Over 23,000 years ago, our ancestors decided to try something different.
They noticed that the fruits and vegetables they were eating had seeds.
Someone got the idea of putting them in the ground using the same soil that they pulled the item from.
It sprouted and the rest was history.
Gardening is part of our DNA, whether you’re planting flowers or using your green thumb to avoid a trip to the grocery store.
With the advent of the internet, there is no stopping the shared knowledge on how to bring a seed to something special.
Is it as easy as it sounds to make it a career, though?
We’re going to dig right in and find out.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Gardener
- Cons of Being a Gardener
- Pros and Cons of Being a Gardener – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Gardener?
Pros of Being a Gardener
1. Fresh Crops
Whatever it is you decide to focus on as a gardener, whether it be produce or flowers, you’ll always have plenty of it.
That is great for your own household as well as your family, friends, and neighbors.
Who needs a grocery store when you have one in your own backyard garden?
Even better, you don’t have to be limited to what’s growing on your land.
You get to decide what belongs on a sandwich or in a salad and plant it.
Want to have a specific flower for your kitchen?
Just walk outside.
2. Independent Worker
When you are a gardener, you’re raising crops on your own land and usually on a smaller scale.
When you’re in charge of your own labor, the options kind of open up for you.
That means there’s no big business hovering over you with demands.
There aren’t any strict rules you must adhere to.
There are no quotas to meet.
You grow what you want when you want, and how you want.
3. Trying New Things
Getting to be a gardener means having the ability to experiment.
Being open to trying new plants means you’ll always be learning things and are able to alternate space.
Some crops, like garlic, need to be planted in the autumn so they will start to be ready by next spring and summer.
Other plants, like bamboo, start sprouting up almost immediately.
Picking out new seeds means you can have a full garden of something all year long.
4. Going to Market
One fun thing about being a gardener is getting to show off the crops.
Taking the good stuff to a farmers market is a great way to meet people in the community and make connections with other places to sell your items.
It can also provide inspiration on unique ways to use your items, such as turning fruit into jam or flowers into bouquets.
It also gets the word out that you exist!
5. Flexible Schedule
You can pretty much work your week as you see fit.
Got an appointment in the middle of the day?
Want to take a week off to be with family?
Go for it.
As you might imagine, there’s a lot less physical gardening in winter vs spring.
So, what does a gardener do in the cold season?
Since you’re not in the dirt, there are a few months to plan out next year.
What plant did well?
What plant was not one you enjoyed growing?
This is a good time for reflection and a vacation, hopefully.
6. Varied Routine
Some people handle going to the office day after day, sitting in front of a computer for years just fine.
Others need days that are often in flux.
If the latter is you, gardening might be calling.
One day, you’re outside digging.
The next day, you’re at the store looking at soil.
The day after that, you’re investigating how to cover strawberries.
The days are always different.
7. Healthy Workspace
Perhaps the best benefit of all is the good working with your hands can do for your health.
It’s always good to be physically active and get vitamin D.
It’s even better to stay mentally active.
When you’re a gardener, you’re not just playing in the dirt and hoping for the best.
There’s a lot of strategy and planning that goes into a successful garden.
Problem-solving is a great way to keep a mind young and avoid dementia symptoms.
Cons of Being a Gardener
1. Labor Intensive
Not everyone has the same back.
Despite many people associating gardening with senior citizens, getting in the dirt isn’t always easy.
This kind of work can be tough at any age and will likely get tougher to do as one gets older.
Having to retire earlier than expected because of the physical aspect might not be in the plans.
That’s something to think about.
As good as it is to get exercise and fresh air, it’s important to be mindful of the physical impacts such work can take on a body.
Be careful in your pursuit of fresh fruits, vegetables, or beautiful flora.
2. Turning a Profit
The amount of time and energy that goes into a garden might feel like a bit much in comparison to money made.
Unfortunately, it can take time to build enough of a reputation to get your goods sold.
Even if you do, it might not bring the returns you’d hoped for.
Depending on your area, it might be tough to find local consumers who are willing to pay more for your goods than the big chain store that is undercutting all gardeners.
3. Stuck Gardening
If you find yourself getting less and less of a profit, the next thought might be to leave the industry.
Unfortunately, many gardeners find it increasingly difficult to switch careers.
That can be the case, especially when that’s been your whole career.
Sure, there are areas of the job that are easily relatable to other industries, but many employers don’t see experience in those terms.
4. UV Rays
As good for your health as being a gardener is, it can be just as bad.
If you aren’t taking the proper precautions when working outside for long hours under the sun, it will likely be your doom.
20% of Americans develop skin cancer and that percentage goes up dramatically for those who work outside.
The best way to prevent exposure, aside from sunscreen, might be too tough to follow through on.
No one wants to wear long sleeves when the temperature is hovering around 100 degrees.
It might save your skin though, literally.
5. No Upward Mobility
This isn’t the kind of career where you can expect to move up in the ranks.
A gardener is a gardener.
There’s no manager of gardening or CEO of gardening.
Even if you work for a company as a gardener, it’s an all-encompassing job.
You manage, plan, and work on the land that you own.
You’re responsible for it all and there is no higher totem pole to advance on.
6. Failed Experiments
Having a green thumb often comes with a side of creativity.
You may want to try to cross-pollinate and see what you can create.
As fun as it is, it can also be disappointing to not come up with any successful crops.
It’s kind of hard to not at least try but remember to keep a focus on what works at the same time.
It may take several failed tries, but when one actually produces something, it will be worth the bragging rights.
7. Start-Up Costs
If you’re new to the gardening game, you might be biting off more than you can chew.
The reality of gardening is that it takes quite a lot of setup to make a good, productive harvest season.
From tools to seeds and everything in between, gardening is not a cheap hobby nor is it an easy career.
Depending on how much land you have, it might be way more than you bargained for ahead of planting.
Aside from digging, there’s a lot that must go into protecting crops in addition to keeping them healthy.
Pros and Cons of Being a Gardener – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Gardener||Cons of Being a Gardener|
|1. Fresh Crops||1. Labor Intensive|
|2. Independent Worker||2. Turning a Profit|
|3. Trying New Things||3. Stuck Gardening|
|4. Going to Market||4. UV Rays|
|5. Flexible Schedule||5. No Upward Mobility|
|6. Varied Routine||6. Failed Experiments|
|7. Healthy Workspace||7. Start-Up Costs|
Should You Become a Gardener?
On one hand, some people live for being outside and getting their hands dirty.
The idea of creating something from a seed to a dinner plate or bouquet has so many benefits.
However, it can be physically demanding to be down on the ground using a shovel or something heavier.
Gardening can require long hours and months of planning.
If that sounds right up your alley, make sure you have the passion to see it through and it could be the career you’ve been waiting for.