Sustainable Gardening Practices

Sustainable Gardening Practices

Posted on 06. Aug, 2010 by in California, odd stuff

A Guest article.

These days, many of us are trying to find ways to be more economical. Whether it’s by trying to save money, to trying to save time, we are becoming more and more aware that sometimes frugality can pay off. But being economically-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean that one cannot be ecologically-friendly too. When saving water and materials not only means  saving money, but also saving the environment, there’s no denying that living sustainably can save some green, in more ways than one. Here’s a look at how your garden can go green by utilizing sustainable practices.

 Saving Water

There are ways to improve your irrigation to focus the water to the plants in a way that reduces the amount of run-off and evaporation, such as drip-irrigation systems. However, reducing your water usage may not be enough. If local municipalities impose a restriction on water use, or if your area is suffering from a drought, you may be up a creek with no paddle. The best cure is prevention in this case, so you’re better off selecting plants that will require little to no artificial irrigation. This process is known as xeriscaping. While it saves you water, it also saves you from having to water. Less Work + Happy Plants = Happy Gardeners

Saving Resources

Ideally, if you select plants that prefer the soil that you already have in your yard, you won’t need to amend your soil. But if you can’t go that route, you will need to find a way to make your soil better for the plants you have at hand. If your soil isn’t right for your plants, you may end up wasting water trying to compensate for it. Not all plants are created equal, so it’s really important that you get familiar with your plants and their requirements. There are different ways to amend your soil, so make sure you consult your local California nursery for information about your plants and tricks to amending the soil in your area. The beautiful plant in the picture is the Californian White Sage.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

There will come a time where it may seem impossible to avoid doing “non-green” activities; but there are ways to offset your carbon footprint. What better way to turn trash into treasure than to compost your kitchen scraps? With homemade compost, you can make use of scraps that would have otherwise went into a landfill. There is an assortment of items that can be used for homemade  compost, including kitchen scraps, fruit peels, egg shells, newspapers, coffee  grinds, tea leaves, grass clippings (sans weeds), and so much more. Next time you stop in for a cup o’ Joe at your local coffee shop, ask your barista if they have some old grinds that they’d be willing to “donate” to your garden.

Not Using Chemicals for Things that Nature Can Fix

Using mulch or groundcover can help you prevent the growth of weeds, so that you don’t have to resort to harmful herbicides. You can also find ways to avoid having to use other harmful chemicals like pesticides if you implement biological pest management practices. Though it may be hard to accept, not all bugs are bad. In fact, ladybugs which are often considered “cute”; are actually great garden guests since they love to eat pesky aphids. Lacewings are great to have around your Palm trees because they like to feed on those irritating red palm mites, too. By not using herbicides and pesticides in your garden, you’re reducing the risk of those chemicals running off into storm drains, which, in many coastal cities, goes unfiltered into the ocean.


Amanda is a writer and blogger living in San Diego, CA. She has a keen interest in the wildlife of Southern California and plant communities like coastal sage scrub. She loves walking through the native Sages (Salvia spp.) and California Lilacs (Ceanothus spp.) near her home in San Diego. She is a big proponent of native landscaping and xeriscaping with drought tolerant plants.

Other Guest writers

Veronica Davis : Veronica’s article is here.

Roko Nastic : Roko’s article is here.

Haylee Hulme : Haylee’s article is here.

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