by Bethany Hayes
When you start gardening for the first time, you’ll find different kinds of gardening methods, and you might become confused by all the different terms used. Gardening lingo feels like speaking a foreign language at times, but if you want to find the right kind of gardening for you, you have to learn all of the options.
Are you confused?
When I first started a garden, I had no idea there were different kinds of gardening methods. I grew up with my parents have a huge in-ground garden where they grew tons of green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes. My grandma had raised beds and an HGTV-worthy flower garden in her backyard.
That’s what I imagined when I thought of gardening. I had no idea that gardening isn’t all the same. As I grew in my gardening skills and knowledge, I discovered that many different kinds of gardening methods are available to try.
Here is an introduction to gardening methods and techniques that you need to know.
22 Different Kinds of Gardening Methods You Can Choose to Grow With
Aquaponics is a gardening method that is when you grow plants in a liquid medium where fish live. It uses some ideas of hydroponics because the fish create living fertilizers. You also can farm the fish that grow in your aquaponics garden.
Aquaponics breaks down the fish waste, turning the nitrates into food for the plants. It also conserves a lot of water since your plants grow in water. However, it’s expensive and needs a lot of space.
2. Back to Eden Gardening
Back to Eden gardening is another popular gardening method. This method is when you place 4-6 inches of wood chips over the soil, covering the ground for protection purposes. At the same time, the wood chips retain moisture and suppress weeds. As the wood chips decompose, they add nutrients to the soil over time.
While this method is also, planting seeds is a challenge because the wood chips make it harder for seeds to sprout. Moving the chips is frustrating!
3. Biodynamic Gardening
Biodynamic gardening is similar to organic gardening because it doesn’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, but the difference is that this focuses on building up a larger ecosystem. Gardeners concentrateon working with the natural rhythm of nature rather than working against it.
Many biodynamic gardeners use ancient techniques, and one of the fundamental concerns of this gardening method is the health of the soil. Composting is a huge part of biodynamic gardening!
4. Companion Planting
Companion planting is more a technique that gardeners use than an entire method, but it’s something all gardeners should know.
This is when gardeners plant different crops together to encourage growth. Some plants repel or attract insects, so you might grow herbs that repel pests that bother a specific crop often.
For example, planting basil and borage with your tomato plants encourages vigorous growth along with a decrease in diseases.
5. Container Gardening
Just because you don’t have space for a garden doesn’t mean that you can’t have a garden. Container gardening is the solution!
Growing plants in containers is a great way to maximize space, increase productivity, and have the garden you genuinely want. It works great for balconies and patios. The only downside is that container-grown plants need to be watered more often.
Some people worry that buying containers cost too much money, but being creative reduces the cost. Anything can be a planter like a bucket. Container gardening works great for many plants like tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce.
6. Conventional Gardening
Most people use conventional gardening. This is when you use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in varying amounts.
7. Core Gardening
Core gardening is growing in popularity among gardeners. It’s a gardening method adapted from the people of the sub-Sahara desert region, helping the soil hold onto water like a sponge for weeks. It dramatically reduces how much you need to water, amends the soil quickly, and increases drainage.
Core gardening seems a bit crazy at first, but the concept works. If you hate watering your garden, it helps make life a bit easier.
The basic idea is that you dig a trench in the middle of your garden bed and fill it with organic materials and straw. Then, you “charge your core”, filling it with water, and it acts like a giant sponge.
8. Hugelkultur Gardening
If you have a lot of scrap wood and natural materials on your property available for gardening, hugelkultur gardening might be for you. You create a pile of large wood and other organic materials that will compost. Everything goes into a trench that you dig into the ground.
Then, you cover this pile with dirt, creating a big dirt mound that acts like a sponge to hold water. The materials break down over time, adding nutrients to feed your crops.
9. Hydroponics Gardening
Many people find hydroponics an exciting gardening method that is a soil-less garden. It roots plants in continuously circulating liquid fertilizer. Gardeners need to use water-soluble nutrients for fast growth.
The nice thing about hydroponics is that you can grow plants indoors or outdoors. It’s one of the fastest ways to grow plants because the crops have all the nutrients available, but it’s expensive and needs synthetic fertilizers.
10. In-Ground Gardening
In-ground gardening is directly what it sounds like; you grow your plants right in the ground. It’s cost-effective, easy to start, and easy for beginners, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have disadvantages.
Having an in-ground garden is what most people imagine when they picture having a vegetable garden. I grew up with a huge in-ground garden bed with over 100 green bean plants and dozens of tomato plants, but what stands out most in my mind is all the weeding that my mother made me do as chores.
11. Keyhole Gardening
Keyhole gardening is a garden that is a circular raised bed with a path into the circle on one side. There is a compost pile in the center in a circle of wire mesh that runs the entire depth of the garden bed. Gardeners water the compost pile, sending moisture and nutrients throughout the whole garden bed.
