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The Disadvantages of a Home Vegetable Garden

Cygnet Brown is a high school and middle school substitute teacher. She is the author of fourteen books and a long-time gardener.


Acknowledging the disadvantages of growing a garden can help you determine if the project is worth your efforts. Understanding potential drawbacks can help you discover possible solutions before those drawbacks get out of hand.


The first disadvantage that comes to mind regarding home gardens is weeds. You pull them out and they just seem to come right back.

When it comes to weeds, everyone starts out with the best intentions. Everyone plans to get out every morning to take out those tiny little plants that aren’t growing where you want them to grow. You might even start out and stay ahead of them for a while, but then several days of rain or several bitter cold days or days of blazing heat and those weeds can get away from you.

If you’re not careful weeds can get away from you. Fortunately, in addition to pulling them, several ways exist to combat this problem.

To prevent weeds from being a problem, the first thing is to consider starting small and building up until you’re satisfied with the size of the garden. This way you garden only what you know you are able to handle.

Another solution is is to use any number of types of mulch. In addition, you can plant your vegetable plants closer together so that they shade and choke out the weeds.

Another solution, although costly but a good option if you’re growing a lot of slow-growing root crops like carrots is to use a flame weeder to kill weeds just before the crop you’ve planted germinates. By the time the weeds start to recover, the carrots are already well established.

Dirty Fingernails, Blisters and Other Hand Injuries

Digging in the garden will give you dirty fingernails and this can require a lot of scrubbing. The best way to avoid this is to wear gloves. If gloves are not your thing, running your fingernails over a bar of soap before pulling weeds or using garden tools should make cleanup a breeze.

Gloves will also help protect your hands from blisters and other similar hand injuries.

Back and Knee Strain

Another problem common to gardeners is back injuries. Bending, stooping, digging and carrying can put a strain on your back and joints like your knees. If you already have problems with pain or limited mobility, taking care of your garden can make these symptoms worse.

Keep your garden small if you have physical limitations and take breaks while gardening to avoid injury to your muscles or joints. You can also set up raised garden beds or gardening containers that make it easier to tend your garden where you don’t have to bend so much.

To prevent this type of injury, always use proper body mechanics.

Insect Bites and Stings

Insect bites and stings can make gardening downright uncomfortable.

However, there are ways to minimize these problems as well. Avoid using perfumed soaps, shampoos and deodorants. Be sure to cover exposed skin, especially if you are working in the garden when bugs are most active and apply DEET to clothing. Wear shoes when gardening. If you see bees or wasps nearby, remain calm around them. Never disturb their nests. Remove any standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Keep any drinking containers covered (especially sweetened drinks) to prevent insects from getting inside.

Having to Wait for Results

In our world of instant breakfasts, microwave ovens, and cell phones, waiting for a harvest is difficult. Let’s face it. If you plant a seed today, it will be several weeks, if not months before you get a crop. Delayed gratification is a good practice to cultivate along with your garden, so plant your seeds and learn to enjoy the wait.

High Costs

Cost of getting started can be high, especially if you’re buying power equipment.

So called experts say that having a vegetable garden can save you money, but gardening can get expensive if you don’t watch your costs. When you initially create your garden beds, potential costs include a tiller, shovel, rake, hoe and edging material. After the initial investment, the yearly costs are lower, but expenses still include seeds, plants, compost, topsoil, fertilizer, mulch and support systems like trellises or tomato cages. You also see an increase in your water bill for irrigation of the garden. Limiting your garden size can help keep costs down.

Using free or recycled materials as well as seed saving and mulching can make a big dent in those costs.

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Vegetable Gardening Takes Space

Even with efficient use of space, a garden takes away a portion of your lawn or patio. If your property is small, you’ll have less space for entertaining or play areas.

Using trellises to train vine vegetables like peas or squash to grow vertically and mixing vegetable plants in with existing flower beds can help.

Need to Care for the Garden Even When You're on Vacation

The typical gardening season lasts several months and often during vacation time. If you're gone for more than a few days, you'll either need to ask someone to watch your garden or risk unhealthy or dying plants when you return. Having a neighbor or friend harvest vegetables and perform garden maintenance tasks while you're gone can be repaid with fresh vegetables. You can also offer to do gardening for another gardening friend if you know that that friend will also be going on vacation during gardening season.

Wasted Garden Produce

In some cases, extra produce becomes too much and garden produce is wasted because you planted too much or mother nature decided that this year was the year of bounty for that specific crop. Though this is not a terrible problem to have, it may seem like a waste.

However, if you have livestock, animals like pigs and chickens consider these excess vegetables as treats. In addition, adding these to a compost pile allows the nutrients in the produce to be reused by soil microbes when the compost is applied. Therefore, the garden produce never goes to waste.

Dirty Produce Can Be Hard to Clean

When gardens are planted using traditional methods where bare ground is the rule, produce picked is often dirty especially produce like lettuce. To prevent this, mulching helps keep your garden produce clean.

Insects and Disease

Plant diseases, insects, and other animals can wipe out entire crops. The best way to deal with plant diseases is to understand why the plant diseases existed and do what you can to rectify the problem.

To keep insects out of the garden, learn what is the reason that they are there in the first place. Often insects are a sign of nutritional imbalances in the soil.

To keep other animals out of the garden, use barriers like fences. Repellents are also useful to keep deer and other mammals at bay.

There you have it! If you can think of another disadvantage for growing your own vegetable garden, let me know by replying to me down in the comments section.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Cygnet Brown


Cygnet Brown (author) from Springfield, Missouri on July 02, 2020:

Hi, Imogen French! Thanks for the comment! I love gardening too! It is one of my two big passions. Writing is my second! However, writing has taken a backseat (and has been gagged) for the time being!

Imogen French from Southwest England on June 30, 2020:

I think I have experienced every one of these 'disadvantages', but I still love my veggie plot! Some of your tips here will definitely come in handy though - thanks for those :-)

Cygnet Brown (author) from Springfield, Missouri on November 05, 2019:

Yes, manatita44, a garden is like a child, it does require attention.

manatita44 from london on November 05, 2019:

Well, they do look untidy, with me anyway and I don't like them. I do pull weeds and yes, my fingers do go funny indeed. I try to chop down things whenever I can as the garden is not even mines and the guy is hardly there.

Since I'm unable to look after it, it gets messy and grows wild. So sorry. Peace.

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