Author Topic: gardening vs. biking  (Read 6077 times)

clarkfan1979

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gardening vs. biking
« on: February 15, 2015, 08:04:12 AM »
I have an uncle that is 69 and has smoked two packs of cigarettes since the age of 16. He is in surprising good health and a very avid gardener. He is retired and lives on about 20K a year. He does an elaborate vegetable garden every summer and cans all of his vegetables to get him through the winter.

This made me think that with gardening you get exercise + more healthy eating and a reduced grocery bill. With biking you get exercise and reduced fuel cost. Could gardening challenge biking as being more efficient behavior?

I guess with gardening there is a learning cycle and you typically need a plot of land. With biking you just start peddling. 



DagobertDuck

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2015, 08:13:08 AM »
Interesting one.
Tom Hodgkinson is a big fan of growing one's own veggies.
I kind of like the idea, but I don't have a garden, and I like biking MUCH more than gardening.

PEIslander

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2015, 08:35:00 AM »
Of course it isn't a either/or choice. You can do gardening & biking.

Here's a little story about gardening:
I remember once taking to the administrator of a youth detention facility (i.e. prison for kids). He said they had each new arrival fill out a questionnaire to see what programs the kid would say they were interested in. Typically gardening scored lowest on the list of potential programs. Thing was they didn't really give the kids any choice -- they all had to participate in all programs -- including the gardening. Upon their release from custody the kids were given another questionnaire about programs - this one asking what programs they had enjoyed. The results were fairly consistent that most found the gardening programs to be the most rewarding.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 08:35:21 AM »
I think this depends on your skill set and proclivities. Pretty sure that if I tried to start a garden, I would wind up with a very expensive patch of dead things!

darkadams00

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 03:01:09 PM »
Biking and local farm fruit/veggies. Farm is 1.5 miles away, costs much less than the grocery store, closer than the farmer's market, has extensive selection, and my money supports a local family. Home garden vs grocery store might be a cost/productivity win, but with the local farm on the outskirts of town, my time is spent more wisely in other endeavors.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2015, 03:05:24 PM »
It can depend on area, too. Where I grew up was not very bike friendly, but I had a massive garden. Now the reverse is true- I have no outdoors area, but can walk/bike anywhere I need to almost.

MsPeacock

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2015, 03:09:12 PM »
I think this depends on your skill set and proclivities. Pretty sure that if I tried to start a garden, I would wind up with a very expensive patch of dead things!

There is a definite learning curve to gardening! Until you get a system down about what works in your area, when to plant, get your soil spruced up, etc. it can be a bit of a money pit.

deborah

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2015, 03:28:38 PM »
Gardening is recommended by most health organisations promoting exercise. It is especially good, as you tend to use most muscles (at different tasks), stretch and have aerobic fitness as well. Biking doesn't provide as varied exercise, but it is also recommended. Gardening is nice, as you have something to show for it, and as you grow older, it doesn't have the balance needs that biking does, so it is more forgiving of an aging body.

Ricky

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2015, 07:55:08 PM »
I'm going to say no, gardening isn't as efficient as biking is. Why.....? Time.

There is no gardening activity that takes less time than going to the grocery store and buying the item. There are plenty of situations in which biking is faster than driving. Biking is also immediate, easy, and requires little skill in comparison to gardening. At the very least, you don't need to "know" as much about biking to get started as you do about gardening. You'll still need the grocery store*, creating more inefficiencies. You wouldn't necessarily need a car if you were comfortable biking and lived close to everything.

I haven't mentioned the fact that there are probably things you could do in your spare time that would be more profitable than saving on veggies. This is also likely since gardening is a daytime activity, which is the time most people do business.

I'm not even sure gardening is in second place as being a more efficient alternative to something else. I would say cooking is #2 since its relatively easy to cook and takes nearly the same amount of time as going out.

*Sure, you could survive on veggies alone, but few would be willing to do this.

bogart

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2015, 08:40:55 PM »
I'm going to say no, gardening isn't as efficient as biking is. Why.....? Time.

There is no gardening activity that takes less time than going to the grocery store and buying the item. There are plenty of situations in which biking is faster than driving. Biking is also immediate, easy, and requires little skill in comparison to gardening.

On the other hand, gardening is something one can do (or at least contribute to, e.g. small children) across the life course, in a way that biking is not.  My septagenarian mother is active and fit (e.g. swims laps regularly) but prone to falling and breaking her wrists.  If she told me she were taking up biking, I'd have a heart attack -- so much for its health benefits %).  But I appreciate the yield from her garden. 

Weedy Acres

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 09:10:08 PM »

There is no gardening activity that takes less time than going to the grocery store and buying the item. ....

I haven't mentioned the fact that there are probably things you could do in your spare time that would be more profitable than saving on veggies. This is also likely since gardening is a daytime activity, which is the time most people do business.

I disagree.  If you have an existing bed, which can be used year after year, it takes minimal time to plant a few seeds.  2 minutes a day to pull up the few weeds that have sprouted since yesterday (or save them up till Saturday and spend 30).  And picking the produce takes about as long as opening the fridge.

