We all know that there are plenty of sites out there that dish out absolutely terrible advice to people battling to pay off their debt. This one is no exception – I came across a few sites that say in order for you to pay your debt off, you should start a garden. How is that meant to help? Let’s analyze the practicalities behind this.
Planting A Garden Does Involve Costs
The idea behind this article is that you should grow you own food so that you spend less money buying food and thus have more money to pay off your debt. This idea then also basically implies that you are an amateur gardener that will be doing this for the first time in your life. This means that you have got to do research on how to grow your own food, when to plant seeds, and where to plant the seeds because it’s not as easy as it sounds. This research could be web-based or you may be inclined to get your own books. You will then need to get the equipment to go with gardening, especially if you are a beginner. So a spade, fork, and gloves are essential. Lastly you will have to purchase either top-soil, manure or fertilizer as well as your seeds to grow your own food. So all of this involves a very high initial cost, which could be heavy for people already battling to pay off debt.
The next assumption is that you actually have the space to begin growing your own food. Many people live in apartments and don’t have gardens and how much food can you really grow in a pot?
Being A Novice Gardener, Doesn’t Mean You Will Get It Right The First Time
As with any new task you take on, there will always be mistakes in the beginning as you learn to complete the task in the most efficient and optimal way. Gardening is no exception. You will have errors in judgment as to where to plant the seeds, how often to water it, what fertilizer to use, etc. With growing your own food they key is to maximize the amount of food you can grow in the shortest amount of time. So this requires experimenting with manure/fertilizers, pruning, watering as well as what foods to plant that are the easiest to grow and the fastest growers so that you can produce more food and thus not have to splurge on groceries. The extra you save will then go toward paying off debt.
Another learning curve will be in the area of garden pests. As a newbie, garden pests will challenge you quite often, especially with food gardens. These pests like our food as much as we do. This learning curve on its own could be a very costly exercise because say for example: you plant your butternut squash just before winter begins. You cannot wait to try it out and you faithfully watch it grow daily. Suddenly you notice a white cottony mold growing on a few of your fruits. Your butternut squash has been infected with white mold (fungus) and now you will have to pull it all out. That can be a very time consuming exercise and it is money wasted. Garden pests are either generalists or species specific, and include insects, fungi or animals. So you would have to do a great deal of learning to prevent all of them from attacking your little food garden.
Is Gardening Really Your Solution To Paying Off Your Debt?
Growing your own food requires a lot of time and effort. Between the researching, buying equipment, creating beds or buying pots, and then planting it – requires immense dedication. Once you have planted you then have to apply fertilizers, water daily, fend off pests, prune, and weed. This process can be very long and endless. There is also no guarantee that your little garden will yield anything because of all the factors that play a role in affecting it, such as weather and pests. So you will have to look at whether the time spent gardening is actually feasible and worth your while in the long run. If your aim is to pay off debt, then will you really have all the focus and determination needed to grow your own garden? Or, will that time and energy be better spent figuring out more practical ways to pay off debt?
To Sum It Up
Gardening is great if you have a natural interest for it and it’s something you have always wanted to do – then by all means dig in. It can be very rewarding and great fun. But as a solution to pay off debt, I would think twice about it. You would be ill advised to spend all that money to start growing your own food if you were already cash-strapped.