How do I practice sustainable gardening?
To sustain means to keep going or continue, and sustainable is the ability to carry on an activity indefinitely with minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable landscape practices are gardening practices that not only save money by saving energy, water, and time; they help the environment.
The concept of sustainable gardening has evolved as a result of current environmental concerns about the broader effects of our gardening practices on:
- Water availability
- Off-site water quality
- Energy use
- Landfill space
- Fire-safe landscaping
- Soil degradation
- Spread of invasive plant species
- Protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat
All of these issues are critically important today, and harmful impacts of our gardening practices on any of these concerns can potentially affect the quality of our lives, our health, or the health of the ecosystem upon which we depend.
Gardening practices are only one of many issues affecting the sustainability of human activities, but they are practices that most people can implement immediately, and enormous benefits can be gained by a large fraction of households engaging in sustainable gardening. Using sustainable gardening practices can increase our understanding of the broader effects of all our activities on the environment as a whole.
Our gratitude to Chuck Ingels, UCCE Sacramento County farm advisor and Pam Geisel, statewide UC Master Gardener Program for providing content for the Sustainable Gardening section of the California Gardening website.