Please clear my perspective on major problematic issues growing food

Sometime last week a comment was made by @rainbow that comparing our situation to other people here at TGN, I don't have much of an issue and grow more food than 90% of the people here. (That was after posting a number of difficulties we were facing followed by a number of photos of our garden produce).

I find this difficult to accept, but am open for my perspective to change.

If I don't have much of an issue and we're coming out 90% ahead, then it must mean that there are many here who have way more problematic issues growing food.

Since I feel like part of this family now, I'm opening myself and feel free to ask this question.

What are the major issues you face in growing food? If you could describe them starting with your biggest one, I'd really appreciate your feedback.

Also, please give some context so that I can understand perhaps why you are having those issues, like size of land you managing or things you can't control...etc.

Thanks in advance!


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    I have trouble with my knees (torn meniscus in both) & carpal tunnel. I can't till/break up/hoe the aggressive quackgrass & thistles because my hands will go numb, and to be on my knees makes my legs fall asleep & puts too much pressure on my knees. I also have a very tired & busy husband who never gets to tilling for me. He inists that he will do it for me, but for years now, that has never happened. He has never helped with weeding nor harvest other than with the potatoes when I did garden in past years. Processing is hard on my hands. These are my primary issues.

    At least I can grow chickens and berries...and I can forage a bit.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    It's a toss up between my health and the Texas summers. That being said, I am planning on focusing more on hetbs, especially those I use medicinally. I think that and maybe some greens and sprouts are all I can manage right now.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @Foodgardenguy I think this is an ongoing turnaround answer. Thus it pretty much changes every year.

    I started gardening 4 years ago. I knew nothing!

    I just figured dig a hole, put a plant in it I bought at the store and let it grow. Boy was that wrong... that plant had died within a few weeks.

    So now, I've spent four years teaching and training myself how to grow organically. To the uninitiated, that translates to how to make and keep great soil, how to make friends with all the bugs so they don't chew up all your plants, how to recognize a plant disease before it annihilates your entire harvest, how do I decide when my harvest is ready to pick if I can get it to go that far...

    Well, you get the idea what I am saying here.

    So yes, I am learning. I've spent tons of time though researching and reading, experimenting to find out how I can control the rain, Mother Nature, the weather (temperatures especially) and just simple little problems like that.

    So for any gardener I think we all have these same issues. Even though you sound like you are an experienced gardener, or maybe you have someone nearby you can go to for quick questions and answers... you still have the same problems. It's just a question of how to control that problem and come to a suitable answer which will turn your problem into a success.

    So for me I just take each growing season now as another year's learning experiences. It doesn't matter how much we think we know, the answer each year might have to be tweaked some to get this year to work out to our advantage.

  • DeeperEating
    DeeperEating Posts: 63 ✭✭✭

    My biggest issues are definitely land access and time. I have a very small garden on my small bit of land (I'm in a major city). And my yard is quite shady mostly because of other nearby houses and trees. I also have a spot at a community garden that I will be expanding this fall for next year but will only add about 85 square feet of garden space. And then beyond that with work and volunteering and spending time with my family that does not live super close I struggle to find the time it would take to get everything set up perfectly for maximum production. I do ok for a hobby, but what I'm growing is mostly as a supplement to our food supply at this time. I'm doing better on the herb front, but still probably only grow about 25% of what we use.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    My largest struggles are time, weather, and space. Working a full time job with a 90 min commute to ensure we are there on time does not leave much sunlight left to work with for parts of the year. I live where we have blazing HOT summers, 29 days over 110* this year, which kills almost everything. I do most of my gardening in the morning before work, which isn’t a lot of time, or on weekends if we don’t have anything planned. I mostly supplement our food with what I can grow. It is mainly a hobby but so would love to turn it into more. Living in a moderately sized city lot of about 8,000 square foot I do the best I can to utilize my space.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    Hi - boy, not like putting me, little moi, on the Hot-plate.

    Re your "What are the major issues you face in growing food? Starting with your biggest one.

    Also, please give some context: why you are having those issues, like size of land you managing or things you can't control...etc."

