5 Worst Parts of Gardening (and How To Make Them Better)

Gardening is a delightful, stress-reducing hobby loved by more than half of the US population. However, planting, growing, and taking care of an unpredictable plant can be much more challenging than you’d think. And hundreds of gardeners have expressed complaints over what is supposed to be a calming experience. 

Here are five of the worst parts of gardening: 

  1. Fighting off pests.
  2. Being reliant on variables that are out of your control.
  3. Physical exhaustion.
  4. Deciding when it’s time to let go of a plant.
  5. Weed removal.

The rest of this article will dive into why these issues are so tiresome and the most efficient ways to combat them to improve your gardening experience. 

1. Fighting Off Pests

Fighting pests is one of the most hated gardening problems. There’s nothing worse than pouring hours of time and effort into growing a plant only to have it destroyed by a pest invasion.

And unfortunately, pests come in all shapes and sizes, whether you’re dealing with a colony of aphids or a single unruly rabbit. The risk of having your meticulously-grown plant damaged for good is the same. 

In some instances, you might even have to spend copious amounts of money and effort to protect your plants from their unwanted guests. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that having to think about or fight off such a vast range of potential pests is one of the worst things about gardening. 

Luckily, there’s no shortage of methods to either remedy the issue or prevent it from occurring in the first place.

How To Make It Better

Here are a few tips on how to prevent a pest invasion:

  • Always buy pest-resistant seeds. Prevention is always better than cure. By buying pest-resistant seeds, you’ll ensure that the eventual plants they’ll grow into will be much better equipped to handle possible attacks without requiring external intervention. Furthermore, these seeds are often disease-resistant, giving them a better chance of long-term survival overall.
  • Choose high-quality soil. Considering that the soil you choose will protect and nurture every single one of your plants, you’ll want to invest a bit more to ensure you’re getting a high-quality variety. 
  • Water your plants early in the morning. This is one of the first tips you’ll read in any gardening book. Watering your plants early leaves enough time for the water to evaporate. If you were to water your plants in the evening, they would likely retain some excess moisture, creating a breeding ground for fungus and other similar diseases. 
  • Don’t be afraid to thin out your plants. While removing the leaves/plants that are already diseased or affected by pests is a no-brainer, few gardeners know that the best way to go about thinning out the weak links is to do it before any issues have the chance to occur. Also, smaller, more fragile plants or leaves are more likely to become infected or diseased, so it’s best to nip the problem in the bud. 
  • Use traps and fences. As soon as you start building your garden, you should think of fencing it. Choose a barrier depending on the most common pests in your area, and don’t forget to add a few insect traps as well (these usually come in the form of sticky yellow cards).
  • Protect your plants by adding beneficial insects. When it comes to smaller pest colonies, there’s no better way to combat them than by adding a few types of beneficial insects to your garden. Ladybugs, for example, are an excellent addition to any gardening setup. They eat most of your typical destructive pests, including mites and aphids, while adding to the overall aesthetic appeal of your garden.
  • Clean your garden regularly. This is the simplest yet most often neglected tip when it comes to keeping your garden pest-free. Always remove fallen leaves and weeds as decaying plant matter can attract all kinds of unwanted guests.

2. Being Reliant on Variables That Are Out of Your Control

You’ll never be able to fully control the gardening process. You may buy the best quality seeds and soil, use the most efficient techniques, follow a strict watering schedule, and still have a storm destroy your crop within the span of a single day.

Sometimes it might seem as if animals, insects, and unfavorable weather conditions are all competing as to who can destroy your plants the fastest. And unfortunately, this issue can be difficult to combat, as uncertainty will always be a crucial component of gardening. However, there are some measures you can take to make your greenery more adaptable to these types of difficulties.

How To Make It Better

Here are a few tips on how to deal with unpredictable weather conditions:

  • Collect rainwater.
  • Mulch heavily.
  • Install windbreaks.
  • Invest in a greenhouse.

3. Physical Exhaustion

When looking at photos of happy gardeners smiling while gently holding a watering can or hose, you’d never be able to guess how physically exhausting the practice can be. 

Gardening is a physically taxing activity, and not only will you be completely worn out after a day of gardening, but the aches will likely continue until the next day. 

How To Make It Better

While physical exhaustion and gardening will always go hand in hand, there are some ways to make the process easier on your joints and muscles.

  • Hire help.
  • Keep your garden small.
  • Invest in high-quality tools.
  • Wrap tool handles with cushiony padding.
  • Know your limitations and rest when necessary. 
  • Plant your garden around a reliable water source.
  • When possible, always opt for low-maintenance plants.

4. Deciding When It’s Time To Let Go of a Plant

Emotionally, this is arguably the worst (and hardest) part of gardening. You’ve invested time, effort, and love into a plant that you’ve grown from nothing, and deciding when it’s time to say goodbye can be devastating even for the strongest-hearted gardeners. 

However, when the root system becomes mushy and wet, it might be time to cut your losses and move on. While there’s still no way to bring a plant back from the dead, there are some techniques that can make coping with the process easier.

How To Make It Better

Here’s how to make letting go of a plant easier: 

  • Try every possible trick in the book to save your plant before throwing it away. I know seeing your plant lose its former vibrancy can be disheartening. However, unless the root system has turned to mush, there might still be a chance for the plant to survive. Exhausting all your options will make throwing it away at the end a bit easier, as you’ll know that you tried. 
  • Have a plant funeral (either figuratively or literally). There’s nothing childish nor embarrassing about feeling sad or distraught about throwing away a plant. After all, you’ve put an immense amount of time and affection into making it grow. Take the time to process your emotions, then donate your plant to a local compost bin collector.

5. Weed Removal

Weed removal is almost every gardener’s most loathed pastime. Having to find and pick each of these nutrient-sucking growths individually can be exhausting. Luckily, there are some strategies that can help move the process along quicker. And if you can prevent weeds from growing in the first place, that’s even better.

How To Make It Better

Here’s how to make weed removal easier:

  • Prevention is key. Good gardening relies heavily on good planning. The easiest way to prevent weeds from covering your garden is to lay landscape fabric all over the soil, which you’ll then want to cover with a layer of high-quality mulch. 
  • Improve your technique. If you’re pulling the weeds by hand, always use gardening gloves and never tug from the leaves, always from the roots. If there’s resistance, you can gently twist the top of the root as you continue to pull it.
  • Use tools. A trowel or a simple knife can help make the roots easier to lift off the soil. Likewise, you can always use a weeder so you can pull the weeds off the ground without having to put pressure on your hands.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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