Sandbox forum: Warning to new hobby gardeners

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Name: hermes
GVRD (BC, Canada) (Zone 7b)
Hermes
Apr 28, 2018 3:55 PM CST
It all started with 'oh, I'll just plant a few see and see what happens.'

Two months later I am inundated with living things I am responsible for. I am looking for friends and associates to give them all my extras to. Plus there is the cost of time and supplies. I enjoy gardening for the amazingness of going from seed to usable plants, and in and of itself the activity is very relaxing.

However, keep in mind that gadrdening is dirty, requires space and commitment, is inefficient (compare to just going grocery shopping) and tend sto overtake interior and exterior of one's home.

You've been forewarned.
Name: Cheryl
North of Houston TX (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 28, 2018 4:03 PM CST
Hermes said:
"However, keep in mind that gadrdening is dirty, requires space and commitment, is inefficient (compare to just going grocery shopping) and tend sto overtake interior and exterior of one's home.'

Yeah!!
Isn't gardening GREAT!! Hurray!
Welcome!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
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GrammaChar
Apr 28, 2018 5:05 PM CST
Welcome! Hermes. True, gardening can become an obsession. You left out sore muscles, broken fingernails, stained knees on clothing, aching back, chigger / mosquito / fire ant bites, and my favorite: cactus thorns. But then you go out with that first cup of coffee in the morning and are greeted with a new flower. Ahhhhhh. It's all worth it! I love every minute of it.
GrammaChar
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Apr 28, 2018 7:18 PM CST
Oh and dirt under your fingernails!! Even with gloves.

You can never casually walk by plants without stopping to investigate them and if you are at the store, and you see THEM, you cannot leave a store without THEM!!

You will have visions about plants where your lawn was before. You could be tempted to remove your lawn. I know. It happened to Me!!

Who needs a lawn when you can create a park like setting at your home!!

๐Ÿ˜€

Mindi
[Last edited by MindiHammerstone - Apr 28, 2018 7:21 PM (+)]
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Name: hermes
GVRD (BC, Canada) (Zone 7b)
Hermes
May 4, 2018 4:51 PM CST
I wasn't being faecetious. I really am wondering whether gardening is worth the effort. This is an experiment.

Last night I spent five glorious but totally inefficient hours 'potting up', watering and inspecting growth. This is becoming ridiculous.

I also went to one of of the two LOWE'S in this metro area and discovered several things that shocked and disappointed me...

The yarrow that I bought seeds from Rchter's Herbs in Ontario? Not only does it grow wild (including in the vacant lot near Lowe's, I mean something like 6000 of them, and in the 'worst' spoil imaginable) but they look a billion times better than my fusy small plants grown from seed and fussily rejecting transplant into containers -- totally unlike all of mints which seem to be nature's promiscuous and ready to take anything plants. But LOWE'S mints also are much bigger and sturdioer. What light and fertilizer are they using to get such plants on testosterone?

Okay, so I jotted that down that the wild yarrow, they are last year's growth. That would explain the dried seeds. But the feathery leaves were huge and the stalks were a meter tall! I went into the store expecting to be proud that I had exotic herbs that no big box stiore could possibly have. I had seen hearty tall lovage at $5 at Garden Works. At Lowe's they had multiple varieties of mints and a lemon balm at $3. This makes gardening from seed at home a cruel joke.

But the biggest hassle is soil. I use public transport, for one.

I stooped buying either bulk or pacakaged soil because my rustic weeds (nettles, yarrow) don't like it. And it is bankrupting me. Canadians - don't believe any of the Youtube videos about picking this or that soil ingredient up for $2-4. And pots are hemmoraghing my bank account. Even dollar store (in Canada read 'Three or Four Dollar' store) the pots alone are bleeding me dry. Add on a saucer and we're talking $8 per 12" deep set. So, I have to devise ways of getting pots cheap or free. Like today I saw some landscapers and asked them if I could have their empty black basics. I am going to a house for sale (to be torn down) to dig up some soil. And the repairman's at my home was another of my targets. I asked the workman if he would sell me some gravel from his full trailer (also saving my transport). He had brought too much and was eager to get rid of it.

Basically, gardening, at least the gardening industry, caters to middle + class people with houses and vehicles who have lots of lesiure time to boot, i.e. the retired who are relatively financially stable or even wealthy. That's my take on it. No doubt there are working class people with little balconies or a rented shared accommodation with patio who do it too. I'll bet the minority.