    • I have but 24 hours in a day: my longest-lasting peeve to God: "Hallo! what's up with this 24 hr/day Limit ? I need more like 42 🤩 hours daily, so you Dear Lord got that backwards, lol - okay, on with ALL the things you created that are JUST PERFECT..."
    • OR, as is the most logical answer: You @Foodgardenguy spend MORE time gardening; - as opposed to this critter here, who since May 2019 spends too much time FREEly sharing... her depth of experiences plus other assets, with anyone wanting to thereby benefit.
    • I have a Significant family member (paralyzed. Not repeating details again); iow am Single-handedly Responsible... for doing EVERY THING, incldg. working... part-time ('til composted myself) to pay mortgage, bazillion Taxes, bazillion Insurances, Water-bill, Electric bill, vehicle maintenance, gas, clothes, & dare I say it, even some FOOD ? etc. Etc. ETC..!!!
    • In order to maintain some semblance of Sanity (re the above, plus two medical Malpractices am tolerating, & 1 healing), in 2013 I started continuing Rainbows, (& in case anybody thinks that Herbs would be a better use of this Rainbow space & time, well to some degree Yes, hence However, during my 40yrs working in medicine, I also served as a Mental-health counselor 7 yrs.; & thus I know... any Healthy hobby like Ornamental flowers can be another life-Saver...
    • re land-size ? - We enjoyed 5 beautiful acres, in the 'good, ole days'. - The 2nd. disaster ended that paradise. Now have 1/4 acre, that (to me wincing 'argh, look at this mess' :( - is giving it its best to say "Never mind that. LOOK to this day! & your decades success w/ children, & big kids, & Veggies & flowers, etc Inspirational people, including us each :) Keep planning your food-Foresting , & continue 'Carpe diem' (seize the day).
    • When not enough food grew, to support us thru winters: just last month God showed me a foodBank with ORGANIC produce galore. God is GOOD.
  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I moved to this little 2-lot town place in May of 2016. It had been neglected for a very long time. I do what I can afford to do every year to make improvements, but it takes time, and more money than I can find. So, I use what I have, or can drag home for little or no cash. I am lucky that my landlords want to help out with gifts of trees and shrubs to plant, strawberry starts, and moving a large load of free wood chips for me to use as mulch. Of course, they realize that my labor provides significant value to their property, too.

    I've created garden spaces, built flower beds planted lilacs and peonies for beauty and for scent, pruned the 10 old rose bushes so that they produced a large crop of beautiful roses, and am throwing everything I can on the compost pile for improving the soil. The past 2 summers, I've grown enough tomatoes for my self and a few to share, I've dehydrated some zucchini and apple chips. I've added cooking herbs, and fruit trees to the property. It just takes time to repair poor soil. But each year I see an improvement. I wish I could pay someone to come in and build all the raised beds with irrigation that I see in my head, but I can't, so I am delighted to grow what I can. Next year there will be more!

  • Foodgardenguy
    Foodgardenguy Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Yes....I see now, that I was only considering the perspective of challenges associated with gardening itself like soils, bugs, diseases, animals, hydration and weeds and not other possible challenges that make it difficult to grow your own foods.

    Thank you @Laurie, @seeker.nancy, @bejer19, @gardneto76 , @rainbow for making me aware of the personal and situational challenges you are facing.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Foodgardenguy -

    Yes, because "the GROW network" is primarily... about GROWING evermore... of our own foods (+herbs), as after all it is another of WISE activities to continually do,

    it is EASY to forget, that

    all this GROWing, must needs occur in a much Broader context... the context of (whatever MULTIPLE challenges) you have been now exposed to, via Group-members who (to 1 extent or another) have Let you INto their broader lives.

    And so you can see that it's NOT simply a matter of : "Have some soil, & plant some seeds, & reap some Harvest, & store some for winter" .

    But in fact, there's like a bazillion... other complications all coming into play here, & thus, let us each Help one another REMEMBER... so long as we DO the best... we can with whatever Resources we have, it is "good Enough."

    For instance, some may think: "Good grief, with everything you @rainbow need to take care of, messing around in your continuing Rainbows is a waste of precious time. How about tearing OUT all those Flowers, & REPLACE them with yet more HERBS" - But what that fails... to consider is THIS: my FLOWERS are helping to keep me at least somewhat... 'sane', and every little bit of Sanity helps... got it ?


