all come at once. And to not over plant or things would just go to waste. This year I finally got the green beans right. I pick about every three days, have enough for supper and enough to freeze one quart bag. I just don’t have the time to do all day canning like my mother did.

  2. It is crazy not to grow food. Your right! If you have a yard or a balcony or a pot, you can grow something. The potatoes that sprouted in cupboard? dig a hole.. throw them in..We did. Even if I didn’t tend them perfectly.. I’m harvesting new potatoes now. organic garlic I purchased end of last years FM.. whoops let it sprout.. BUT thankfully I asked my son to throw them in the ground and we are saving megabucks on organic garlic this year! Basil/chives/parsley/cilantro.. dirt/seeds your good to go.. something will grow even if it can’t be tended perfectly. Too many people don’t garden because they think it has to be perfect. I’m happy to harvest whatever grows, and if there’s a sunny day sit in the garden and weed with my son, but if not..oh well.. it will stil grow and food will still come. OR, it’ll come next year (so much harvesting from last years compost!!! ;o)

  3. LOVE ! U grow girl….

    I had no idea heirlooms were $7.50. I’d been pricing them at $4 from memory…but I really have no idea.

    I don’t shop at Whole Paycheck or my local FM since I always grow my own and I’m always working….and why drive to buy seasonal and local when its growing in your front yard garden for free?

  4. There must be a whole lot of veggies on the piorch and not in this photo? No matter how I look at that photo, I don’t see anything close to $4,500…. not even $45.00

  5. Well, Esther and Spud, I exaggerate, naturally. But I don’t think you’ve been to my farmers’ market recently, if you think you could buy even a fraction of my tomatoes for $45.00.

  6. I garden because I enjoy it. I enjoy the looks of ornamental plants and the taste and the personal satisfaction of growing food. I don’t imagine, though, if I value my own labor at anything like a sane rate that it saves me money. It’s only if I count my labor as nothing that that’s true.

    We don’t need to make excuses for gardening. We should do it just because we like it. All of this searching around for moral justification.

    To the new progressives, “if it feels good, do it” becomes the ultimate moral guide for human relationships, but such values as aesthetics and personal satisfaction have become suspect in any external endeavor. Why on earth is that? “Because it’s beautiful” has now gained the same scorn that has heaped upon representational art 80 years ago.

    Remodeling is now sold as “eco-conscious” when pretty much only HVAC upgrades, insulation, and new windows are really an actual improvement over leaving the previous design the heck alone. In the same vein are all these posts declaring how removing the front lawn or using only natives or growing your own food is saving the environment and therefore improving the world. All these are delusional or hypocritical statements. You don’t plant an elaborate perennial garden (whether this is the new, mounded “meadow” aesthetic, a militant natives-only planting, or a traditional mixed border) because you want to “save the earth.” You plant it because you like it. You don’t even kill off your lawn and sow it with native grasses to “save the earth”–you do it to make a political statement.

    In fact, I see this trend as the politicization of gardening, and I don’t like it one bit. Those who choose to opt out of making their gardens into a political billboard are to be scorned as bourgeoisie and stupid. It is only through politicization that the origins of the American lawn can change one’s attitude toward it. It reeks of social-climbing! Of putting on the trappings of wealth! How horrible!

    Guess what? Indoor plumbing was also restricted to the wealthy for many years, and only a lot of advertisements got Americans bathing regularly. Cars used to belong only to the wealthy. So did air conditioning, microwaves, and so many other things that make life pleasant today. It’s not the lofty origins of the lawn that annoy people. The lawn, like the microwave, is now too “middle class.” It is, in a word, too easy.

    In fact, almost all the alternatives to the *average* American lawn are far, far less practical for most families (which have children that, one hopes, play outside in the yard if the parents aren’t obscenely paranoid) and far, far more labor intensive. In fact, it’s the new snobbery of high-maintenance that appears to be behind a lot of the condemnation of traditional yards. We’re supposed to do away with the front yard and have an “edible landscape”–something that requires a huge amount of the new capital in the form of leisure time.

    The edible landscape is, in fact, an enormous display of conspicuous consumption of not only money but time, too–far more than the lawn ever was for middle class America.

    But that’s just it. None of the alternatives to lawn are middle class. And it’s middle-class-ness, not something actually wrong with the lawn, that is what’s so despised. Grocery stores, lawns, minivans, and, heaven forbid, 2.5 kids are all held up for censure because they are not part of the language of the self-appointed culturally elite.

    We need to be honest. We don’t garden for moral superiority. We CERTAINLY don’t garden to save money (you must count your labor to be honest here). We garden because we like it. Other people garden because they like it, too.

    Let’s leave it at that.

  7. I garden because I like to, and because I like ‘shopping’ in the garden. There are so many labors we can’t calculate in financial costs – cooking our own meals – raising our own chickens for eggs and meat – making our own table decorations or Christmas presents. We can calculate materials, not not the finance of labors of love.

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