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Personal Qualities a Food Grower Needs

Gardening requires certain skills and knowledge to be successful. However there are some personal qualities a food grower needs that goes just knowledge.

As with other aspects of life, gardening can be either a gratifying activity or a frustrating I-have-to-do-it chore. The personal qualities you bring to gardening affect this greatly.


When you have a large garden or even a small garden but with a lot of things going on in it, you will struggle to find the time to get all the tasks done. We generally all lead busy lives. Our careers, family obligations, taking care of children and elderly parents, preparing meals and eating, sleeping, shopping and many other tasks take up most of our day.

So what does that leave for gardening – probably not much. In fact for many people if you ask them they will say that they don’t see how they can fit it in. Techniques for finding time and getting work done have already been covered to some extent in one of my earliest posts on time management

Everyone has their own ways to manage time, whether old school with a calendar or day planner or an app on their phone or computer. However if you constantly plan out what to do each time you go out into the garden, this will take up as much time as actually getting work done.

Routines set aside a time for gardening and a set list of tasks to work on.

If you can setup a routine to always go out into the garden on a consistent basis it is amazing what you can get done in a typical week. For example picking every Saturday morning before breakfast or every Sunday afternoon after lunch. Have a similar set of tasks that you work on during those times. This will help you achieve at least small steps in your quest to keep your garden well-maintained.

Early Riser

Everyone has their best times when they get the most work done. It may be early in the morning, after a mid-morning coffee break, after lunch or late at night.

For gardening the optimum time to get outside and work is early in the morning.

Here are some of the benefits of an early morning work session in the garden:

  • watering your plants before the heat of the day starts is much better than watering in the middle of the day (evaporation loss) or at nighttime (potential for mildew and other moisture-caused diseases)
  • the air is usually fresh and invigorating which may give you the added energy to tackle a more difficult task
  • it may be the only time in a hot climate/season where you can actually work as it may be too hot later in the day or into the evening
  • it may be the only part of the day that you have to work for several hours uninterrupted before other things come up for you to deal with
  • you can bring along a nice hot cup of coffee or tea to enjoy as you work
  • doing some work and then heading inside for a shower and breakfast/brunch feels good and can be a great start to the day

Not everyone can be an early riser. The thought of going out early rather than sleeping longer might be out of the question. However you might want to try it once or twice just to see if it could fit at least into your weekend routine.


You likely will encounter some challenging problems while gardening. Everything from plants dying to animals devouring your produce just as it is ripening can be quite frustrating – I know as I have experienced many of these problems and others.

However if you dwell on the problems and even get depressed by them, you will likely never solve them or not solve them well.

Become more solutions-oriented and this can help you overcome gardening problems without stress.

Anytime you have a problem in the garden start thinking about solutions. Maybe you might do some research on the internet, ask some fellow gardeners or experiment and try some things out yourself. This will always move you closer to a solution or multiple solutions to try out.

Having a solution alone won’t help. You now need to experiment with some of the solutions – don’t be afraid to try something even if it may be a bit outside of what logic would dictate is the correct solution. If it doesn’t work then try another one. The only thing you lose is some time and possibly money but you gain a lot in knowledge and experience.

With any solution though think about your safety, the safety of your family and your house/property and that of your neighbours. Especially when it comes to water and plumbing!


Gardening involves quite a bit of decision making. You likely will need to decide where to plant vegetables, flowers and herbs, what fertilizers to use and even when to work in your garden. Some decisions will take longer to make especially when dealing with a more difficult problem that you are trying to solve.

Avoid making simple decisions by having a consistent way of doing common tasks.

Spending too much time making simple decisions can waste time and keep you from doing the work. For the day-to-day decisions that you always seem to be making, you may want to see if you can eliminate those decisions and make them once rather than every time you go out into the garden. It will also help stop you from procrastinating on some tasks you may not always enjoy doing if you know already how you are going to tackle them.

Some examples:

  • water and fertilize your plants the same time and same day(s) every week and have the same path you take as you move around your garden
  • put your tools in the same spot each time you are done using them
  • always clean your tools after using them
  • weed and cultivate consistently every week

These are only some of the qualities that can help you achieve great things in your garden. It might seem overwhelming at first to try to achieve these personal qualities all at once. You will have better luck picking one and finding success in small steps.

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