When is a Garden Too Big?

Dad (23) and me (4) tilling the soil with Grandpa Smith’s tractor and plow in April, 1981.

When is a garden too big? Is it too big when you have to use a farm tractor to till it? Is it too big when you have to divide it into two gardens? Is it too big when you have to use a week’s vacation to pull weeds? My parents say a garden is too big when it fits all of the above criteria and there’s only two adults and one four-year-old child to tend it.


We had a garden near our trailer and one at the bottom of the hill, alongside our driveway. Unfortunately, we only have fuzzy memories and a few pictures of the tilling of the ground as evidence that the gardens existed.

My parents said that some of the best vegetables they have ever eaten came from those gardens. We had such an abundance of food that even after canning vegetables our family and friends were able to pick and take as much as they needed. Maybe the garden wasn’t too big after all, maybe it just needed a little more help.


Is there a garden in your life that’s too big? Do you need help tilling the ground or pulling the weeds? Is there a friend, family member, or someone you don’t particularly like, whose garden is too big? Maybe they just need a little help, like we all do.


2 Replies to “When is a Garden Too Big?”

  1. I think it depends upon your views and objectives. In older days, when food was not plentiful or available year round unless you grew it yourself, the objective was to grow as much as possible. Space was often not an issue. Weeds weren’t either in most farm family gardens. My mother’s garden wasn’t weed-free when she had chores and kids & cooked three meals a day with few modern appliances. Only the tallest or most obnoxious weeds were pulled, but the harvest was amazing. At my stage, my garden is too big when I can’t keep it looking beautiful and weed-free, but big enough that is supplies most of our vegetables, herbs, and small fruits.


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