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How much effort does a home garden demand?

Submitted by sudo in Vegan

So, I'd like to start growing my own fruits and vegetables, to save money on groceries. I've read that tomatoes and carrots are very easy to grow, so I thought I'd start there, but I want to make sure I'm using the same definition of "easy" as the gardeners who wrote the articles I was reading. I work 6 days per week, and I am away from home from 9 to 5 on those days, so I really don't have much free time to tend to a garden, especially given that I have other demands on my free time. So, to anyone who has tried a home garden, about how many hours per week/day does it demand, and are there special times of the day that you have to be home to tend to the garden?

I remember when I was a kid, my mother discarded some miniature pumpkins from Halloween into a plot of soil next to our house, and they grew back and made more mini pumpkins the next year, and the year after that, without any input from us. Will tomatoes and carrots grow that well without very much input from me? I'm not necessarily looking to maximize production; just have a few per week, or so.

Comments

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5

breadbaby wrote

Once you have a garden it's pretty easy to maintain, all you need to do is weed and harvest at your leisure. The hard work is setting everything up beforehand.

4

zod wrote

Making raised beds will save you a lot of effort. You won't have to dig up hard soil that way.

4

ziq wrote

I work 9-5 with a 2 hour commute and still have time to maintain 1 acre of fruit and veg. Setting up an irrigation system with timers will automate the whole thing.

3

tnstaec wrote

Doing your homework first can save a lot of effort. Research your local climate, soils, and what crops are commonly grown there. If you're in the US check your state's extension agency. They should have a lot of info, esp. on specific crops. If you only read one book on gardening, I recommend "Gaia's Garden" by Tony Hemenway.

Tomatoes can be challenging, even for experienced gardeners, so I wouldn't get your hopes up too high on them. I'd buy a few plants from the a nursery to transplant. They will need some compost or fertilizer. Carrots are a bit easier, but make sure the soil you plant them in is loose. With carrots its better to do direct seeding.

Also it's a bit late in the season to be starting a garden, so keep that under consideration. Plan for whatever you plant now to not be harvestable until mid-August to September. Check out which crops are recommended to be planted in your area at this time of year.

Man, we need more anarchist community gardens. I would love to help folks get hands-on experience.

2

ziq wrote

Let's pool our money and buy an island for anarchists to live on.

3

Naokotani wrote

I think it might be important to ask yourself why you are creating a garden. If you love gardening, then it should be easy. usually the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is go check on my garden. How are the tomato blossoms? What are those blasted slugs up to? What's the weed situation? Usually when I get home in the evening I go out to my garden then as well. If this is the case, after you have done the initial work of creating the beds, it is essentially no work at all since your time in the garden is leisure time. If it isn't something you enjoy, you just want to save money and you are more apt to engage in other leisure activities, then it becomes work. The weeds get out of control and you have to take time out of your day to weed them. the beds are dry and you have to rush to water them before you make dinner &c.

2

sudo wrote

It's probably not something I would do because I enjoy it; it's just to save money. But, I really do need to save money on groceries, so if this will save me money in the long term, I'm willing to do it. About how many minutes per day does tending to your garden take you?

2

Naokotani wrote

Is that a linux name?

probably 15 to 20 minutes. Some days maybe more, some days I just go out for a minute or two.

3

Naokotani wrote

Also, it may take some time to figure out what does well in your climate/microclimate in addition to what is prone to disease in your area. It is extremely likely that you may have some crops completely fail in the beginning, but try not to get discouraged. Take note of what did well and what you think caused the problem. focus on getting what grows easily first and once you are doing that well begin to troubleshoot issues with crops that fail.

2

ziq wrote (edited )

Great advice. I have 2 peach trees - one of them gets infested with bugs every year, and the fruit rots before it ripens, while the other one doesn't get a single worm because the variety naturally repels bugs with its bitter fuzz.

3

Lenny wrote

Are you in a hot climate where it doesn't rain in the summer?

Carrots are only easy if you have deep, rich soil that isn't rocky. Lettuce is probably the easiest vegetable to grow, as long as the climate is cool, and tomatoes are easy as long as you mulch with straw so disease can't splash onto the leaves.