  • gennywu
    gennywu Posts: 96 ✭✭✭

    Yes, my garden does keep me sane. I read with envy the blogs of those who have a big garden. Mine is tiny, but I am learning to make the most of it and to add more growing space by using containers. My other constraint is time. For much of the year I leave for work while it is still dark and I return when it is getting dark. This means that I can only work in my garden on sunny weekends. But I have a huge, beautiful, self-sufficient garden and a lovely orchard in my daydreams :)

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @Foodgardenguy yes, there are many challenges; however gardening is like therapy to me. Had a hard day? Play in the garden. Frustrated over something? Play in the garden. Waiting on someone? Play in the garden. I call it my dirt therapy, even though only half of my gardening is done in dirt. My back yard is a HUGE mess, but it’s my mess and tinkering with it and picking it up helps me focus. Have a great day and celebrate those successes and learn from everything else.

  • Foodgardenguy
    Foodgardenguy Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Yes @rainbow, and I really appreciate you and everyone here being very transparent about the challenges you face. Let me assure you, I never had any thought about you wasting your time on your beautiful RAINBOW garden 🌻🌼🌷. Health is much more related to the thoughts that one goes through, more so than the diet, although to have a healthy diet is important also.

    When I posed this question in the beginning, I was only thinking of it from the perspective of gardening or growing food as a subject in itself. As a family, we had pretty good years. Sure we had issues, but of late (and I think it's because of all those farm sprays), wildlife (insects and birds) are all affected. We also live right across a golf course that sprays on their lawns.

    Everyone I ask around where I live seem to be doing better in their food gardens. So I was asking here to see if anyone had challenges from the perspective of making things grow successfully. So if you really think about it, there's soil fertility, proper hydration, light, temperature and weeds, so I was wondering if anyone was having challenges that affected the yields, like animals, insects or diseases.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning @Foodgardenguy

    re your last paragraph: " Everyone I ask around where I live seem to be doing better in their food gardens. " Well sight unseen without any of us being there, we really can't tell what your neighbors are doing Differently... (than you) to get more success, tho from your pictures it looks like you are doing really well 🤗 already.

    and RE "So I was asking here to see if anyone had challenges from the perspective of making things grow successfully. " - Yes, & you saw what some of us have to deal with, additionally. BUT all that said, DO consider as well your "micro-climates", of which you may have quite a few in your own garden. None of which any of us would know & thus help you with. So have you asked your neighbors (who you think are doing "better"🤩 ) ? Have you asked any 'Canadian' organizations for added insights ? I looked up 2 just now: Canadian Master gardeners as well as Canadian Organic Growers. - iow what I am trying to Gently suggest is what more LOCAL to you resources... have you asked, for possible solutions to any "animals, insects or diseases" challenges you may encounter.

    Does this make sense?

    ok, I gots to check out, now, a few of the last presentations in @Marjory Wildcraft's excellent "home Medicine" summit she's hosted this past week. - Have yourself a Beautiful Autumn week everyone ! 🙂

  • Foodgardenguy
    Foodgardenguy Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Thank you @rainbow

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Too @Foodgardenguy re your "Let me assure you, I never had any thought about you wasting your time on your beautiful RAINBOW garden 🌻🌼🌷. Health is much more related to the thoughts one goes through, more so than the diet, although to have a healthy diet is important also." - True, &

    I know that YOU personally would not have any such thoughts, but others have actually said that to me; - so I was trying to Abbreviate that (while some meditate), which I don't, Yet my thankfully personal Relationship with God, plus my valued human relationships, plus most of Nature (including my Floral-rainbow), plus my Sweat dreams... ALL of these positive resources combined have me moving towards my/our further hopes & goals. - Prolly should have taken more time to say this.

    Enjoy a Beautiful Autumn in Canada 🙂

  • Foodgardenguy
    Foodgardenguy Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Numbers 6:24-26 New King James Version (NKJV)


    “The Lord bless you and keep you;


    The Lord make His face shine upon you,

    And be gracious to you;


    The Lord [a]lift up His countenance upon you,

    And give you peace.” 

    God ❤️ @rainbow