6 Traditional Garden Alternatives for Growing Your Own Food
Traditional gardening is popular, but it has its limitations. If you don’t have the space or time to grow a traditional garden, here are some other great options for growing your own food…
As a life-long gardener, I firmly believe that growing your own food is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Not only does it provide access to the freshest and most high-quality food, but it also saves you money on groceries, and gives you a sense of self-sufficiency that just can’t be beat! There are many different ways to grow your own food – whether you choose a traditional garden or one of the many alternatives.
Should You Grow a Traditional Garden?
Obviously, a traditional garden is the first thing most people think of when they think of growing food. A traditional in-ground or raised bed garden is the most popular and widely used method of growing your own food. Some people plant in traditional rows, while others take a more free-form approach to planting, intermingling plants, and using companion planting to control pests and weeds.
Many traditional gardeners use chemicals and pesticides to keep their gardens pest-free, but this can cause damage to the natural ecosystem, and may even make your pest problem worse over time, which is why we opt for organic soil-building methods and sustainable methods of natural pest control.
There are many different ways to grow a traditional garden, which is one of the reasons why it is so much fun! However, if you don’t have space or time to grow a traditional garden, there are plenty of other ways to grow your own food…
1. Container Garden
A container garden is a great solution if you’re going to be growing garden indoors, or simply don’t have space for a traditional garden bed. Container gardening allows you to grow nearly all of the same veggies as you could in a traditional garden, with the only limitation being the size of the container. Container gardening is a great way to grow food if you live in an apartment or other situation where you don’t have access to a garden area.
2. Vertical Garden
Vertical gardens are another attractive option for those who are short on space. Wall-mounted garden beds allow you to grow upwards instead of horizontally. You can also grow a vertical garden in a traditional garden bed by using trellises or poles and growing naturally vining plants such as cucumbers and beans that will climb the supports instead of sprawling out on the ground and taking up valuable real estate. This is another great way to grow more in a small space if you have limited garden space. It can also help to reduce disease by keeping your plants up off the ground and promoting good airflow.
3. Indoor Garden
Another option for those who don’t have space for a traditional garden is an indoor garden. These are also great for those who want to grow food year-round, as your garden season doesn’t have to depend on the weather outside! Indoor garden kits usually contain a few planters and a built-in LED grow light, allowing you to grow veggies even in low light conditions. However, many of these systems are tailored to microgreens and herbs. If you want a bigger set-up for larger plants, try growing in regular containers and purchasing LED grow lights separately.
Hydroponics is a unique method of growing food that uses water instead of soil. Plants are grown in a bed of clay pellets, pebbles, or another filler. A nearby tank with a pump delivers water and nutrients to the plants. Hydroponics setups are usually fairly large, although there are smaller beginner kits out there, as well.
Aquaponics is just like hydroponics, but with fish added! There are many ways to garden with aquaponics – from small kits to larger set-ups. Some people simply keep the fish to provide nutrients to the plants, and others also use the fish as another food source. Using a system similar to a traditional hydroponic rig, aquaponics kits feature a tank large enough for at least one fish to live in. The waste produced by the fish is then pumped to the root system of the plant, providing natural food for the plants.
6. Fruit Trees
Fruit trees are a great way to add some more edible options to a backyard, as well as to add variety and visual interest to your garden. Apple trees are a great option that is fairly easy to grow. Cherry trees, pear trees, and peach trees are other good options. If you are short on space, raspberry and blueberry bushes can provide delicious and healthy fruit without taking up as much room as a tree, and they may even be grown in containers.
As you can see, there are almost as many different ways to grow your own food as there are reasons to do it! Which method is right for you? That’s up to you and your available space, climate, and living situation. The bottom line to keep in mind is that no matter where you live or how much garden space you have, it is possible to grow nutritious, delicious, fresh fruits and veggies. Regardless of the method you choose, gardening is a fun and satisfying way to provide your family with healthy homegrown food.