Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

The Disadvantages of Growing Your Own Vegetables

Gardening is not all perfect roses and red ripe tomatoes; it has its distinct disadvantages, as well. While gardening magazines tout the health benefits of home-grown produce and the exercise advantages of fresh air, sunshine and double-digging garden beds, there are also sunburn, poison ivy and raspberry thorns to contend with. Most importantly, if you don't love gardening, the time and work it requires will not be worth the trouble.

Injuries

As Sandra Mason writes for the University of Illinois Extension, it is certain that gardeners' daffodils bloom in April, but their backs ache in May. Digging, lifting, weeding, hauling wheelbarrows and prying out rocks create blisters and sore muscles. If you have strength or health difficulties such as a bad back or tricky knees, growing your own vegetables can exacerbate the problem, leading to pain or serious injury. The University of Vermont Extension also warns of dangers of eye injury from spraying soil or snapping branches.

  • Gardening is not all perfect roses and red ripe tomatoes; it has its distinct disadvantages, as well.
  • While gardening magazines tout the health benefits of home-grown produce and the exercise advantages of fresh air, sunshine and double-digging garden beds, there are also sunburn, poison ivy and raspberry thorns to contend with.

Bugs, Snakes and Creatures

Plants and dirt are full of insects and snakes. The University of Vermont Extension advises that vegetable gardening can entail bites from mosquitoes, ticks and ants as well as stings from bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets--not to mention the prospect of bugs getting in your ears. Spiders also lurk in vegetation, and some spider bites, such as those of the brown recluse, can present a considerable danger to health. Most garden snakes are helpful, nonviolent creatures, but in some regions the cool shade of squash or eggplant leaves shelters poisonous serpents. The disadvantages of encounters with bugs and snakes in the vegetable garden can range from mere inconvenience and irritation to severe allergic reaction.

Gardens may also attract woodchucks, deer, mice and other creatures looking to eat produce or burrow in fresh mulch or compost. In urban areas, this can lead to neighbor's complaints or health code violations. It may also require taking extreme steps--hiring an exterminator, laying traps or setting out poison--to control unwanted animal visitors.

  • Plants and dirt are full of insects and snakes.
  • Most garden snakes are helpful, nonviolent creatures, but in some regions the cool shade of squash or eggplant leaves shelters poisonous serpents.

Time and Money

Selecting seeds or plants, building raised beds, digging in compost, weeding, pruning, watering and harvesting all take time. Shovels, seed trays, potting soil, fertilizer, hoses and sprinklers all cost money. New York Times writer Michael Tortorello attempted to keep meticulous track of his first garden's costs and benefits; from March to July of 2009 he expended nearly 50 hours and nearly $1,000 in out-of-pocket cash, and reported that he still had no idea what the garden was worth in terms of output. Time and money spent on growing your own vegetables will vary widely depending on experience, size of the garden and the gardener's desire for tools and "toys," but gardening will always involve a cost. If you love gardening, the time spent on it will seem a benefit, but if you don't like it--or if your time is committed elsewhere, such as work, traveling or attending to necessary family responsibilities--time spent gardening will be nothing but an unnecessary chore.

Related Articles

Pros & Cons of Planting a Garden
Pros & Cons of Planting a Garden
What Are the Benefits of Growing Your Own Vegetables?
What Are the Benefits of Growing Your Own Vegetables?
What Are the Causes of Curled Tomato Plant Leaves?
What Are the Causes of Curled Tomato Plant Leaves?
Disadvantages of a Roof Garden
Disadvantages of a Roof Garden
Growing Vegetables in Southwest Florida
Growing Vegetables in Southwest Florida
Garden Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs
Garden Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs
What Is the Purpose of Compost?
What Is the Purpose of Compost?
Pros & Cons of Growing Your Own Fruits & Vegetables
Pros & Cons of Growing Your Own Fruits & Vegetables
Hawaii Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas
Hawaii Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas
How to Use Dog Hair to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden
How to Use Dog Hair to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden
Mulch & Plants That Keep Dogs Out of the Garden
Mulch & Plants That Keep Dogs Out of the Garden
How to Use Human Urine as an Animal Repellent
How to Use Human Urine as an Animal Repellent
What Does It Mean When Your Cantaloupe's Leaves Are Yellow?
What Does It Mean When Your Cantaloupe's Leaves Are...
What Are the Disadvantages of Crop Rotation?
What Are the Disadvantages of Crop Rotation?
What Garden Vegetables Do Squirrels Like?
What Garden Vegetables Do Squirrels Like?
List of Landscaping Tools
List of Landscaping Tools
Garden Guides
×