Home gardening method - growing tomatoes on window sill.

Top Alternative Home Gardening Methods

Home gardening method - growing tomatoes on window sill.

Whether you live in a high-rise apartment with a little balcony or a two-acre working farm, there are home gardening methods that anyone can use to grow some amount of their own food.

These methods could work even if you only want to use one to grow indoor decorative plants. If one way doesn’t work for you, there are others that will.

Today’s Gardening Needs

We are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The whole world, it seems, has shut down so we can halt the spread of a virus for which most of us do not yet have immunity. It understandably has a lot of people feeling shaken and not too sure of the future.

If you are starting to think about gardening for food for the first time, it probably feels overwhelming. Also, traditional methods won’t work in the space most people have available.

However, that is actually great news! Gardening methods we think of as conventional end up wasting water and adding more chemicals to the earth than necessary.

Many, if not all, of the methods on this list, are self-sustaining to one degree or another. Some harken back to a time before industrialized farming, and some are new and awesome. Many of them are space-conscious.

Many of them can help you garden in poor soil and improve the dirt while you are at it.

So, dig in. I hope you find something that piques your interest!

Different Home Gardening Methods

Permaculture gardening

Actionable Gardening Methods – Starters

As much as you might romanticize a gorgeous permaculture heaven, a food forest, or a potager garden right outside your back door, those things take time.

Both methods also take a significant initial investment in resources. Maybe you have that time and those resources right now. If so, have at it!

However, if you are looking for ways to start growing food or improve on past experiences, here are your top four ways to get started:

Container gardening - tomatoes

Container Gardening

You might think you know what container gardening is (or should be) all about. Find a pot, fill with soil, plant seeds, right? Yes! And so much more.

Vertical Gardening

Another take on container gardening, this one takes advantage of all vertical space you might have with several different ideas and methods. Walls, windows, doors, and fences will become your best friends.

Bonus: your brick wall acts as a free greenhouse.

Hanging Gardens

Hanging pots aren’t just for flowers anymore. Many types of plants would do well in a hanging pot, either in or out of the sun. You can even grow some of the more finicky plants – like tomatoes – upside-down!

Window Box Gardening

Ever think of grabbing a fresh strawberry or handful of basil right out your kitchen window? Window boxes can not only dress up your house and add beautiful greenery and style, but they can provide some serious space for crops.

Get a Higher Yield in a Smaller Space

Raised beds gardening

Let’s say you have some yard to use. It might not be much, but you have reasonable sunlight and space to plant in the ground.

How do you get started? Get a tiller? Dig up your soil with a shovel?

If you are like me, that sounds like a deal-breaker (more like back-breaker). It also makes for a ton of weeds, it erodes the soil, and it’s an inefficient use of your labor.

Try one or more of these methods instead:

Square Foot Gardens

Do you have just one square foot outside to spare? It’s incredible how much food you can grow in that small space with the right planning. This method will introduce you to the idea of succession sowing, and if you utilize other ways as well – like vertical gardening – you can grow things you might not have imagined could fit in such a small space.

Raised Beds

Get rid of pests, weeding, and soil problems in one solution. Raised beds are cheap and easy to build, and they work well for most urban and suburban backyards.

No-till Gardening

The idea that gardening is the back-breaking work it was for pioneers is outdated. You can outsmart the weeds and have more fertile soil and a better outcome than ever before.

Lasagna Garden

No, it’s not a garden full of veggies to put in a lasagna (as delicious as that sounds).

A lasagna garden is a self-composting garden method that you can start right now, any time of year, and use to plant your summer crops.

Adjust as needed, and you have happy, healthy, weed-free soil for many years to come.

Straw Bale Method

What if you don’t have dirt or your soil quality is poor? Can you believe you can get a garden started quickly with just some straw bales and composting materials?

This fascinating method, like the lasagna method above, is self-composting. Your plants will love it.

Keyhole Garden

A keyhole garden is a more comfortable raised bed garden. It’s a raised bed shaped like a “U” so you can step right in and garden without bending or twisting. No more aching knees and lower back! Plus, it’s pest-free.

Turning Your Yard Into a Food Forest

potager garden - Deep Root Aeration Tubes | Rootwell

Some of you out there have done the gardening thing for many years, and you are ready to take the next step (or plunge).

Whether it’s expanding what you already use or adding a new method to up your production, there are some inspiring ideas in this list.

Permaculture Gardening

Permaculture is more a way of life than a garden, but once you get it set, you can sit back and enjoy without much work at all. It’s the perfect way to incorporate animals into a symbiotic relationship with your growing plants.

To learn more, please see The Wacky, Wonderful World of Permaculture Gardening.

Potager Gardening

A potager garden is a French-style kitchen garden uses all available space for whatever is edible and lovely, all mixed up together. For more, please see How to Create Your Own Potager Garden Oasis.

Aquaponics Gardening

Not to be confused with hydroponics, aquaponics gardening is a sort of permaculture of water gardening.

Do you like fish? Do you want to raise fish and garden at the same time, in the same space? Did you even believe this was possible? It is!


Hydroponics gardening can be used inside houses and buildings – wherever you have access to water and grow lights.

What is great about this method is you can control the environment inside and eliminate the problem of pests and other ecological disasters to your crops.


Pronounced “hoogleculture,” this German self-composting method uses sticks as the basis for the compost material.

It’s great for if you have a lot of twigs lying around that you have to pick up anyway.

Bringing it Home

There are many exciting ways to grow plants but so little time to try them all. I hope one or more of these alternative gardening methods inspires you to try something new this year.

Your Turn

Have you tried any of these methods? Please tell us about it in the comment section below.



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