Understanding the Difference Between a Farmer and a Gardener

A farmer and gardener are often mistaken as one even though they are completely different professions. This is because they both get their hands dirty cultivating plants.

A farmer is a person who engages in plant cultivation and raising of livestock for consumption while a gardener is one who only cultivates plants. Plants cultivated by gardeners are often ornamental, that is, decorative. However, they may also include vegetables and fruits.

To get a deeper understanding of the difference between these two professions, we’ll look at farming and gardening in a broader sense.


Farming, commonly called agriculture, is the growing of crops and rearing of animals for consumption by people or raw materials used in the production of various items. Agriculture is often done on a much larger scale than gardening which is one of the major differentiating factors between the two.

Types of Farming

There are three notable types of farming. They include arable, pastoral, and mixed farming. They all have unique benefits, but mixed farming seems to be more appreciated by many people.

Arable Farming

This involves the growing of crops only. In this type of farming, no animals are involved as machines are used for heavy lifting and other farming activities like plowing of the soil.

Lands used in this practice have a gentle slope and are very fertile. Because large areas of land are used, machinery is often employed.

Arable farming is appealing to people because:

  • There are bigger yields since large areas of land are utilized.
  • The use of machinery makes it easier and faster.
  • Human and labor costs are reduced.
  • Plowing of land not only loosens it but also prevents erosion.

Pastoral Farming

Here, only animals are reared. Livestock is raised in large numbers for commercial use and consumption. Regions where this practice can be found include but are not limited to Central Asia, India, Sub-Saharan Africa, Andes, and North Africa.

People engage in pastoral farming because:

  • It can be done on both fertile and infertile lands.
  • Animals reared can be exported live to other countries yielding large profits for farmers.
  • Animals produce meat, egg, and milk that are always in demand.
  • Animal excreta can be sold as manure to crop farmers.

Mixed Farming

As its name suggests, it combines both arable and pastoral agriculture giving farmers that practice it the best of both worlds. Extremely large areas of lands are needed for this practice. However, creative farmers have found ways of maximizing smaller lands.

Many farmers engage in this practice for two major reasons.

  • Plants cultivated are used to feed animals reared and in turn, excreta from these animals are used to fertilize plants.
  • If crops do not yield as expected, farmers can fall back on money made from sales of animal products like meat, egg, and milk.


This is the practice of cultivating crops either for decoration or for consumption. Gardening is different from farming because it is limited to plant cultivation only and many people see it as an easy profession but ’Gardening with Confidence’ requires a deep understanding of plants and soil as is the case with agriculture.

Types of Gardens

Raised gardens

These gardens are made of boxes filled with fertile soil for planting. They are mostly for people in areas where lands are not fertile for planting. Although there are methods one can employ to make the soil fertile, however, some just cannot be redeemed. That is why this alternative is viable.

Vegetable gardens

They are grown specifically for vegetables. Aside from the aesthetic appeal of other types of gardens, vegetable gardens reward their keepers with actual food.

People with large backyards grow these gardens as a stable source of vegetable supplies. This makes it perhaps the most valuable of all garden types.

Although very rewarding, vegetable gardens may be very tedious to tend because unlike regular crops that are planted in other gardens, these ones require extra care and nurturing. Also, there is the risk of other animals like rodents sharing the proceeds with you.

Flower gardens

They are grown mainly for decorative purposes and may contain a few species of flowers or a multitude of them depending on the size of the land and the favorability of the region to certain flowers.

Herb gardens

These are cultivated for the purpose of producing medicinal plants. They are not so common because of the technological advances in modern medicine. However, people who still favor the old ways of treating illnesses grow them.

Indoor gardens

They are mostly cultivated by people who live in crowded cities that do not have much empty land or by people in places that have heavy snowfall. These gardens require indoor planting kits that could be expensive.

However, the contents of these kits make the price a good compromise. Indoor gardening kits contain planting guides for different crops which can make the growing process much easier.

Greenhouse gardens

They are advanced gardens and are usually attended to by professionals who grow plants strategically and often for commercial purposes. These gardens are made of glass and the temperature with them can be altered to fit the type of plant cultivated in them. Click here to understand and learn more about greenhouse gardens.

Therapeutic gardens

This is a very unusual type. As its name implies, it is used to treat people who suffer from anger management, anxiety, depression, and stress. Plants that appeal to the sense of sight and smell in a special way are grown here.


In summary, farmers are different from gardeners in the following ways:

  1. Pieces of equipment used by farmers are larger and more sophisticated while those used by gardeners are often hand-held equipment.
  2. Land used for farming is bigger than those used in gardening.
  3. The cost of running a farm outweighs that of a garden.
  4. Gardening takes less time and commitment.
  5. Farmers play a crucial role in human existence by providing food for communities.

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