Sustainable Gardening

AKA: eco-friendly, environmentally sound, biointensive, low-input, alternative and natural gardening


You know it’s good but what exactly does it mean to garden “sustainably?”

Sustainable farmers and gardeners contribute to the earth rather than take away from it. In sustainable systems, plants are grown without depleting natural resources or contributing to pollution. Sustainable gardening means gardening with sensitivity toward the environment, which allows the garden to thrive naturally for years to come.

Sustainable-potatoes-and-carrots-in-basket   Sustainable-boy-in-corn-field

Easy steps towards sustainable gardening

Start small. Nothing says you have to become the perfect sustainable gardener overnight. Review this list and pick one thing that you can start doing or planning right away. Each step you take helps the earth and, more than likely, will improve your life as well.

  • Limit the size of your lawn. Lawns use more water and fossil fuels to maintain them than any other planting.
  • Plant a vegetable garden.
  • Use natural fertilizers like compost, rock phosphate, kelp or seaweed, fish meal and alfalfa meal.
  • Buy locally – especially from organic and sustainable growers.
  • Make compost out of vegetable peelings, leaves and yard clippings.
  • Avoid herbicides. Use mulch instead (plus, mulching saves water).
  • Conserve water. Install a rain barrel system to collect the rainwater from your roof’s downspouts. Use it to water your garden.
  • Plant native species. They require less care and are healthier than exotic species. Plus native birds, insects, and other wildlife benefit from the fruits, nectars and habitat these plants and trees provide.

Sustainable-shovel-in-field   Sustainable-handsful-of-corn-kernals

Additional Resources – water-saving plants specific to our area – Santa Barbara Botanic Garden– The California Garden Web– enter your zipcode for local info – certified organic heirloom seeds