Why We Still Don’t Have a Vegetable Garden

posted by Andrea | 10/13/2012

Dave and I have been in our farmhouse for two summers now… and we still don’t have a vegetable garden.

These two summers without a garden have been the ONLY two summers I can ever remember not having a garden. My parents always had a big garden (and still do) and a vegetable garden was one of the first landscaping projects we tackled in our first house.

I guess we’ve just been so busy renovating the inside of our house that we haven’t had the time to really dive into any big outside projects.

And even though I do miss the pleasure of watching my vegetables grow… and then eating them only minutes after they are picked from the vine, I DON’T miss all the time and energy it takes to grow them.

I don’t miss watering them every day, weeding them several times a week, picking the garden every day, and then storing (or giving away) boat loads of produce.

Where we live, we have several road-side stands and Farmer’s Markets within walking distance of our house. We also have so many orchards and berry patches that I could probably go to a different one every week, all summer long.

This means I can buy what I want, when I want it (without much effort on my end) and I still get very fresh, locally grown produce.

So I’m starting to not miss my own garden as much!

I do think we’ll put a garden in eventually — especially once we’re finished with other renovations and have more time to devote to it. Also, I definitely want my kids to grow up with a garden. I feel like I learned a lot by helping to take care of my parent’s garden, and it was really fun to eat beans that we had just picked 1 hour before.

We already know where our “someday vegetable garden” will go – and I’m already dreaming up all sorts of ways to make it look pretty 🙂 However for now, I think we’ll just stick with road-side stands, farmer’s markets, and local orchards.

That’s about as simple as I can get! 

What about you….

Do you grow or buy your produce?

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  1. Ari


    I know this was a while ago, but if you want a low maintenance vegetable garden look up hugelkultur. It’s starting a garden with a base of logs and branches, then leaves/compost scraps and topping with a layer of soil and mulch. I set two up midway through last year and they’ve worked brilliantly this summer – we’ve had 20mm of rain since Dec 1, about an inch, one day hitting 111F and a few more above 100F and the garden has been mostly abandoned since Dec 31 when I broke my collarbone. We’ve still been eating fresh peas, beans and cherry tomatoes on and off. No strawberries since they’ve gone mad with runners, but there’ll be loads of new plants when I get back to gardening.

    I’ve only weeded 3 times since the garden was started and that was before the plants went in – there are some weeds now but it has been ridiculously low maintenance for what we’ve got out of it.

    Both beds are curved 2 brick high raised beds as part of a formal garden layout too, there’s no way to tell it’s full of logs and garden debris under the mulch, it looks like a standard bed once it’s set up. Just performs better with less work.


  2. Katie


    I was thinking about you and gardens just the other day! I’ve never had a garden before, but we’re planning a good size one for next year and have been composting since we got home at the end of the summer. I had been thinking that I wish I knew someone who was good at gardening so I could ask for advice – and then thought, “Hey! Andrea should have a garden in her farmhouse! And then blog about it!” Even if you don’t plant a garden again next summer, I hope you post some tips 🙂


  3. Daisy Mae


    I like what Tami just said! Berries are GREAT!!!
    Thanks for the blog about ‘not doing the garden this year’. I missed getting my ‘big garden’ this year and I just hate it, but I’m not gonna beat myself up over it. I had only just begun gardening the two years before (with complete soil amendments in two different locations… aka: a lot of work!)

    Now that it’s fall… I’m really missing all the outside activities (and the food storage!).

    Memories of several summer weekends spent at my Aunt’s house when I was a young girl always come rushing back to me when I think of gardening/canning… I so wish I would have paid more attention back then!!!

    Today, my biggest regret is that I didn’t have a garden when my children were small.
    My kids range in age from 15-20 and they could care less about leaning anything relating to gardening.

    So I would like to take this opportunity to ask all the young mothers out there who read your blog…. plant something/anything once a year… and have your kids participate in the experience. That way… when they are older they will have an appreciation for ‘growing things.” {Shook Twins have a great song with that very same title!)

    The way I see it… I’ll grow what I can to save money (and enjoy the exercise) and buy the rest from the local Farmers Market (30+miles away) when I’m able. Fresh is always better! Maybe with next years garden, me & hubby can have our own little “Market in BFE” stand!

    Thanks Again Andrea for sparking another 5+ pages on the gardening subject! 🙂 U pretty cool chick! DM.


  4. Tami


    We had a huge garden growing up, and my sister and I were in charge of weeding, which we hated, so I always swore I would never have to do that as an adult.

    We’ve found a great solution, though. I plant fruits and vegetables every year in our landscaping beds along the side of our house and along our back fence – we just plant seeds between the more traditional landscaping bushes. I have corn growing under my kitchen window, one fence lined with raspberry and blueberry bushes and small sections of strawberries, lettuce/spinach, tomatoes, green beans, and one really big pumpkin plant. The landscaping beds are covered in a layer of bark, so there are almost no weeds, and in the summer it just all looks so green and pretty. Fresh veggies, minimal maintenance!


