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6 Reasons You Should Stop Growing Your Own Food

Empty garden

This is the year we should all throw in the trowel and quit gardening. Yup, it’s time. The whole grow-your-own-food movement of the past 12,000 years or so was cute, but it’s gotten out of control.

I’m sure you think I’m crazy and your blood is beginning to boil, but here are six good reasons why you should stop growing your own fruits and veggies.

No, I’m serious. Put the trowel down. You’ll thank me later.

1. Growing Food Is Inconvenient

We’re all pretty busy these days, so anything that makes life easier is worth a look, right? Let’s face it: it’s much more convenient to go to the grocery store than to grow your own vegetables.

At the end of a long day at work, you can’t beat driving halfway across town, being buffeted about among the pre-dinner shopping crowd at the supermarket so you can grab one of those handy bagged salads with the week-old lettuce and stale croutons.

Bagged salad kits
They’re super convenient!

Sure, you have to pick out all the slimy pieces of spring mix, but compared to all the work of a garden, it’s a small price to pay. And really, you only have to pick out the gross bits of lettuce when you have company over.

To achieve the same results with a garden, you would have to drive directly home and carry a bowl out to the garden. You might even need to put on those cute garden clogs you bought if you want to avoid the pleasure of walking barefoot in the garden.

Garden, garden clogs on path, gardening hat on outdoor box

Remember, this is about convenience, not enjoying yourself, there, buddy.

Then there are all the decisions facing you – highly inconvenient! Do you want cherry tomatoes tonight, or should you slice up one of those juicy heirloom tomatoes? Should you do a head of buttercrunch lettuce or cut some leaf lettuce? How do you decide? Do you pull up a couple of radishes or opt for a cucumber? By the time you’ve finished, you’re mentally exhausted and haven’t even walked back inside yet.

Salad is hard.

No, I’ll stick with my slimy salad-in-a-bag, thank you.  

And let’s not even talk about what you’re supposed to do in the winter without a garden. Where’s your convenience then, hmm? It’s not like you can preserve everything you grow and make the short walk to your pantry or freezer.

Oh. Oh, yes, wait, I forgot about that. But it’s highly inconvenient.

Jars of apricot red currant jam

Take jam, for example.

Why would you bother spending an afternoon making enough homemade jam for a year when you can drive to the grocery store every time you run out and buy flavorless jam with ingredients you can’t pronounce? Now that’s convenient!

2. Avoid Decision Paralysis – Quit Gardening Today

Do you freeze up when a restaurant menu is more than two pages long? Does ordering an espresso-based drink at a café give you hives? Did it take you seven months to pick which color you painted your bathroom?

I’m with you, friend. It took me four months to pick out a couch.

Basket of red swan beans
Red Swan Beans? Whatever happened to ‘green beans?’

Look, I know these seed companies think they’re doing home gardeners a favor by offering 159 different varieties of tomatoes and 42 kinds of beans, but no one needs the freedom of that kind of choice in their life.

I’ve had the same browser tab open for two weeks now, trying to whittle down my choice of tomato seeds to a single-digit number. The gardening season will be over before I decide.

Those of us who struggle with decision paralysis are better off at the grocery store. Broccoli? Do you want it fresh or frozen? Peppers? Well, you can have green, red or orange. Kohlrabi? What the heck is that?

3. Veggies Taste Better With Pesticides

They do, admit it. You know you’re with me on this one. I don’t know why we home gardeners even bother.

Going back to the salad example, whenever I toss together a salad using veggies from my garden, the end result lacks a certain caustic tang that can only be found with commercially grown produce.

Colorful salad
Oh sure, it looks good, but it’s missing something…

Home-grown produce lacks that little extra something — the liberal application of glyphosate.

Really, all vegetables show a noticeable improvement in flavor when sprayed with chemical pesticides, don’t you think? Mmm, tastes like dead pollinators and male infertility!

4. We Should All Be Slightly Terrified of Our Food – It’s Safer That Way

And since we’re talking about glyphosate, let’s be honest: how are you going to remember to wash your produce before you eat it if you aren’t slightly terrified by the idea of ingesting pesticides with every meal?

Pesticide-free produce is a slippery slope, my friend.

It all starts with pitching that bottle of fancy produce wash. Then, you find yourself not bothering to rinse your organically-grown tomato before you slice it for lunch. Next, you start eating beans straight off the plant, and before you know it, you’re one of those weirdos that yanks a carrot out of the ground, wipes the dirt off on their jeans and eats it without a veggie scrubber in sight!

Basket of produce and woman's feet
Wait a minute, is there a carrot missing?

I’m sorry, I feel faint. I need to sit down.

Seriously, this whole gardening business is just selfish. If we all started growing our own produce at home, how would the companies that make all those fancy produce washes stay afloat? Won’t someone think of their bottom line? Stop gardening today and save a corporate entity!

5. Nature is Dangerous, and We Should All Spend More Time Inside – Seriously, Quit Gardening!

Remember when your parents would kick you out of the house for the day because they insisted the outdoors was “good for you?”

Yeah, well, they were wrong. There is no way all this fresh air and fresh food is good for anybody.

Lush, green garden
Don’t let that lush green fool you, it’s dangerous in there.

Nature is dangerous, and you don’t know the risk you’re taking by being out in your garden. There are murder hornets and man-eating great white sharks out here, people. You’re better off indoors.

Above you and below you, danger is everywhere in the garden. First, there’s the powerful sunlight with its ability to lower blood pressure levels and raise vitamin D levels in gardeners. Then there’s the dirt, which is, well, dirty. It’s filled with all kinds of microbes and bacteria known to improve gardeners’ immune systems. Do you see what I mean? Why put yourself at risk? Stop gardening.

You know those weird creatures that have spent centuries living in caves? The ones with the translucent skin, who can no longer see? Yeah, that’s what we’re aiming for here, folks. Trust me, it’s safer this way.

6. We’re Stressed and We Like It, Thank You Very Much

If you enjoy sleepless nights filled with racing thoughts, cortisol flooding your veins and a healthy dose of existential dread, then you should definitely put that tomato seedling down right now. You don’t even want to know what putting those things in the soil will do.

Lowered cortisol levels, reduced anxiety and improved mental health – yeah, gardening is guilty of all that and more. Not to mention ‘squeeing’ over your first zucchini of the season or the boundless joy of coming into the house with a basket full of produce you grew yourself.

Woman's hand holding up a coffee mug in front of a garden
My two favorite anti-depressants: coffee and gardening.

No, if you enjoy the constant pressure of modern living, then by all means, stay out of your garden.

Look, I tried to warn you. Clearly, growing your own food is a bad idea, and life would be much easier if we all just went to the supermarket. Don’t come crying to me when you’re all living longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives because you chose to keep on gardening.

And if you want more of my sage advice, you’ll want to read my article below:

8 Reasons Starting Your Own Seedlings is a Complete Waste of Time & Money

And if you enjoyed this tongue in cheek look at the merits of growing your own food and you’d like to read more of my garden ramblings, then join the Rural Sprout newsletter below.

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,