Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ethics of gardening

“You should only be allowed to vote in New Zealand when you’ve planted a kauri.” Listener

I spent the weekend in the garden. Gardening is one of the ways I re-create. The existing beds now have corn, lettuce and spinach in them. The hanging baskets have been replanted, this year mixing flowers, tumbling tomatoes and parsley to provide both colour and food. That was Saturday. On Monday, inspired by a visit to one of the “parishioners”, last Easter, (that’s another blogpost in itself), we began turning lawn into more vegetable garden.

The Warehouse were selling kitset raised bed gardens. $99 for all the materials to cover a 1 metre square. All you need to do is sink a few screws.

I then went and priced the actual wood at the local hardware story (Mitre 10). $88 for wood to cover a 2 metre square area.

So I came home pondering the ethics. Cheaper at Mitre 10, but it relies on me having the skills and capacities to cut the wood and bang in a few nails. But not everyone has those skills. So where does that leave the Warehouse.

As a Christian, it seems to me that gardening is something that should be encouraged. Good for body and soul and a more sustainable way to live. At Opawa we give out vegetable plants as part of our Spring Clean community mission day, and have done a 3 week series on Grow through Gardening, looking at gardens in the Bible and the spirituality of gardening. So I want to applaud any initiatives to encourage people into gardening. And a ready to go kit-set garden is a great place if you don’t know how to build your own.

But $99 for less, compared to $88 for more? If you don’t have the skills, is the Warehouse making money out of you? Or is is still performing a public good that should be applauded?

Posted by steve at 09:17 AM


  1. i say yay for the warehouse who kindly gave a template and who charged a pretty reasonable price for their offering. i am happy to pay people to do things that i have no time (or no inclination) for. tomorrow the window cleaning man will clean my windows. i could do it cheaper (free) myself, but he does it heaps quicker than i could, and has clever things that make it a lovely job, leaving me time to source pea straw for our new garden(s), a suitable task for a researcher. 🙂

    Comment by lynne — November 12, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  2. hmmm. i was not necessarily thinking of you, a highly skilled researcher. i was more thinking of the people who live in the suburb surrounding the place where we brought the kitset, who are more likely to be unemployed, struggling financially – and the relationship between profitmaking and easy DIY.


    Comment by steve — November 12, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

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