10 Alternative and Affordable Ways To Garden When You Don't Have a Backyard

How to Garden Even If You Have No Backyard

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How to Garden Even If You Have No Backyard
Cheapism; tashka2000/istockphoto; FangXiaNuo/istockphoto; NNehring/istockphoto

Get Your Thumbs Green

FOMFP: the Fear of Missing Fresh Produce. Everyone keeps talking about their gardens, showing off their green thumbs. The farmers market is getting expensive and is just a reminder that you don't have the means to grow your own goodies. We're here to tell you that you don't need a backyard to have a garden, dagnabbit. There are plenty of innovative and creative ways to get your thumbs green (without spending too much green) in smaller spaces. Here are some of our favorite ideas. 

Related: ChipDrop Delivers Free Mulch to Your Yard

Fresh herbs in pot

1. Grow Herbs on the Countertop

Don't waste your money on herbs at the grocery store every time you need them. Grow any herbs that you use regularly (cilantro, parsley, basil, etc.) right on your kitchen countertop. You can grab some aesthetically pleasing pots to go with the motif in the room and label them accordingly. If you have a roomy windowsill in your kitchen, you can place your herb pots there for maximized sunlight. 

Related: 22 Tips to Keep Gardening Dirt Cheap

Tomato sprouts in ceramic pots near the house

2. Put Planters on the Deck

There are plenty of vegetables that grow well in pots, from peppers and tomatoes to green beans and broccoli. If you have a patio or deck, plant your favorite vegetables in pots — you won't even have to worry about pulling weeds as you would if you had planted them in a traditional garden.

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Fabric pot with soil and tomato plant with some empty fabric pots near. The porous fabric ensures sufficient aeration and oxygen supply for the substrate and the roots.
for personal or commercial purposes/istockphoto

3. Use Grow Bags

Grow bags offer similar benefits to using pots, except they weigh less. Being lighter means that grow bags are easier to move around, which is often necessary for optimal gardening success. Even if you don't have an outdoor space to put these, you can use them inside in an area with plenty of natural sunlight. 

Related: 6 Cheap Raised Garden Bed Ideas

yard long cucumber, Cucumis melo var flexuosus, growing on wooden fence

4. Create a Cucumber Trellis

Trellises are the ultimate hack for growing cucumbers — a plant with leaves that spread and can be daunting to search beneath during harvests. Plus, if your cukes are climbing a trellis, you can save on space, and you won't even need the ground to grow them.

strawberries growing in a laundry hamper
Cheapism / Bing Image Creator

5. Use a Hamper for Strawberries

Like cucumbers, strawberries are spreaders, and planting them inside of a laundry hamper is extremely handy. Get one of the plastic laundry baskets that has holes along the sides so the berries can grow in the gaps. You can even plant some small flowers among the strawberries to give this makeshift planter a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Wooden pallet creative idea for making stylish garden hanging planter for herbs or vegetables. Wall mounted planter
Oksana Aksenova/istockphoto

6. Plant in Pallets

There are tons of ways to use pallets for gardening. Stand one up on its side and stick small pots into the slots, or lay the pallet down and add soil to the crevices, filling them in with plants. You can even have fun with it and decorate the pallets with paint and as an added bonus, these pallets are often free or dirt cheap and are pretty easy to find too.

cultivation in a bucket
Hasyim Hasyim/istockphoto

7. Grow in Buckets

If you don't have pots on hand, buckets are a safe bet for gardening. Make sure you drill holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage, and you can treat the bucket just as you would a pot, adding soil and plants.  

Urban balcony garden with chard, kangkung and other easy to grow vegetables
Vidu Gunaratna/istockphoto

8. Grow Hydroponically

Don't jump into this method blindly. Make sure you do your research first. That said, by growing plants in a nutrient-rich water solution, hydroponics allows you to cultivate a variety of vegetables, herbs, and even fruits indoors or on a small balcony or patio. This method not only conserves space but also uses up to 90% less water than traditional soil gardening, making it an eco-friendly choice. Start with a simple setup using readily available materials like PVC pipes, a small water pump, and LED grow lights, and you're good to go.

Vegetable and aromatic plntas on Balcony
Michel VIARD/istockphoto

9. Use Window Boxes

Window boxes look beautiful when planted with colorful flowers, but you can also use them to grow fruits and vegetables. These planters are the ultimate space saver, and you don't necessarily need to put them on a window either — you could put them on a ledge, table, or another surface too.

Multiracial group of young men and young women gather as volunteers to plant vegetables in community garden with mature woman project manager advice and teamwork

10. Join a Community Garden

If all else fails or you simply don't have the resources or room at home to plant a garden without a backyard, look into joining a community garden in your area. These shared spaces provide an opportunity for multiple people to grow whatever produce they want and share the fruits (pun intended) of their labor with one another.