  5. Kristen


    My husband and I have had a garden these last two summers (or is it three?) since we’ve been married. It’s been wonderful, and I love my fresh salsa, but we are discussing NOT having a garden next year. Like you said, the watering and weeding and time it takes, makes me wonder if it is really worth our time and energy. I’m torn, too.


  6. Janet


    Just a thought, with a garden it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, you could have one tomato plant ( even just in a container if you wanted) and add a little year by year, also, I find freezing less time consuming than canning.

    Main reason for contacting you is to ask what you do with clothes you get espesially for the weddings and special events. I ask in view of your closet and clothes post I’ve read.
    Do you keep them? Store them somewhere else? Are they actually in your closet, used for Sunday etc.? Do you repurpose like your wedding dress? Sell them?
    I have been the “mother of the groom” several times already, and not all children are yet married, I find myself envying men where the same suit would do I could just buy a different tie!
    Thanks for your time


    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Janet,
    I actually don’t have that many dresses from past weddings (it was just this summer that we had a crazy amount of weddings!) I have 2 bridesmaid dresses that are both styles that I would wear again, and a couple other nicer dresses that would work for weddings, fancy parties or even for church if I “dressed them down” with a sweater or something. All the dresses are in my closet with the rest of our clothing but they are in the back and don’t take up much room.

    For your situation, I honestly wouldn’t feel bad wearing the same dress more than once — seriously! However, if you don’t want to wear them multiple times, and you don’t think you’ll ever need to wear them again, I’d try to sell them at a consignment store or on Craigslist/Ebay.


  7. Liz


    I have a small raised garden of tomatoes and cucumbers. I also have raspberries and strawberries and wild blueberries and wild blackberries.

    This year we also bout a 1/2 share at a local CSA. 20 weeks of all sorts of vegetables. My freezer is chock-full.

    Next year, I’m hoping to do the same thing…and I’m going to learn how to can so I have more room in my freezer for a 1/4 cow or something.

    You can’t beat fresh.


  8. Victoria@Snailpacetransformations


    I try to garden every year whether in pots or a shared garden at a friends house but each year it has failed. I have a very brown thumb, that I do not seem to be willing to given in to, as every year I give it another shot! I even own several how to garden books and feel the urge to subscribe to “urban farmer” . However, no advice seems to help me so I get my fresh veggies from friends and the few rare garden stands I find in our area.


  9. Carrie


    We had a 8×12 raised bed garden at our house in WI for a couple of years. This summer however we moved to Seattle into a 4th floor apartment, so no garden. But the beauty of the northwest, and Seattle, is that every neighborhood has their own farmers markets year round! There is also a farmers market on an old boat on the lake that we live 2 blocks away from. And although I didn’t frequent them much this summer, I plan to try over the winter and into next summer when the floating market has more of a selection.


  10. Maria


    I didn’t grow up with a garden, but I want my son to. We had our first garden this year. It was small but my little guy (almost 2) loved eating fresh picked carrots & radishs. We will go bigger next year, however we also live in a farming community so there is no reason to go overboard.


  11. Roberta Lott


    I have seen them using bales of straw to plant in now and it’s much neater than a traditional garden. You just line the bales up in rows, water them for a couple of weeks and then plant your things right in the bales. Less weeds, less water and they look really cool. Might try something like that, you could even start with just one bale to try it out. I am sure Nora would love helping in the garden as much as you say she likes the outdoors. I grew up with an acre of garden to tend for many years and have always had one myself, even here in the city. My neighbors think I am nuts, but they sure do love the things I pass on to them. My whole back yard is pretty much garden, but then it’s not very big to begin with. I appreciate not wanting to spend the time when you have so many options, but you could at least do a tomato or two for the sake of Nora. Have fun.


  12. Living So Abundantly


    My dad, brother, and I planted a vegetable garden when I was a kid, and that was fun. I also have had one as an adult. I actually enjoy the farmer’s market the best, though, because I get such a variety at such a great price. I feel like a kid in a candy store going around and picking out what I want. When I weigh the time/effort, for me it’s worth going to the farmer’s market. I’m not opposed to a garden, but that’s just my preference.


  13. Jen


    My grandparents always had a garden and I loved helping them with it in the summer when I stayed with them for three months at a time. My family doesn’t have one now, but in a few years we’re going to build our dream house on a big chunk of land that we’ll share with my brother-in-law, and he gardens and cans and makes homemade salsa and all that. So I’ve pledged to help him with a big, shared garden if he’ll teach me how to tend it and can the veggies and all that. I’m really, really looking forward to it. I love fresh produce.