Compare that to hopping in the car, driving to the store, finding the stuff you want, putting it all in separate bags, waiting in line at checkout, watching everything get scanned, paying, and driving back home again.  By the time you've done that, I've got dinner, made with fresh garden veggies, waiting for you.

And in the summer when it's all growing, it's still light enough to garden after work.

Did I mention that fresh garden produce is WAY better than anything store bought?!

Tapp

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2015, 09:28:57 PM »
I would recommend Square foot gardening. Most people say the things about gardening because of bad experience with traditional gardening.

SFG allows you to have perfect soil day one, and to keep weeds to a minimum. This is due to raised beds, and fresh soil (not your backyard soil. The weeds often come from the seeds already in the soil after you till. Also a fuller garden allows your plants to choke out weeds. Weeds need open space to get sun.
Also about the land, 48 Sq ft of land is all that is needed to feed one person quite well with SFG all year.

Its comparable to the cost of biking. single time investment of a couple hundred dollars and minimal maintenance over its lifetime.
Most people just stagger plantings and harvest as the need them.
I think a backyard commute for food is better than down the road to the store.

Either way, they are both great. But you will definitely get a workout from gardening. 35lb ea. pumpkin harvest is no small picnic.

Kaydedid

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2015, 09:39:47 PM »
Gardening is a different kind of exercise compared to biking - more like lifting weights than using a cardio machine.  Both have their benefit - you can get some nice strong muscles from gardening, but you can get some great endurance (and leg muscles) from biking. 

I second the square foot garden idea.  There is way less wasted space.  I also mulch with grass clipping and leaves (not oak) from the yard, so weeding and watering needs are negligible.   Hauling around mulch is hard work, but you only do it once every month or so, and have a lot more leeway about when to do it as opposed to weeding/watering.  The worms also love it, and the mulch breaks down into fertilizer, reducing your need for that also.

Kaydedid

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2015, 09:42:55 PM »
Also, for gardening to save money, you need to be smart.  Grow small, expensive-to-buy foods from cheap seeds like lettuces for the best money-saving efficiency.  Don't bother with potatoes, onions, etc. unless it's just for fun - the returns on these, even compared to organic prices, are pitiful.

Knapptyme

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2015, 10:29:03 PM »
Well, it's hard to argue against doing both. With multiple growing seasons in Florida, and generally nice-weather to bike in, both have become year-round habits that I'm learning to do better each year. Yes, I already know how to plants seeds and ride a bike, but learning involves mastering your area considering crop rotation, starting seedlings indoors, composting, and finding the best, safest and most efficient bike routes possible. None of it comes without some effort, but both yield great rewards.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2015, 06:37:20 AM »
I'm not going to wade into the gardening method/advice, as I'm counter to most of the folks around here, but why not both?

Over the long term, gardening actually provides me with more mood medicine. I struggle with depression, and it's hard to manage that in the winter. In the summertime, when I'm feeling off, it's time to putz in the garden for a while.

On the other hand, biking provides an intensity of workout that's damn near impossible to find in gardening.

Both provide a very functional benefit (food and transportation). Neither are profitable in the Ramit Sethi 'my time is worth x, outsource all the things' sense, but Mustachianism is about resilience, not about maximizing the bottom line.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2015, 06:57:21 AM »
Over the long term, gardening actually provides me with more mood medicine. I struggle with depression, and it's hard to manage that in the winter. In the summertime, when I'm feeling off, it's time to putz in the garden for a while.

My family actually has a saying about this. Any time one of my aunts (or I) call feeling depressed/despairing/etc, my mom says, "go get your hands in the dirt". I always though that was folk wisdom until I saw this: http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/raw-data-is-dirt-the-new-prozac

Not to mention, growing fresh herbs is SO easy and quick, and most people otherwise don't have any in their diet. Huge health benefits there. Our cooking herbs are really quite medicinal when you look at the research.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2015, 08:15:09 AM »
Or you could do both.  A pedal powered tractor:  http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/culticycle-pedal-powered-tractor-small-farms.html

Gardening probably is not as efficient as biking, but can be at least as rewarding.  There is great satisfaction that comes from growing your own food.  Fresh food is also significantly healthier.  It even makes me so happy in the middle of the winter when I open of jar of my home canned produce.

bugbaby

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2015, 08:41:32 AM »
i say apples to oranges... Gardening provides food, Biking provides transportation. They both provide joy & health :) ... Why pit 2 good things against each other??

BCBiker

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Re: gardening vs. biking
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2015, 09:38:41 AM »
The more time you spend outside, generally speaking, the more happy you will be!

Also, feeling productive is a basic need everyone has so producing your own food and getting to where you need to go using your own strength both can make one feel pretty satisfied!

You would have to do a lot of gardening to save as much money as one can save by biking if you factor in the savings of having one less car.

I would not discourage someone from gardening though even if it does not quite offer the cost savings of biking.