Alternative Garden Options

When we think of a traditional garden, we see lines of plants taking up space in a backyard. A large garden might hold tomato plants, a series of lettuce, and other vegetables. Although admirable, not everyone has the space or time for such a patch of land. Today we explore alternative gardening methods that you could try in your own home. 

Bucket and Container Gardens

For someone with limited amounts of space, a good solution could be using a bucket to support a small garden. Ideally, all you need if some five gallon buckets, rocks, peat, moss, planting soil, and compost. Plants that grow well in buckets include tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, lettuce, carrots, and onions. For vegetables that require more soil, like potatoes, tray growing in a trash can or potato bag. You can always use pots, trash cans, mason jars, bowls, cinder blocks, and fish tanks, to house gardens and plants as well. Rodale has an article about choosing and preparing your container for your gardening project.

The Urban Survival Site share a list that ranks fifteen plants on their difficulty in growing in a five-gallon bucket. The Homestead Survival Site has a list that names twelve plants that do well in container gardening in general. For additional information in bucket gardening, see Gardening Know How’s article.

Vertical Gardening

A unique space-saver, Vertical gardening can come in all shapes and sizes. Some people take a PVC pipe and place seeds in the holes they drain into the sides of it. Others grow off of a trellis, especially vine varieties such as tomatoes, pole beans, peas, and cucumbers. Of course upcycling is never out of the question. Some people take a pallet and turn it on its side, allowing small garden planets such as herbs and small perennials. Your old over-the-door shoe holder could house those same small plants as well in a pocket garden. For additional planting techniques, visit Mother Earth News’ article on maximum returns on Vertical Gardening.

Hydroponics and Aquaculture

A special type of vertical gardening, hydroponic systems is the process of growing plants in nutrient-enriched water-based environment. When done correctly, a hydroponic garden can surpass yields of a traditional garden. For details on different hydroponic systems, visit Fullbloom Hydroponics.

Aquaponics combines both aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaculture is defined as rearing aquatic animals or plants for food. In a system combined together, aquatic creatures such as snails, fish, crayfish, or prawns and the plants you’re cultivating create a symbiotic environment. The fish prosute waste produces that are converted by microbes and worms into fertilizers for the plants. In return, the plants filter the water that the fish live in. Aquaponics are scalable projects, which mean that they can accommodate the herbs growing by your sink to small gardens in your backyard to entire farms. Learn more about aquaponics at The Aquaponics Source.

Regenerative Vegetables

Some plants are able to begin without starting from seed. Using food scraps, you can grow an entire garden. Shopping at your local grocery store what begins as tonight’s dinner can be tomorrow's salad. Plants with these regenerative-like properties include garlic, lettuce, carrots, ginger, mushrooms, and pineapple. For information on nineteen individual plants, visit Food Revolution. Also visit this helpful infographic.

Rock Garden

Although this garden doesn’t produce any yielding food items. It can still be fun to work with. For example, this person’s strawberry rock garden demonstrates her artistic ability. Arranging rocks into unique patterns and shapes can exercise your creative mind more than your green thumb. But creating a rock garden you enjoy can be a great way to stay connected to nature. Visit Better Homes and Gardens rock garden ideas page for some inspiration.