I saw this article today on Slate's The Big Money stating that "gardening won't end the recessions." The New York Times starter garden blog has also addressed the issue of the finances of gardening, as have many other articles, and I've seen wildly different numbers showing gardening to be a waste of money, or penny pincher's dream. For me, vegetable gardening makes sense financially. I (sort of) know what I'm doing, I have an established garden and so spend less than $20 on my vegetable garden each year while my grocery bill each week reduced by close to that during peak production. But that's not why I garden.
It seems all these articles about gardening are written assuming that because a financial crises prompted gardening, people must be gardening to save money.
But that assumption is wrong.
Plants are comforting. A garden is between you and nature, not you and speculating bankers. A harvest of vegetables is a solid, simple reality in the face of confusing mortgage backed securities and tangled health care debates. I heard from friends in the nursery business that people bought plants after 9/11 -- not to save money, but to feel better. And unlike other ways of making one feel better (alcohol, ice cream) gardening is guilt free: I'm not wasting money, nor harming my health.
Home grown vegetables are the perfect comfort food for a financial down turn.