12. Lasagna Gardening
Lasagna gardening is one of the most popular gardening methods. It involves creating a “lasagna” in your garden with layers of compostable materials with dirt on the top of the garden. Many people prefer to use this method for gardens where the weeds are nuts, or when they don’t want to remove the grass from their gardening bed.
Lasagna gardening is a form of no dig gardening because you won’t dig into the dirt to get started. You have layers of compost with green and brown materials; the lasagna needs to be 2-feet deep because it compacts over time.
13. Mittlieder Method
Like an apartment, the mittlieder gardening method uses both soil-based and hydroponics for those with small space gardens. Many gardeners combine this method with vertical gardening to grow more in a small space.
14. No Dig Gardening
No dig, or no-till, gardening is similar to lasagna gardening. You lay all of the nutrients on top of the ground. This gardening method starts with cardboard or newspapers to block weeds and grass from growing upward. Then, you add compost and other organic materials.
Wood chips are placed at the top of the gardening, but some gardeners use compost as a mulch. Whatever you use for the top layer of mulch needs to break down and add nutrients to the soil. It should suppress weeds as well.
No-till gardening has several benefits like little to no weeding required and added nutrients from the mulch. However, you have to add more wood chips (or whatever you select) throughout the growing season.
15. Organic Gardening
Organic gardening is one of the most popular gardening methods. It means that gardeners grow plants without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. This method focuses on developing a large ecosystem.
Organic gardeners focus on finding ways to improve the health of the soil and plants, support the microorganisms and beneficial insects that grow and live in your garden. Gardeners focus on using compost, cover crops, and crop rotation.
Permaculture is one of those gardening methods that people seem to find confusing. It’s typically done with perennial and native plants, like berries and fruit trees, but that’s not the only way to use permaculture.
The goal of permaculture is to create a self-sustainable system; some call it a food forest. Permaculture gardening avoids things like tilling, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. Instead, it focuses on building an ecosystem of plants, soil, and insects that work together to keep a healthy garden.
17. Square Foot Gardening
Square foot gardening is one of the best gardening methods for those with small space gardens. This method marks off space in your garden beds in square-foot increments. It grows plants closer together to maximize space and how much you can grow in a small area.
At the same time, square foot gardening is known for decreasing the need for weeding. It’s a great method to tie in with succession planting.
18. Straw Bale Gardening
Instead of growing your plants directly into the ground, your garden is on top of straw bales. You have to use straw bales that have been conditioned to allow the breakdown process to happen. Gardeners like to combine straw bale gardening with raised garden beds because it gives you a way to build up your beds.
Using straw bales does seem strange to some people, and they dry out fast. The hardest part is finding straw bales that aren’t sprayed with weed killer because it’ll reduce plant growth.
19. Succession Planting
Another gardening technique that you might try in your garden is succession planting. This is when you plant your crops in waves or an order. Succession planting makes harvesting a particular vegetable easier throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
It’s best to use succession planting for crops like:
- Green Beans
Typically, succession planting uses crops that have short maturity dates. It won’t work for crops like tomato or pepper plants.
20. Raised Bed Gardening
Everyone recognizes raised bed gardening. This is when gardeners create garden beds from wood, timber, bricks, or mounds, pushing the soil higher than the ground. It has many advantages, and people love using raised bed gardens.
Using raised beds allows for better drainage and makes it easier to suppress weeds. You have the ultimate control over your soil quality and reduces soil compaction, making it easier for plants to thrive and grow.
The downside is that building and filling raised beds is expensive. Also, since the soil is set up higher, the beds need to be watered more frequently.
21. Ruth Stout Gardening
Ruth Stout gardening is another great option because it reduces your garden labor, feeds the plants, and conserves moisture. The basic idea behind this gardening method is to keep a thick layer of hay mulch permanently over the soil.
You can use this method in raised beds or in-ground gardens. Gardeners spread 6-8 inches of hay over the garden; it will compact over time. Doing this suppresses weed growth and conserves moisture, so you have to water less often.
22. Vertical Gardening
One of the best gardening methods for those with little space is vertical gardening. Almost anyone can garden using this method. It gives city-dwelling gardeners a way to enjoy fresh food on balconies and patios.
Vertical gardening looks lovely as well, especially when you’re creative. Plants grow up dozens of different structures, and it works practically anywhere. The only downside is that you cannot grow all plants because some crops are too heavy or don’t vine upward.
Did you know there were so many different kinds of gardening methods? You have so many different options to try in your garden this year, so try some different and see what happens in your garden. Experimenting in your garden is enjoyable for all, but now you know all of the terms to help you while you grow in your gardening knowledge.