What's more, I talked to my brotehr and he gave up on his veggie garden becasue it took so much time weeding and watering. Hmm, so gardening makes economic sense if you grow something that just isn't available in the marketplace, or you *really* enjoy it even with its costs. Or someone is willing to buy what you grow. I am concerned becasue I intend to travel overseas for at leaast 21 days. Now it looks like I will be a slave to my garden. Or I will have to postpone travel to non-harvesting months. You can be sure I am more or less only planting perennials. Annuals don't make sense.
[Last edited by Hermes - May 4, 2018 5:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 4, 2018 9:32 PM CST
Hermรจs,

Iam sorry that you are so bummed out. Gardening does take a lot of time and maintenance. And an over the seas trip could put a dampener on it.

I wish you all the best!!

Mindi
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
May 5, 2018 12:14 AM CST
MindiHammerstone said:Hermรจs,

Iam sorry that you are so bummed out. Gardening does take a lot of time and maintenance. And an over the seas trip could put a dampener on it.

I wish you all the best!!

Mindi


Gardening is either an obsession or it isn't. You can buy flowers for the house cheaper. You can buy veggies at the store cheaper (not that they taste as good). But in some ways, it is the difference between planting something and seeing it grow, picking tomatoes off your own vine or corn from the stalk or fresh beans . It is a choice, not a requirement for most people.

Or you can go on amusement park rides, go fishing, play golf, or watch the newest movie. There is nothing wrong with those either.

My choice is gardening. I LIKE having dirt under my fingernails, I enjoy seeing the earthworms come to the surface when I dig and then carefully return below. I like eating things the local grocery store does not sell... Italian flat beans, purple cauliflower, really red lettuce... I even like worrying about the weather! Has it been 3 days since it rained? Are the corns tasseling yet? Are there hornworms on the tomatoes? Is that pepper ripe yet?

People talk about whether the tomato of corn is ripe, but it applies to other smaller crops as well. Have you ever tasted a ripe carrot or beet? There is more to them than you will ever learn from a grocery store one. A non-commercial variety of carrot is sweeter than you might ever realize if you don't grow one yourself. And CELERY, OMG! What you get from the store is a fat watery nothing. Real celery is spicy and tasty. Especially the leaves.

Or grow a small planter box of endive lettuce and one of basil. Add a few of THOSE to a salad and you will get a pleasant surprise!

It takes some effort, but I enjoy the results. I read once that, if you like bacon, you have to get down in the mud and keep the pigs happy. Veggies are like that.

But if that is more work than you want to give, don't. Golf is fun too.

It just depends on what you enjoy.

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 6, 2018 7:36 AM CST
Hermes, Gardening is not for everyone especially if you are paying money to purchase plants, planting medium and hauling them home on public transport.

Perhaps a different hobby would be more suitable for you. For example, have you considered knitting or needlepoint? My dad was a knitter and mom was both a knitter and did excellent needlepoint. Nice, clean, relaxing hobbies are available. Give some other hobbies a try and you will soon find one that is a good match for you. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cheryl
North of Houston TX (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 6, 2018 10:17 AM CST
Many hobbies are just that. Often they are not designed to make you rich or save money.

When I was a kid Mom taught us all how to sew. Back then, sewing was a way to save money. 25 cents for a pattern and $1 worth of fabric ...and one could create a masterpiece over and over again. Since then the cost of sewing patterns have skyrocketed to $10-$15 or more. Fabric choices are amazing but equally more expensive. Sewing was not a hobby for me as it was a necessity. It's been easy for me to ignore that sewing machine in the corner now and opt for store- bought clothing.

Some hobbies are not worth keeping especially if you do not gain enjoyment from it or its cost prohibitive. Why do I buy $15 worth of an annual flower when I know it will die in 8 months, never to return? It's pure enjoyment! The cost of having that enjoyment to me is priceless! But not for everyone.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
[Last edited by ShadyGreenThumb - May 6, 2018 12:22 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
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greene
May 6, 2018 10:22 AM CST
My mom loved her petunias. Every year she and dad would buy pink petunias and plant them in neat rows in the front yard. That made her happy. If mom is happy, everyone is happy. Priceless.

On the other hand, my mom's mother did not spend any money to have a garden. She did things the old way by trading and sharing with others, by saving seeds/roots/rhizomes/bulbs, whatever. She fed a family of 7 on the small patch of land behind her house. Her joy was the small area of flowering and medicinal plants that kept her family healthy. No money and a lifetime of joy.

