|Gardening is an activity, the art and craft of growing plants,
most often in and about one's residence, in a space referred to as a garden.
A garden which is in close proximity to one's residence is also known as
a residential garden.
Although the garden typically is located on the surface areas within, surrounding or adjacent to the residence, it may also be located in less traditional areas such as on the roof, in an atrium, on the balcony, in windowboxes or on the patio.
"Indoor gardening" is concerned with the growing of household plants within the residence, in a conservatory or a greenhouse. The plants grown in a conservatory or greenhouse may or may not require more exacting care and conditions than ordinary household plants. Indoor gardens are sometimes incorporated as part of air conditioning or heating systems.
"Water gardening" is concerned with the growing of plants suitable for pools and ponds. Bog gardens are also considered a type of water garden. These require special conditions and considerations.
Gardening also takes place in non-residential green areas, such as parks, public or semi-public gardens such as botanical gardens or zoological gardens, amusement and theme parks, along transportation corridors and around tourist attractions.
Gardening vs. farming
In respect to its food producing purpose, gardening is distinguished from farming chiefly by scale and intent. Farming occurs on a larger scale, and with the production of saleable goods as a major motivation. Gardening is done on a smaller scale, primarily for pleasure and to produce goods for the gardener's own family or community. There is some overlap between the terms, particularly in that some moderate sized vegetable growing concerns can fit in either category.
The key distinction between fruit and vegetable gardening and farming is essentially one of scale: gardening can be a hobby or an income supplement, but farming is generally understood as a full-time or commercial activity, usually involving more land and quite different practices. One distinction is that gardening is labor-intensive and employs very little infrastructural capital, typically no more than a few tools, e.g. a spade, hoe, basket and watering can. By contrast, larger-scale farming often involves irrigation systems, chemical fertilizers and harvesters or at least ladders, e.g. to reach up into fruit trees. However, this distinction is becoming blurred with the increasing use of power tools in even small gardens.
In part because of labor intensity and aesthetic motivations, gardening is very often much more productive per unit of land than farming. In the Soviet Union, half the food supply came from small peasants' garden plots on the huge government-run collective farms, although they were tiny patches of land. Some argue this as evidence of superiority of capitalism, since the peasants were generally able to sell their produce. Others consider it to be evidence of a tragedy of the commons, since the large collective plots were often neglected, or fertilizers or water redirected to the private gardens.
The term precision agriculture is sometimes used to describe such economically viable forms of gardening using intermediate technology (more than tools, less than harvesters), especially of organic varieties. Gardening is effectively scaled up to feed entire villages of over 100 people from specialized plots. A variant is the community garden which offers plots to urban dwellers; see further in allotment (gardening).