Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Hidden Cost/ Investment of Gardening

Gardening is a passion of mine. I love to be outdoors, soaking up a bit of sun, producing food in my backyard, getting my kids to work together, and sharing what grows with others, but it all comes with a cost. 
The other day I started to think about trade offs, costs, investments, and expenses. Then I went outside and began cleaning out the garden preparing it for tillage and planting. My 3 year old and 5 year old were helping me while the other kids worked on other things in the yard. They all took time to goof around and play too. We were having a wonderful afternoon. So I then thought about the things I gained and lost as a result of having a decent sized garden. 

Here are some things I thought of:
Gains/ Investments:
* time outdoors
* interaction with my kids 
* fresh produce
* understanding of growing process
* less trips to store for veggies
* kids eat snacks out of garden in summer
* looks pretty

Costs/ Losses:
* plants/ seeds
* fertilizer
* planting stakes/ rope/ tomato supports
* less time to get indoor tasks done
* time ( planting, weeding, collecting, canning)
* processing supplies for canning

All in all it is about the bigger picture... Do we focus on the costs or the investments? Yes, sometimes, I feel as if my beans/ melons/ herbs are the most expensive in the county, disappointment when I only get 2 pumpkins, sad that I didn't make the time to do something with the hundreds of tomatoes that rotted/ froze on the plant, and frustrated that my broccoli went to seed before it even grew a head. But, the ability to eat right out of it, trying to grow different things,  looking for recipes that I may be able to use to convince my family to try something new, the ability to share the goods from the garden with friends, family and our local school, and see my kids "play" in it far outweighs the costs. 
So, think about what you may gain from planting a full garden or even growing a pot of beans or tomatoes on the back steps. 
You'd be amazed what a bit of gardening can do for the soul!