I know it’s cold outside, and there are probably some shiny holiday decorations still hanging around the house, but spring isn’t too far away. It’s time to start thinking and planning for your garden. There has been resurgence in home gardening over the past couple of years. People are choosing to garden for various reasons including adding fresh, healthy foods to their diets, getting in touch with the locavore movement, and saving money as food prices soar.

We’ll be talking a lot about planning, planting and caring for a garden around here. I’ll be sharing with you what I’ve learned, what I’m still learning, and even the mistakes I make.

Today, I want to start talking about alternatives to the traditional backyard plot. I know not everyone has a backyard to dig up or the time to take care of a traditional garden. That’s okay. If you want to plant something, there are lots of alternatives.

Container gardening – Houseplants aren’t the only thing that can go into pots. Edible plants can be planted in containers like large flowerpots or half barrels. If you’ve got a sunny balcony, you can plant a couple of tomato plants, a pepper plant or two, and some herbs in pots that will allow you to create many fresh dishes all season long.

Window or deck boxes – There are many things you can grow in a window box. Herbs are common, but lettuces, radishes, or anything that doesn’t reach an unreasonable height can be grown right outside your window. If you need a little parsley for dinner, you can open the window and snip some off easily.

Gutters – Not the ones on top of your house, of course, but lengths of gutter can be used to hold your soil and some plants. Gardeners’ World has a how-to post showing you how to easily plant lettuces in gutters. I’m sure they could use for other vegetables and herbs.

Old charcoal grills – Someone I know took her old charcoal grill that was no longer usable and used it to plant lettuces in the early spring. It was easy to move around to catch the sun, and if there was an unexpected call for frost, all she had to do was put the cover on.  I’ve had my eye on the curbs on trash day to find my own charcoal grill/planter every since she told me about this brilliant idea.

The front yard – Vegetable gardeners have started to get all crazy with where they plant, and front yard gardening is hip right now. If you don’t have a large backyard or your backyard gets no sun, plant in the front. You can learn more about front yard gardening from MNN’s Farmer D.

If you don’t have the ability to create a traditional backyard garden, think about which of these methods might work for you. Then start planning because the warm weather will be upon us quickly. 

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