Updated: Aug 4, 2021
DIFFERENT WAYS TO GROW FOOD
Growing food at home can be done in a variety of ways. Growing your own food is a positive and enjoyable way to have a healthier and more natural lifestyle. You'll be able to eat more organic and fresh fruits and veggies while saving money at the supermarket. You can make your own garden in a variety of ways. It will be determined by the amount of space you have to work with, the amount of natural sunlight you have in your home, and the types of vegetables you want to grow and eat. Here are 5 of the most popular gardens you can start.
Conventional gardening is the polar opposite of organic gardening. Instead of using chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers, or genetically modified seeds, organic gardeners employ organic pesticides, fertilisers, and non-GMO seeds. Seeds that have not been genetically modified are known as non-GMO seeds. Vinegar is one of the most basic organic herbicides. Vinegar, especially concentrated vinegar, is an excellent weed killer. Compost is an example of an organic fertiliser, which is basically food scraps and brown material such as cardboard thrown into a pile and allowed to decay into nutrient-rich soil. You won't have to worry about possibly dangerous chemicals in or on your food if you use this method.
Your compost pile and garden are combined in lasagna gardening. On this method, you make a lasagna pattern in your garden by layering brown (cardboard) and green (kitchen scraps or leaves). Everything is placed directly on top of any existing weeds or compacted ground in your garden. Brown material should be around twice as much as green material. If you set out your waste in this manner a few weeks before planting, everything should breakdown into compost. Now is the time to sow your seedlings in the compost. This strategy avoids the need to clean up an old garden that may have been neglected during the winter, as well as the requirement to till the soil.
COLD FRAME OR GREENHOUSE
A greenhouse can be as basic as a plastic frame around your garden, but some of the more intricate greenhouses are built of glass and include a secondary heat source to keep the plants warm at night. A cold frame is a glass lid that sits on top of your elevated bed. Both are designed to allow sunlight in while retaining the heat inside. These techniques allow you to produce plants that would not typically thrive in the winter.
Is there a trellis in your garden? If so, you're already familiar with this technique. Plants grow out, to the side, or along the ground in most gardening systems. Growing up involves going vertical. Some plants, such as trees, naturally grow upwards. Watermelon and pumpkin plants, for example, might be coaxed to grow up or climb a trellis because they naturally grow along the ground. This strategy has the advantage of saving horizontal space, allowing you to plant more.
SQUARE FOOT GARDENING
Square foot gardening is a type of gardening that makes use of raised beds, which are elevated areas with convenient access. A wooden grid frequently covers the top of the raised bed, dividing it into one-square-foot sections. The concept is that by spacing your plants closer together, you may optimise the amount of space available in your garden. You can grow anywhere from one (for plants grown like watermelon) to sixteen (for smaller herbs) plants in one square foot, depending on the variety. Another advantage of a square foot garden is that it may be customised in a variety of ways.
I only covered the fundamentals of each of these strategies, so you may want to conduct some extra research before deciding which one is best for your garden.
First off we have hydroponics (indoor/outdoor) Whether we are talking about small scale kitchen counter herb gardens or take up your whole basement to grow a farm, we got you covered! Now there are a few varieties available but it comes down to the basics of what you want to grow. Once you've figured that out you can assume which set up you need from this list right here!
Step 1: Assemble the Hydroponic System.
Step 2: Mix the Nutrients and Water in the Tank.
Step 3: Add Plants to the Growing Tubes.
Step 4: Tie trailing or support Plants to the Trellis.
Step 5: Turn on the Pump and Monitor the System Daily.
Step 6: Monitor Plant Growth.
Step 7: Inspect for Pests and Diseases
Large Scale: Whether we are talking about a farm size hydro system or just large for your basement, this is the same idea as large hydro systems go. Below is a segment of 5 gallon buckets. The segments can be connected to make as many segments as you can fit in your space. They are filled with a hydro-rock/ foam that makes a great substrate for the root system. Usually this substance is made of clay but comes in a variety of materials. Thats right, no soil here! IF planting inside, proper lighting will be needed.
When it comes to hydroponics, it's all about sending a constant flow of water current through the system to keep the moisture at an optimal level. It takes the initial set up but once that is done, there is relatively little maintenance on the upkeep. Introducing ph concentrates and nutrients to keep the water at bay will help the specific plants you decide on to achieve optimal growth.
Benefits: This system allows you to grow virtually anything including trees all the way down to the tiniest of plants such as herbs. So yes on the fruit trees! The only thing that does not work as far as I know is anything that grows under the soil such as carrots potatoes or root bearing veggies.
This product below, with the buckets, includes an air pump and air stone with bucket for water basin. Keep in mind the systems with white PVC-piping, hydroponic set ups do not come with your water basin or air pump. So make sure to grab those separately. (links below)
Medium Scale: This is a great way to start your hydroponic system for veggies, herbs and some fruits such as tomatoes peppers and anything growing off of a small sized bush.
Benefits: With saving space, this vertical grower is awesome for those who want to get prepping but don't have more than a 4’x4' area. Any system you choose will require a water basin to hold the majority of liquid. This is where you will mix your nutrients and ph stabilizer into the water. With this system you will need seeds and cups that fit within the open holes. Water basin and pump is more or less up to you with the space you have left. If you can get a large trashcan made of plastic, that does just as well as any water basin. Getting a good pump on the other hand is crucial because that will be how the whole system functions and you will need to make sure that piece of the pie is not where are you “cheaping” out.
