Yes, this is a lot of work. During the winter, you scour seed catalogues (online and in paper format), cruise the Seedy Saturdays, and pick out what you want to plant for the upcoming season (or maybe you were organized and patient enough to save some of your own seed from last year). Some stuff gets started inside and babied through until ready for hardening off. The rest get directly planted outside at the appropriate time. Gauging when that time falls is always a challenge with variable frosts and capricious early spring weather. Then you have to weed, water, prune, trellis, water, water and water.
But what magic! From a teeny, tiny little package of DNA and nutrients springs forth a new generation, ready to provide us with flavour, colour, gourmet delights and inspiration for art on many levels, sometimes within a matter of short weeks, others take the whole season or many years to bear forth with a result. And being in the garden really brings you in touch with the seasons, with all the critters that make their homes in your garden (the good, the annoying and the downright destructive, alike), and with the complexities of the soil from which all your plants draw forth their resources.
While the work involved in starting, growing, protecting and maintaining these plants so that we can at some point glean a harvest, and then of course the work involved in putting that harvest away in the freezer, canning jars, dehydrator or fermentation vessel, can be overwhelming, the returns of satisfaction, knowledge and pleasure are sure worth it!