is reader-supported. That means as an Amazon Associate we may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases (at absolutely no extra cost to you).

Growing up in a small town in rural Northeast Indiana, where every other household had a garden in the backyard, surrounded by millions of acres of cornfields, soybean crops, and hog farms, I learned the difference between farming and gardening as a kid.

But, with the rise of supermarkets, and most people living in cities these days, not everyone understands the differences between the two concepts.

So, in this Question and Answer post, I discuss the most significant differences between gardening and farming in detail!

Farming vs Gardening

Gardening and farming, while somewhat similar, are vastly different. Farms are large agriculture plots that grow monocrops or raise livestock on an industrial scale for commercial purposes, ranging in size from several acres to hundreds of thousands of acres. Gardens on the other hand are much smaller areas, normally located in backyards or on a small piece of private property, and are used for recreational purposes or growing various fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other ornamental plants for personal use.

What is Farming?

A big green tractor pulling a red combine with a yellow hopper cover in a commerical fam field.
A tractor and trailer working in a commercial farming field.

Sadly, most traditional American farming methods are a thing of the past.

Today, enormous amounts of crops, typically a single species such as corn, beans, or wheat are produced on farms.

This common practice of farms is known as monocropping. This type of farming requires the use of large industrial farm equipment such as tractors, combines, and irrigation systems to get the job done.

Running a farm requires a lot of money as well. Tons of resources are needed, such as large quantities of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides. Farm owners also need to pay their crew, taxes, and other fees like licenses and permits.

Some farms, however, don’t grow crops at all, rather they raise livestock like cows or pigs. These sorts of farms typically take up less space than the massive commercial fields growing monocrops. This type of farming takes place in various types of farm buildings.

That said, raising livestock can be even more expensive than commercial farming. If it is done on an industrial scale, there are thousands of animals to feed and care for.

There are also other factors to take into consideration such as transportation of animals to and from facilities, slaughterhouses, and buyers. There is also a major need for keeping the farm and its facilities clean so the animals and workers don’t get sick.

Thanks to the rise of fast-food culture, specifically with the help of McDonald’s corporations, something called factory farms appeared in the late 20th century.

What is Gardening?

Orange and yellow marigolds surrounding large heads of cabbage growing in a garden.
Marigolds, cabbage, and other plants grow in a garden.

The practice of gardening is much more closely related to how our ancestors grew food than the way crops are grown on farms today.

Gardening is the art of cultivating plants, specifically as a hobby or to supplement food supplies. It typically takes place at home.

However, community gardens are beginning to spring up around the world as well.

Most plants grown in gardens today are placed directly in the ground/soil, in rows, in beds, or in containers.

Other popular methods include hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic gardening.

Depending on what part of the world you’re from, gardens appear drastically different. Likewise, the work and amount of time that goes into them varies.

In Japan, for example, gardens aren’t for producing food at all. They are more about beauty than anything else. These gardens consist of a specific blend of elements including gravel paths, water, stepping stones, and ornamental trees and plants.

French gardens are also all about beauty and mainly consist of finely manicured bushes, flowers, and roses.

The Government of France even has a special branch dedicated to taking care of its many public formal gardens.

German gardens, on the other hand, known as allotments, are quite similar to US gardens.

In the USA, gardens look a lot like miniature farms, with rows of various crops.

American gardeners enjoy growing everything from tomatoes and cucumbers to roses and watermelon.

A Final Word About Farms and Gardens

Several rows of plants, mainly tomatoes, growing in a large rural garden.
A typical rural American garden or German allotment.

To put it simply, farms grow large crops or raise livestock for the commercial market.

Today, farms are the main suppliers of food for the entire world.

Gardens are small plots used mainly for leisure, or to produce small amounts of food.

Hopefully, our article helps clear up any questions you have about gardening and farming, thanks for reading!


Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.