Small Scale: For your kitchen counter top conveniently close to cooking, this small scale hydro system is great for mainly herbs and small lettuce varieties!
Benefits: Loved by many families, this small hydro system is highly functional due to its automated nature. You buy the system, drop the seed pellets in the holes, add nutrient fluid/food when it tells you and water when it tells you. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Only downfall here is not being able to grow anything substantial as veggies goes.
If you’re setting up your own system from scratch like the buckets or the PVC piping options above, you will need to purchase a pump, water basin, pH stabilizer and nutrient liquids.
In case you are looking for a back up system for power outages or grid-loss.. here is a great solar power option for a back up system to run your pump!
These insert cups help to keep the roots from falling into the pipes so they are necessary for the pvc piping hydro system.
For specifics on hydroponics and solution specifications, I suggest picking up this book
Secondly we have aquaponics (indoor/outdoor)
Step One: Put Your Fish Tank Together.
Step Two: Build Your Media Bed.
Step Three: Add the Fish.
Step Four: Add the Plants.
Step Five: Maintain Your System.
Benefits: Do you love keeping fish and want a lower maintenance system than hydroponics? This may be a more appealing option for your system. The only caveat is the learning curve is a bit more extensive. Instead of the contrast of adding the vitamins, minerals and over all food for the hydroponic plant, the fish produce the food for you!
On the other side of the coin, keeping fish alive is your maintenance and testing the water for ammonia levels is crucial. The happy balance of too much waste in your system and not enough is where the learning curve comes in. This is a more sustainable option once mastered! Think of it this way.. the water the fish live in circulates through the system feeding your plants. When you get your levels balanced and keep them as such, the pump feeds the water through the tank to the plants and back into the tank. This system is the most sustainable option with a beauty to it using nature at its best!!
For more on aquaponic set ups and details, I highly recommend doing your reading before buying the fish!
These next three products are an all in one system so you don't need to buy the individual products to make the aquaponics system (next two below)
Grab this for either your fish tank or just your hydroponic water tank. This is where you are going to submerge your pump!
Next we have container gardening (indoor/outdoor)
pour soil into containers
plant seeds/ plants
water every other day except when raining
maintain pest and disease control
Personally, I’ve had much success with small scale container gardening. It seems like a lot of what type of gardening we choose is based on what we’re growing. If you’re like me and didn't have much to start off with, container gardening is the perfect place to start.
Currently, my kids are growing carrots, tomatoes, roses, dill, mint and rosemary. Yes they are doing this on their own because it is that easy! I am partial to a Natural Organic potting mix but the brands have varied over the years so I’m not too picky as long as they have potting mix made from organic matter and compost. I will include links below to some of my favorite products.
Personally, I don’t believe when you get started you need to purchase every single tool in a gardener's shed. I believe a small gardening hand shovel is more than sufficient to get yourself started.
Great products!!! My favorite tool in the garden for dead heading!
Fiskers has a great reputation for their soft grips and sharp blades, very reliable!
Grab some seeds from a reputable grower that provides organic, non-GMO products.
We have properly fit six different types of herbs in one pot so they grow together quite well.
In our next pot we have a variety of rainbow heirloom carrots growing together. Now I mentioned before that my children are growing these on their own and by that I mean 100% on their own. I guided them to drop the carrot seeds directly into the crevices outlined by myself and watched them water the carrots 3-4 times a week when it didn't rain. Once the seedlings grew after about a week, we plucked out half of them to space them out in bunches every 2-3 inches to give proper spacing from one cluster to the next. I helped show my kids how easy this was so there is no excuse for anyone to learn easy container growing.
Not only did the kids grow the plants on their own, but once the veg is ready to harvest, that amount of joy, you can’t put a price on!
planning your beds require somewhat of a flat surface so figure out your space first (think 6-8 hours of direct sun exposure)
purchase plans for diy or a kit with easy assembly & assemble (I recommend kits) helpful tip: Lowes has a great corner piece that aligns 2x4" lumber wood planks to just slide right in, no nails or screws needed!
dump planting dirt with high compost or organic matter present & level
sow your seeds/ starter plants and use support structures or trellis' for trailing & vertical growing
maintain pests and disease
water every other day other than rainy days
Also, we have your raised beds including the sub category vertical growing (aka Mittlieder Method) (outdoors only)
Benefits: This option provides vast growing methods, more varieties available to grow and you make make it as small or large as you want. The raised bed method is by far the best if you're going for the 'grow your own food' method. This utilizes natural rainfall plus manual watering and would require an area with 6-8 hours of direct sun for most varieties. You can make these raised bed in so many ways but my favorite is the quick get up a go type, affordable and simple. Links below for a quick and easy raised bed without hiring a construction worker or handyman!
$27.27 Now this product quantity is based on your plan, how many turns and levels high ect. So think that through before you purchase. This represents one corner two levels high fyi! Go grab your lumber locally.
Moreover, there's greenhouses for growing outdoors (inside structure outdoors)
This mode of gardening requires a level foundation so if you need a handy man to help you out on that part I recommend that!
Follow assembly based on product of your chosing & assemble
Garden inside your greenhouse with your choice of raised beds, pots/ containers, hydroponics or aquaponics.
Benefits: natural sunlight, natural heat-cooling effect, protection from most pests and airborne diseases, natural greenhouse effect gives a high heat/ high moisture attribute that highly benefits the root system claiming a delicate yet strong growing system.
For more in depth how to's.. grab this book for greenhouse specifics