Fourteen Excuses Successful Edible Gardeners Don't Make

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

June 3, 2014

One of my favorite sayings is, "You can have results, or you can have excuses, but not both." While we all make excuses from time to time when it comes to our gardens, those who are successful at edible gardening aren't likely to make these ones ...

1) I don’t have time

We all have the same 24 hours in a day -- what makes the difference is what we do with those hours. You can weed a square foot of dirt in a few minutes, and if you wear gloves, you won't even get dirty!

If you mix the activities you normally do with gardening -- gardening with the kids, using your garden for exercise and relaxation -- or move activities that you would otherwise do to the evening hours or to days when the weather is bad, you'll find that you have enough time to do whatever you want to do in your garden.

2) I don't know where to start

Well, there's a lot of information out there on the internet, much of it on my website:

Where to begin

How to make your own garden landscape design plans

As well as my Tasteful Yard Design course, which goes right to the heart of that very question.

3) People might not like it

Let me give you a little secret: there will always be someone who doesn't like what you do.

I get emails from time to time telling me what I'm doing wrong, or that they don't like it, or that it's boring and useless and they're going to unsubscribe. Yeah, they use those words.

But even if you stay at home, hide under the covers, and never do a thing, there will be someone who doesn't like that either. You can either let other people's opinions dictate what you do, or you can do what makes you happy. Your choice.

That said, here's something that might help: 5 steps to great curb appeal

4) I don't have enough knowledge

That's what this site is for! If you're waiting until you know everything about edible gardening to begin, you'll be waiting quite a while. Plant one thing -- anything! -- learn from that, and move forward.

5) I don't have enough good ideas

I think my site has a lot of good ideas. If you don't like those, go to the search engine of your choice, type in "landscaping ideas" and pick some you like.

You don't need enough good ideas, you need a vision of what you want your yard to become.

(which is exactly what we go over in the first few modules of my Tasteful Yard Design course ...)

6) I'm not artistic enough

Everyone is born artistic -- the idea that you have to be Rembrandt or Picasso in order to landscape your own yard is something that a lot of people struggle with, mostly from harsh critics in childhood. But they were wrong!

You ARE artistic enough. You really are. You just need to believe that you are.

7) My climate is bad

I can relate to that! There are so many jokes about Oklahoma weather ... my favorite is: I like all four seasons, but not in the same week! ;)

This article might help.

To succeed in gardening, you have to be able to adapt to what reality is throwing at you. But one advantage is that you end up with remarkable mental flexibility, as you figure out how to make your garden work. :)

8) My soil is bad

Salty, sandy, swampy, heavy clay, contaminated soil, and soils so poor even the weeds won't grow can be a real challenge.

There are several things you can do to fix that, depending on the problem: use raised or sunken beds, amend the soil, plant things that like that kind of soil, and so on.

Your local agricultural college can help if you need soil testing or information on what to do to mitigate problems that the testing finds.

9) It's not the right time

If it's not the right time of year to plant, it's probably the right time of year to plan. There's always something you can do to move forward.

If you mean that there's something going on in your life that makes you feel you just can't do it, close your computer, take a chair and go sit out in your garden for a while.

Sometimes just being outside can really lift your spirits ... and observing what is happening in your yard can give you new inspiration for things to try.

10) I'm too tired

Many people say this, and it's understandable if you're working two or three jobs and don't come home until it's late. But the opposite of fatigue isn't rest, it's wholeheartedness. See #9.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the thought you'll have to start all over with your garden, this might help: Should you start all over?

11) What if I fail?

Suppose you completely and totally fail: all your plants die, your hardscape crumbles, and your garden decorations all fall over and break.

Did the world end? No. You just have a yard with a lot of material to compost. :)

I fail a whole lot. It's good for you. It makes you learn things and makes you appreciate it when you succeed.

I wrote an article about a huge failure I had a couple years ago which might help put things into perspective: How do you react to adversity?

I feel embarrassed about that article to this day, but people have been so kind and encouraging that I have left it up there for you. Perhaps you'll get something from it.

12) What if I succeed?

You know, this is one that gets to me! What if I have such a great yard that ... I don't know, a TV station wants to interview me, and then I totally embarrass myself in front of the world?

And then I think: really?? That is seriously what you're worrying about?

For one thing, being interviewed would be a GOOD thing. Right? And why in the world would it have to turn out badly?

These are just some of the ways we -- women especially, I think -- talk ourselves into a frenzy out of vanity, or fear, or poor self-esteem, or whatever it is that we have to get hold of and conquer in order to succeed at what we do.

It's okay to be successful. It really is. :)

13) I don't have enough money

I have the answer to that right here. ;)

It does not cost anything to take a paper cup you already have, poke a hole in the bottom, fill it with dirt you already have, stick a seed in it from something you just ate, and water it.

If it grows, and you have the right climate for it, plant it somewhere. Hurray!

Personally, I think people use these excuses to get to the real issue, which is:

14) I don't want to

It's okay if you don't want to. There's nothing that says you have to put in edible landscaping, or even grow anything.

But if you don't want to for days, weeks, months, and years, you have to ask yourself why you're torturing yourself this way. Why are you here? What is it that you REALLY want to do?

Once you figure that out, go do it!

I hope these have been helpful to you ... sometimes articles like this can clarify how you feel about things and get you going on the right track.

What do you think?

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Comments for Fourteen Excuses Successful Edible Gardeners Don't Make

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Jun 03, 2014
Gardener's excuses
by: Charles Tutt

I love this quote: "You can have results, or you can have excuses, but not both."

Very nice article.

Thank you!

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