Gardening is quite a popular hobby.

In fact, according to the National Gardening Survey, consumers spent a reported $36.9 billion on food and flower gardening in 2017 alone.

Seventy-four percent of all U.S. households participated in lawn and garden activities in 2016, up from 70 percent of households in 2013 and 2014.

But how many of those households are growing organically? That number remains to be seen, but sustainable gardening is still something to think about.

Benefits of sustainable gardening

  • Good for your health
  • Maintains soil quality
  • Saves money
  • Tastes better

What Is Sustainable Gardening?

Sustainable gardening is an organic method of growing plants that doesn’t require pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that are harmful to us and the environment.

This type of gardening involves utilizing every renewable resource available to help sustain soils and plants while sustaining our bodies.

If you love to garden and are looking to do so more sustainably, here are five sustainable gardening practices to get you started:

Compost

Compost

Dawn Casey-Rowe composts everything she can.

Kitchen scraps, leaves – if it can be composted, she composts it. And everything she composts goes right into her garden.

It’s all part of Casey-Rowe’s sustainable gardening practices, which she writes about from time to time on her blog, Café Casey, which includes posts on frugal living and sustainability, parenting, teaching and life in general.

Composting food and yard waste keeps less material out of the landfill and more organic material for your soil.

Grow Plants Native to Your Area

Anemone Plant

Utilizing native plants in your garden allows you to cut down on your environmental footprint. According to Barrett Ersek, CEO of Holganix, native plants are beneficial because they’re already adapted to your local ecosystem and weather patterns, meaning they often require less maintenance and less fertilizer and water.

Share and Swap Plants

Talk with your family, friends and neighbors about who will grow what and share. Casey-Rowe shares and swaps plants all the time.

Casey-Rowe“It doesn’t take too long before a garden spreads out of control, and chances are my friends would benefit from a cut of an herb or plant that would cost a lot at the store. I’ve gotten some great stuff this way and gifted a lot, too.”

Dawn Casey-Rowe I Café Casey

Select a Gardening Method

Raised Bed

According to Shel Horowitz, founder of Going Beyond Sustainability, you should investigate gardening methods that are right for you in your own microclimate, such as:

  • No-till gardening: A way of growing without disrupting the soil through tillage (digging, stirring etc.).
  • Raised bed gardening: A way of growing by elevating the soil to allow for better drainage and soil quality.

“There will be local experts on organic gardening who can help you, including farmers selling at local farmers markets,” he said.

Set Up Collection System to Conserve Water

Rain Barrel

Water is a valuable resource and should be treated that way. That’s why you should only water plants when they need it. Unless the weather is hot and dry, you may only need to water two or three times a week. To conserve water and control water runoff, use drip irrigation or set up rain barrels to collect rainwater. Mulch beds are also a great way to help retain water so it doesn’t evaporate or drain away quickly.

Now that you know what sustainable gardening is and what sustainable gardening practices work best, it’s time to start planting!

Looking for more sustainable gardening practices? Check out these sustainability tips from the Missouri Botanical Garden. For more tips on living sustainably and making a positive impact on your environment, take a look at the Greener Living section of our blog.