Gardening is a past-time loved by many. It has multiple rewards that include enabling people to beautify their outdoor spaces and providing a source of physical activity and exercise. If you establish a herb and/or vegetable garden, you will also be able to grow some of your own food.
But gardening also has disadvantages. It is time-consuming and can be costly. It may be difficult to find the plants you want to grow. Sometimes, what you want to grow won’t grow in your climate or microclimate. There are certain risks too including injury from physical labor you aren’t used to.
What are the disadvantages of home gardening?
There is absolutely no doubt that gardening can be a challenge. It can also be an expensive past-time that takes up a lot of time.
It can be physically exhausting and when you use various gardening tools, like pruners and secateurs, large forks, spades, and hoes, you open yourself to the risk of injury. Bending down and lifting heavy objects can result in injury too.
But there are gardening advantages too, and you need to weigh these up with the risks and disadvantages you may face.
Gardening is time-consuming even in the months when many plants are dormant. So when you decide to establish a garden or more ambitiously, landscape your entire property, you need to be ready to make an ongoing time commitment.
It takes time to establish garden beds and do initial planting. If you are growing annuals, planting will be an ongoing process. But even if you focus on perennials that keep going for years, you will still need to carry out regular maintenance.
This will include watering, weeding, and feeding plants as well as trimming or pruning. If you grow veggies, you will need to spend time harvesting the fruits of your labor. But that ought to be 100% pleasure.
Ideally, the time you spend in your garden should be leisure time even if it is hard work!
Establishing a new garden can entail significant initial costs. For instance, you may need to clear parts (or even all) of your site and replace at least part of the existing soil.
Structural elements that cost include walls and fences, and paving. If you already have the basic structure of the garden, your money will be spent on soil, fertilizer, and plants.
You may be able to get cuttings from friends and family, or even fairly well-established plants that you can transplant. Alternatively, you can start with seeds, which is a much cheaper route, but one that takes time.
Once your garden is established, you will undoubtedly have some maintenance costs. These will depend on what you planted and how effectively you guard against plant pests and diseases.
Another potential cost factor is water for irrigation. You can overcome this by installing rainwater tanks and using water from the sky. But it will, of course, cost you a bit to make the installation.
The plants you choose for your garden will depend on the type of garden you are establishing as well as your local climate, soil conditions, and so on. Even though you may not be able to find every plant you want in your garden, chances are your local suppliers will have suitable options.
For beginners, a bigger challenge is choosing what plants will do best in their environment.
Finding enough space for your gardening projects can be a challenge. If you have a small outdoor environment, this can be a disadvantage too.
The space you have may determine the kind of gardening project you opt for. For instance, you may only have limited space and so terrace gardening, perhaps with containers, maybe the only sensible option.
If you have a young family, the fact that they need space to run and play can be a disadvantage for a keen gardener who needs space to grow plants.
There are a few ways to maximize space. These include using trellises, establishing vertical gardens, and even container gardening.
One vertical space-saver incorporates sack gardening where tall sacks are filled with soil and planted, usually with vegetable seeds. With care, vegetables will sprout not only from the top of the sacks but also from the sides.
Sack Gardening Solution
According to United Nations Climate Change, an organic gardening project that incorporates tall sacks is improving nutrition and food security in Sylhet, Bangladesh. About 500 families are involved in the organic sack gardening project where 8-10 sacks can provide one household with a regular supply of vegetables.
Organic sack gardening costs very little and doesn’t require pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Sack gardeners convert organic waste into compost and use greywater from washing for irrigation.
Sack gardening is a relatively new innovation that has also been very successful in Kenya and Uganda and can work well in urban gardens.
Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Hossain, who started the Bangladesh project, won the Organic Farming Innovation Award in 2011.
Gardening isn’t dangerous in itself, but there are hazards. For instance, pruning tools, spades, forks, and hoes all have sharp edges and can cut you if mishandled.
Power tools including lawnmowers, weedeaters, hedge cutters, leaf blowers, and so on must all be handled with respect for the same reason.
In addition, gardening requires more physical exertion than many people imagine. This comes in the form of bending, digging, and carrying heavy items from bags of soil and compost to containers. All of this can result in strains and muscle injuries.
Anyone who isn’t reasonably fit should consider hiring a helper for majorly physical activities.
Chemical exposure is more likely to be a disadvantage for anyone running a garden business. You can avoid the risks of chemical exposure by using natural fertilizers and insecticides instead of chemicals.
One of the gardening advantages of organic gardening is that it is completely natural and requires zero chemicals. Give it a try!
What are the challenges of gardening?
The challenges of gardening start with knowing how to plan a new garden. You’ll need to know what you want to achieve and how the design process works.
You will also need to know what to plant, where to plant, and how to position your plants. There are many other challenges, including issues like soil conditions, temperature, humidity, and assessing the need to fertilize.
Here is a bit more information about some of these challenges.
There is so much we can do with our gardens that it can be an enormous challenge to decide what elements and plants to include in your garden plan. So the first step is to identify your needs.
Do you want areas where you and your family can relax and/or spaces where children can play? Are you going to incorporate a flower garden, a herb garden, a vegetable garden, or a water garden?
If you are starting from scratch, you will have a bare canvas to work with, which is exciting but hugely challenging for beginners. In many ways, it is easier to develop what is already on site.
Once you have analyzed your site as it is now, you can decide how to introduce the elements you want to create or build.
Of course, you don’t have to tackle your entire outdoor space all at once. You can start with small areas, perhaps planting a veggie garden or establishing a terrace garden on a slope.
You might even decide to start with container gardening, beautifying a patio, terrace, or deck.
Proper Plant Spacing
One of the most important elements of any garden plan is choosing what to plant. As mentioned above, this can be a challenge.
The next challenge is spacing your plants correctly. Very often beginner gardeners plant much too much, not taking mature size into account.
Proper plant spacing applies to every type of garden and even container gardening. If you are planting seeds, the packet instructions will guide you.
If you are planting transplants or more established plants, you may need to do some additional research to see what size they will grow, and how quickly they will reach maturity. That will help you determine how far apart to space them.
Planting Too Early
Lots of people fall into the trap of planting too early. It is more of a challenge for seeds and transplants that should be planted in spring.
A golden rule is to plant after the last hard frost.
Planting too late can also be a problem. For example, many vegetables simply won’t sprout if you sow the seeds in the fall or in winter.
Treating Plant Diseases
This is literally a killer, not just potentially of plants, but also gardening enthusiasm. But you won’t be alone if you lose plants, including food crops, to plant diseases. It happens to many people.
The secret is to be aware of the potential pests and diseases that may attack the various plants you have chosen. Being forewarned is a great advantage.
We cover a very wide range of plants in Northern Nester and describe potential pest and disease problems. So, our website is a good place for you to start preparing your knowledge.
We have outlined some of the risks and disadvantages of gardening in this article. But, while we acknowledge that gardening has its challenges, it also has very attractive advantages.
Our advice is to be aware of the disadvantages and to weigh these up before deciding on the parameters of any garden project. There is no point in trying to design, plant, and maintain an expansive garden if you don’t have the time, money, and energy to follow through.
But there are, happily, lots of different options that don’t all involve many risks, if any.
Container gardening can be a good starting point, or you could try terrace gardening using a combination of pots and planting in the soil in or around the terrace area. You may even be inspired to try sack gardening.
Do as much as you can and enjoy what you do!