Posted on 12 May 2009 by

Boston Herald Journalist Earns the Wrath of Online Gardeners

boston-heraldBy Michael Nolan

When Lauren Beckham Falcone from the Boston Herald wrote her lifestyle piece for the May 5th edition of the newspaper I doubt she anticipated drawing the ire of gardeners everywhere for her negative portrayal of the backyard garden.

She caught the attention of a tight-knit group of Twitter members, myself and Vanessa Richins included, who decided that we needed to inform her of the err of her ways so that we could perhaps curtail some of the damage her ill-conceived story would do to the readers.

“But Mr. Greenjeans wannabes, be warned: With wartime exceptions, Americans are about 100 years past our agricultural heyday.” says Falcone who obviously missed out on the current series on Good Morning America in which Joe Lamp’l is growing a $25 Victory Garden and doing so quite successfully I might add.

Her breakdown of costs included a $100 water bill which was even more laughable to me considering that for less than that she could have easily made her own rain barrel system ensuring that she’d probably never have to spend another dime watering her garden again. I recently came across an in-depth tutorial system at the Atlanta Watershed website that will help anyone to create their own rain barrels with basic tools and no previous experience.

What’s important for a new gardener to understand is that there will be some necessary expenses involved when you are starting anything from scratch just as if you were starting a hobby and had none of the necessary tools or equipment with which to do it. Taking advantage of such websites as Freecycle (an amazing resource that Vanessa and I fully agree on) can often yield much of what any fledgling gardener could need to get started – often including plants!

Thanks to Freecycle two years ago I was able to add to an already impressive collection of heirloom tomato seed varieties and I do my best to pay that forward just like most of the other members do.

My point here is that you should not allow half-hearted gardeners like Ms. Falcone to alter your resolve when it comes to starting your own garden. If you are worried about going it alone, seek out a community garden in your area or just ask for help at your local nursery or garden center.

You can also send questions to us here at Urban Garden Casual; we’re always more than happy to help you find the answers you need!

9 Responses to “Boston Herald Journalist Earns the Wrath of Online Gardeners”

  1. JodyM Says:

    We are expanding our veggie patch this year by 4x, and plan on canning and/or preserving as much as possible. I decided to keep track of ‘money in’ vs. estimated savings (our own salsa vs. store-bought prices, or the price of store-bought heirloom tomatoes, etc). I have an Excel spreadsheet and everything. I’m just curious. OK, I’m a little obsessive, but I still want to know.

    Jody in PA

  2. Michael Nolan Says:


    Now I’m curious too. Please let us know the results of your little experiment!

  3. Colleen Vanderlinden Says:

    I can’t even tell you how much it irked me to read that column! Vanessa and I went back and forth about it a bit on Twitter, and I said at the time that it was the dumbest thing I’d read in a very long time. The negativity and over-estimation of how difficult it is to grow a garden is just totally unnecessary.

    Ah, now you’ve got me ranting about it again 🙂 Great post!

  4. Michael Nolan Says:


    That article had me really irked but then I let that fuel my resolve to educate more people on the truth.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Urban Garden Casual » Boston Herald Journalist Earns the Wrath of … | Easy Urban Gardening Says:

    […] You can also send questions to us here at Urban Garden Casual; we’re always more than happy to help you find the answers you need! Related Posts. Gardener’s Supply Offering Free Online Kitchen Garden Planner … »Read More […]

  6. Dan and Deanna Says:

    Thank you for this post. Jody you are on the right track. Also put on that list of things to keep track of is how much better the things taste from your own garden. If you find that you can not use all that you have grown the food banks would call that a welcome blessing and you share with others as well. You will find that you get more that you ever thought by doing a garden. Family togetherness if you work on it as a family. The canning will take some time as well. It could use a lot of hands to help. Enjoy more of the fruits of your labors all winter long. It is worth the effort. Enjoy we did growing up.
    Dan and Deanna “Marketing Unscrambled”

  7. Dani in NC Says:

    As with most hobbies, gardening is as expensive as you make it. I started my first garden patch last year and I spent about $50. I had already been unemployed for a long time. My main concern was providing affordable fresh veggies for my family, so I took a minimalist approach to the whole thing. I started everything from seed in egg cartons, newspaper cups, and water bottles my neighbor was throwing away. My raised bed was constructed from lumber left over when we tore down the kids’ wooden play structure. I bought the cheapest dirt at the garden center. My husband already waters the lawn, so watering my little patch didn’t make a difference in my summer water bill.

    My yield may not have been huge, but it still made a difference in our diet. Tomatoes in particular were so expensive in my area last year that we wouldn’t have had any tomatoes at all if I hadn’t grown them. That makes it worth the effort to me.

  8. Michael Nolan Says:


    Your response is the kind that proves the err of the journalist’s ways. Thank you.

  9. Dana @ Potted Farm Says:

    As someone just starting up an urban garden – the startup costs can be a bit intimidating. Potting soil, some seeds, a few containers. On a budget, it starts to add up. But so does buying everything from the grocery store.

    Though to a certain extent I think Ms. Falcone won… you’re talking about her article, right? 🙂

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