Do what you love and love what you do. If it's not fun, try something else.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Liz Shaw
Gilbert, AZ (Sunset Zone 13) (Zone 9a)
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LizDTM
May 6, 2018 10:57 AM CST
I garden for a couple reasons. First, it's relaxing. My stress level goes way down when I'm out in my garden. That is worth whatever money I spend on it, believe me. Second, it's a neverending challenge, and I do love a challenge.

I grow mostly veggies and herbs. If I manage to eat things out of my garden, it's exciting, but I don't believe that I'm really saving any money, based on the small scale of my garden. But today, as I munched my own carrot straight out of the ground, I felt very happy. Priceless!
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anaรฏs Nin
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
May 6, 2018 11:40 AM CST
I agree, Liz. I love it, and munching something you grew makes it all that much nicer. I was munching on strawberries from my greenhouse this morning.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
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greene
May 6, 2018 11:58 AM CST
I also like that no matter what I plant, there is usually a secondary use for many things. One example is carrots. I eat the carrot, the rabbits eat the carrot tops. Another example is broccoli. I eat the heads of the broccoli, the rabbits eat the leaves. Even if I did not have rabbits, the part of each plant that I do not consume will become part of the compost bin which will save me money on soil and fertilizer. Garden smart; not hard. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 6, 2018 12:09 PM CST
You know you love gardening when a piece of dirt flies into your eye and you don't care you just keep digging lol. Rolling on the floor laughing that happened to me yesterday and then I forgot about said dirt. Hours later my son said, what is that black thing on the edge of your eye. (It freaked him out lol), I said oh just a piece of dirt. And I was able to just wipe it off. Hey, I was in the zone. A couple blinks and I was all good to go.

In my big garden Iam trying to see how long I can keep annuals for. I have a ton of them in there. I'll be watering a lot when the really hot weather hits. We get into the hundreds. We have very mild winters here.

I only had to clean my car window of a little frost twice!!

I need to have ZenMans indoor setup. My husband has the garage filled with benches and power tools so that won't be happening lol.

But we'll see how long my annuals survive. They overwintered last year but you never know.๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

๐Ÿ˜€

Mindi
Name: Cheryl
North of Houston TX (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 6, 2018 12:25 PM CST
You know you love gardening when you don't stop to wash your hands before eating something. Rolling on the floor laughing
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
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fwmosher
May 6, 2018 12:37 PM CST
Greene: You took the words right out of my mouth! If Hermes doesn't like gardening, take up knitting! Note: Nothing wrong with knitting, I used to knit potholders, and at one time, DID MACROME!!! There I said it, I'm glad! However, the point should be: Hermes, don't go on such an august gardening forum such as this, and rant about your hate for gardening! Totally inappropriate! Try skydiving!
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
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greene
May 6, 2018 12:39 PM CST
ShadyGreenThumb said:You know you love gardening when you don't stop to wash your hands before eating something. Rolling on the floor laughing


Nope!!! Even I would not do that. I am an absolute slob about lots of things but when it comes to food...everything must be clean. One cannot have a good day in the garden if one is stuck on the toilet for hours on end. Takes only a little while to wash those hands.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 6, 2018 1:18 PM CST
Shadygreenthumb,

And like somebody said, you eat something straight from pulling it out of the dirt lol!!!

I think gardening is miraculous. Putting something beautiful where there was nothing before!!

And who cares if your garden specimens don't look like the ones you find in the store. I have never thought to do that, to compare my plants to a stores plants, or to make money from planting seeds. I can think of a few people on the site, ZM and some of his friends on his threads might, but they have been perfecting their art for YEARS!!!

You do it because you love it. Or don't do it at all. And complain about it.

I think needlepoint takes too long for Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing many people. I absolutely love needlepoint. But I can go years without doing it. It takes a long time and isn't good for someone who needs instant gratification. Some of my past works took years, literally. I just laughed when someone brought up that hobby. Rolling on the floor laughing

๐Ÿ˜€

Mindi
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 6, 2018 1:24 PM CST
I noticed that someone mentioned skydiving. I actually have done tandem skydiving. Now that is instant gratification lol. Just did it once, I totally recommend it, but now that Iam a lot older, over twenty years, I wouldn't do it again.

But that would be the best hobby alternative. Rolling on the floor laughing

๐Ÿ˜€

Mindi
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Rabbit Keeper Frugal Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level
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greene
May 6, 2018 2:00 PM CST
I climbed a mountain once. Hurray! It was Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Some people do mountain climbing as a hobby. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

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