There isn’t a healthy plan out there that doesn’t include making vegetables a part of your diet. The quickest way to achieve that goal is with the proverbial “side salad.” If that is part of at least one meal a day, then you’ll be ahead of the game. One of the best ways to insure you have fresh veggies as part of your dinner is to be able to pick them from your own backyard. Yes, that means you’ll be setting up a vegetable garden. The good news is that you don’t automatically need a plot of rich soil to get your garden growing. You might be surprised to find that alternate vegetable gardens are a great way to add veggies to your diet. As an added bonus, you get to cut back on your grocery bills, too! Here’s how to get your veggie garden growing:

Container Gardening

Of all the alternative gardening methods, container gardens are probably the easiest to pull off and they don’t require a lot of space. In fact, if you have a porch or balcony that gets sunlight, you can find a perfect container to fit that space. The key is to make sure your container has drainage holes on the bottom. It might help to place the container on some bricks before filling it with dirt. This will allow the water to seep out without damaging the surface. Next, fill the container with nutrient rich soil, plant some seeds and you’re good to go. Just make sure you don’t crowd too much into a single container. Your plants need elbow room.

Straw Bale Gardening

This is a unique approach to gardening. You get a bale of hay. Put it on the ground. Plant some seeds in there and watch it grow. This is great for a concrete backyard or driveway. The trick is to make sure your hale bale is properly prepared. To condition your hay, you’ll want to drench it with lukewarm water and infuse it with high nitrogen fertilizer. This will actually trigger the interior decomposing that will help feed your plants. Do this for 12 days and your bale will be good to go. Of course, you might be able to find a nursery or gardening store that has pre-treated bales. That’s even better!

Hydroponic Gardening

This is gardening without dirt. Really? Yes, it can happen. The emphasis is on the hydro part of things. You need to set up a system where in your plants will be suspended in the air and then you water the roots with special nutrient rich water. This is also referred to as vertical gardening. Hydroponics are a bit more labor intensive when it comes to the set up. As with other alternative gardening methods, you can get a hydroponic kit instead of messing with a DIY version. Still, to be able to claim you grew veggies without soil is something to crow about.