How To Practice Sustainable Gardening

How To Practice Sustainable Gardening

What Is Sustainable Gardening?

Sustainable practices have started to become commonplace in workplaces, homes, shopping centers, and commuting methods. Following this trend, there has been an increasing movement towards sustainable gardening. 

Sustainable gardening practices help to minimize negative impacts on the environment while promoting healthy soil, plants, and ecosystems. There are a variety of methods that can be used to work towards sustainable gardening, which may vary by region.

(Featured Image: Coneflowers by Hardwick Hall)

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Sustainable Gardening By Region

Some areas affected by drought may place a higher emphasis on water conservation. Other areas that may be affected by overcrowding or lack of space may incentivize vertical gardening methods.

No matter where a garden is located, there are a variety of methods that can be implemented to benefit the local environment as a whole. For those who garden or farm for a living, there are sometimes even tax incentives available for various methods of sustainable growing.

A large bumblebee rests atop the native perennial called Joe Pye Weed.

Joe Pye Weed by K. Hine

Sustainable Gardening Methods

Implementing sustainable gardening practices is often easier than you would think! These are some of the most common and beneficial ways you can practice sustainable gardening:

  1. Composting: Composting is the process of decomposing organic waste to create nutrient-rich soil. Composting reduces waste in landfills and improves soil fertility without the use of chemical fertilizers.
  2. Water conservation: Conserving water in the garden can be achieved through various practices, such as using drought-tolerant plants, installing rainwater harvesting systems, and drip irrigation.
  3. Mulching: Mulching helps to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. It also adds organic matter to the soil, improving soil structure and fertility.
  4. Crop rotation: Crop rotation involves rotating crops every growing season to help prevent soil-borne diseases and pests, while improving soil health and fertility.
  5. Natural pest control: Natural pest control methods, such as companion planting, using beneficial insects and birds, and using organic pest control products, can help reduce the use of harmful pesticides.
  6. Using organic fertilizers: Organic fertilizers, such as compost, manure, and bone meal, provide nutrients to plants without harming the environment or polluting water sources.
  7. Planting native species: Planting native species helps to promote biodiversity and protect local ecosystems, as they are adapted to the local climate, soil, and wildlife.
  8. Using renewable energy sources: Using renewable energy sources, such as solar-powered garden lights (like our favorite ones by Letmy), can help reduce the carbon footprint of gardening practices.

By implementing these sustainable gardening practices, gardeners can help protect the environment and promote healthy and thriving gardens.

Is Sustainable Gardening Less Expensive Than Traditional Gardening?

Many methods of sustainable gardening can end up saving you money in the long run. Any activity that promotes healthy soil, such as compost amendments or crop rotation, ensures your soil remains fertile without the use of expensive additions. 

Natural pest control is another good example of a cost efficient sustainable gardening practice. Through the use of companion planting or encouraging predatory birds and insects to visit your plants, you can naturally take care of destructive pests without the use of costly chemical insecticides.

How To Start A Sustainable Garden

Getting started with a sustainable garden can be easy! It is important to start out with researching native plants in your region – whether those are ornamental, edible, or foliage. When you start with native plants, you’re already choosing a sustainable option for your garden that will require less water and fertilizer, and will be better equipped to withstand pest invasions.

Once you’ve selected your native plants, invest some time and energy into amending your soil. Remove rocks and other debris, add a generous amount of organic compost, and plan out crop rotations for the next few years (if using annual plants). These practices will help get you started on your sustainable garden!

Sustainable Gardening In Northern Michigan

If you want to start a sustainable garden in northern Michigan, or are interested in making an existing garden more sustainable, Bright Lane Gardens is here to help! We specialize in carrying native plants that are local to our region and built to thrive here.

We also carry a wide variety of organic compost, fertilizer and other amendments that can help increase your soil health and fertility for years to come. Stop by and chat with our team today to get started on your sustainable garden!

An up close photo of the blue flower of the native spiderwort plant.

Common Spiderwort by Joshua Mayer