Picture this. It’s February. Cold, snowy, and downright miserable. You’re sitting on your couch all cozied up with some tea, dreaming about spring. What comes to mind? A garden! A big, beautiful garden overflowing with vegetables and flowers. Bees buzzing, sun shining. Fast forward to May… time for that garden to get started. All of a sudden you’re running to Home Depot and Lowe’s frantically trying to get all the things you need. Then you realize you needed to start some seeds indoors, so now everything is behind. You figure there’s no point so you throw up your hands and quit.
Sound familiar? Yep, I’ve been there too.
How did you go from dreaming about a beautiful lush garden to a frustrated quitter? “Life!” is what you’re saying. And boy do I hear you. Life has a funny way of getting in the way, doesn’t it? So, in an effort to help you overcome these struggles and get you that big beautiful garden you’ve always dreamt of, let’s dive into it: here’s 7 Reasons You Quit Gardening (and why they’re wrong).
1. “I don’t have time.”
Ah, the classic. You don’t have time to stand outside and water some plants for five minutes, but you’ve got half an hour to scroll on Instagram and TikTok… hmmm. I’m not calling you out here! Ok, maybe a little; but only because that’s 100% me too. Time flies when you’re scrolling down memory lane, and before you know it you’ve scrolled right through the day. It’s a tough habit to break, and one that our generation struggles with big time.
I know besides scrolling everyone is exceptionally busy. That’s the way the world works these days. But I am telling you, a little bit of intentionality goes a long way. And I promise you: carving out five minutes a day to step outside, grab some Vitamin D, and tend to your planties… It can be done even on the busiest of schedules. Not to mention the automatic watering systems you can get if you are willing to spend a little extra.
2. “I don’t have any space.”
How in the world can you grow anything in your 300 square foot studio apartment with no balcony??? You’d be surprised. You might not be growing a year’s worth of food, but windowsill gardens can be super successful, and vertical gardens and hydroponic systems make great indoor alternatives!
Growing your own food is empowering and exciting! Starting is the key, even if you’re starting small. Don’t let something like space get in the way, when there are a ton of options to make it happen. Here are a few ideas off the top of my head, depending on the amount of space you have: Greenstalk Vertical Garden, balcony planters, raised beds, Growbags.
3. “I don’t have the money.”
When you start to add up the costs of all the building/ planting materials, soil, fertilizers, etc. gardening can definitely seem like quite the investment. And it can be. But it doesn’t have to be.
Everyone on Pinterest and Instagram these days is pushing organic gardening, Cedar raised beds, organic compost, all the things. And they are great! If you can afford them. We went to Home Depot looking for Cedar and were SHOCKED at how expensive it is! We ended up getting *gasp* treated lumber. Is it as “clean” and chemical free? Probably not. But we don’t plan on using our beds for more than a few years, so they’ll be fine.
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of just starting. There are so many videos out there on growing in five gallon buckets, starting seeds in egg cartons, and finding cost-effective ways of gardening. So while the purists might look down their nose, homegrown lettuce is still homegrown lettuce.
Lastly (I have a lot to say about this one), don’t forget about places like ReStore. You can find great deals on lumber there, and I’ve even thought about making a window greenhouse with reclaimed windows. The possibilities are endless, you just need to be creative when cutting costs.
4. “If I can’t do it all, then I’m not doing anything.”
If you can’t have your big dreams, then why even try?
Here’s what’s wrong with this type of thinking. First off, it’s unrealistic. If you had all the money in the world and could start your dream garden right off the bat, I’m telling you now it would most likely be a huge failure. One of the reasons I’m glad I had to start small (with a little balcony garden in an apartment) was because I could make mistakes and not pay a huge price. Starting small allows you to learn and expand organically and gradually. You grow as your garden grows.
Second, this type of thinking makes me sad! If you give up before you even start, you are missing out on a fundamentally life-changing experience. Gardening has 100% changed who I am and how I live my life. And if I would have waited until I could create the perfect garden, well, I’d still be waiting.
5. “It’s cheaper in the grocery store.”
Not really. The investment you make is in time, rather than money. I did the math, and one tomato seed costs anywhere from one to ten cents. You can get between 100-200 seeds in a small packet at your local hardware store. One plant (depending on the variety) can produce pounds of fruit. Compare that to paying $1.98/ lb for your organic vine-ripened tomato at Walmart. Ten cents per pound vs. almost two dollars… pretty big difference.
Waiting a little longer, getting to know your plants, and having complete control over how they’re grown is definitely worth the extra time. You can save some cash, learn along the way, and eat better quality food all at the same time!
6. “It’s too much physical labor.”
If you have physical limitations that keep you from doing a large amount of physical work, I completely understand how gardening seems out of reach. But I’d like to point you back to number two on this list, where there are lots of great ideas for small gardens that don’t require a lot of manual labor. Small porch gardens or balcony gardens can be absolutely wonderful ways to get some low intensity activity. They even make special raised beds that can accommodate wheel chairs and people who can’t bend down to ground level.
The benefits of gardening are more than just physical. The mindfulness of watering each and every seedling, the satisfaction of watching your plants grow, and the fulfillment you get from eating your hard work all pay off in dividends.
7. “I don’t have a green thumb.”
Are you this person? Or is your friend this person? You can’t keep anything alive? My husband and I actually have a friend from college (a botany major, mind you) who was so bad at keeping things alive that we got him a cactus as a joke. HE KILLED THE CACTUS!
I’ll be the first to say I’m decent at keeping a garden, but house plants on the other hand? Not so much. Here’s the thing. Even if you’re the biggest plant killer out there, I assure you you can learn to keep plants alive and make them thrive. YouTube is full of tutorials and instructional videos! Plus, different plants require different amounts of attention. You might want to get different seeds if you’re a helicopter plant mom vs. if you forget to water. Or, you might want to invest in one of those automatic watering systems I mentioned earlier. Knowing what you excel at and what you struggle with will be huge helpers as you create your perfect garden.
Still want to quit?
All these things are easier said than done. I know. It’s a lot to think about, and a lot to learn! But I want to encourage you that starting is the most important thing you can do. Get one pot, and one packet of seeds. Focus on that pot and those seeds this year. Then next year, maybe do two pots. Small successes will turn into big ones down the road. And if you find ways to overcome your obstacles of time, money, space, etc. you will be ten steps ahead of everyone else.
How to Start Your Perfect Garden
If you are wondering how to start, what types of seeds work best in small spaces, and where to find all this stuff, join me at the end of this month for a five-week-long course called How to Grow Your Own Food (Anyone can do it!). I’ll be teaching five live webinars and helping you get your garden started from scratch in real time. At the end of the course, your plants will be right on track to be transplanted or set outside to grow in just a few short weeks!
Also, if you want a head start, grab this FREE garden planner to help you get everything in order before the course begins.
I hope this list has encouraged you and maybe even convicted you. This is not the year you will say “I just never got around to it!” This is the year you will start your garden, grow your own food, and reap the rewards.
I can’t wait to hear how your garden turns out! Tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can see all the progress you’re making! And join my email list to get updates on when my course is starting so you don’t miss it!