Which Growing System Might be Right for You?

Over the last few days, I’ve touched upon the idea of aquaponics. And as you will be aware if you’re read my other posts, forest gardening is another idea I am passionate about. When it comes to a successful garden, one of the most important things to remember is that what works well for others might not be the best possible option for you.

Personally, I garden in two distinct but related ways. I have a lower-maintenance forest garden, and polyculture annual beds (outside and in a polytunnel) that are more intensively managed. I don’t have an aquaponics system – at least – not yet.

But what I want to talk about briefly in this post is how you might go about choosing the right type of growing system for you.

Firstly, of course, you need to think about where you live, and the conditions to be found there. Things to consider include:

  • The climate (and microclimate) in your garden.
  • Soil type and conditions.
  • How much space is available.

You also need to think about other limitations of your situation. One crucial one, for example, is how much time you have available to tend your garden. If you are looking for a low maintenance solution – forest gardening is a great choice. Our biggest ‘limitation’ is time. Which is why forest gardening and perennial planting are a big part of our strategy.

Optimal Growing Systems For Different Situations

Temperate ClimateArid/ Desert ClimateSub Tropical/Tropical Climate
Energy Restrictions(Or financial restrictions)Outside growing (forest garden/ polycultures)/ unheated greenhouse/ polytunnel growing.Careful land management to enable ‘re-greening’ of desert areas (forest garden)Outdoors forest gardening/ polycultures/ shade house growing/ polycultures under shade netting.
Water in Short SupplyAquaponics system/ drought-tolerant polycultures(Usually the main restricting factor in such climate zones.) Aquaponics system/ drought-tolerant polyculturesAquaponics system/ drought-tolerant polycultures during dry seasons.
Land Availability RestrictedIndoors growing/ vertical gardening/aquaponicsIndoors growing/ vertical gardening/aquaponicsIndoors growing/ vertical gardening/aquaponics
Human Time/ Labor in Short SupplyLow-maintenance forest garden/ perennial polyculturesNative watershed management & land restoration efforts initially, to create self-sustaining food producing system.Tropical forest garden -initial time and effort to establish, but ultimately low maintenance.

Thinking about which factors might potentially restrict growing efforts where you live and in your situation can often help develop the right strategies.

2 thoughts on “Which Growing System Might be Right for You?

  1. I do have a 600 sqm tropical microforest garden that has evolved through 20 yrs. The problem with the soil is calcium deficiency, not to speak of microbes that make my hands itchy. I have gathered eggshells to make into calcium fertilizer. Another problem is fungi that attack my jackfruit tree. For this, a lady has given me a sachet of anti-fungus organic fertilizer. I appreciate so much the article on the German technology of gardening without digging for it is what I need to apply here because my lot area is low. When it’s rainy season, water overflows. Thank you for connecting me to your website. Best

    Liked by 1 person

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