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Six Easy Steps to a More Sustainable Garden

By Donna Dawson
8/11/2014 10:13:08 AM

Is the thought of going completely organic in your garden too daunting to consider? Did you realize that even making just a few simple changes can make a difference in having a more sustainable and earth-friendly garden?

Some suggested first steps by experts are:

1. Amend the soil in your garden plot

2. Create your own compost pile

3. Collect rain water to use when watering

4. Choose organic or less toxic products if they are a viable option

5. Recognize good bugs and let them do the work for you

6. Stop fighting Mother Nature

Credit: I Can Garden

Amending your soil first and foremost usually means adding organic matter to lighten up the texture and add needed nutrients. Here's a good article from NGB member Gardener's Supply on how to build healthy soil.

Creating your own compost pile is easy! There are many different types of compost bins, including anything from basic models made of wire to fancier and sturdier ones, to countertop models. NGB member Burpee has this article on how to start a compost pile.

Collecting rain water is a great idea and an easy one that any do-it-yourselfer can install. Here are a number of online sources where you can purchase a rain barrel:

Gardener's Supply

Park Seed

Earl May

Do you really want to do it yourself? Then Pinterest, as always, has a plethora of ideas on how to build your own!

If you are looking for organic or more earth-friendly garden products, many of our NGB members sell organic seeds and/or plants: Botanical Interests, Cook's Garden, Johnny's Selected Seeds and Territorial Seed.

And several other members offer other less toxic supplies for your garden:

Dixondale Farms' insecticide:

Harris Seeds' Organic & Sustainable garden supplies

Mother Nature's Cuisine's Veggie & Herb Fertilizer

Garden Guys' Horticultural Vinegar

Oh No! Deer Repellents

Garden Guys' Garden Neem

By respecting Mother Nature we mean to pay attention to your local area. If your garden site is in the sun, by all means, use plants that need sunny areas to thrive. Conversely, if your site is in the shade, don't set yourself up for failure or frustration by trying to grow sun-lovers in an area where they are withering from a lack of sun. In the same way, pay attention to plants that naturally do well in your climate. This is especially true with vegetables. Are you in a cool, damp climate? Then growing Southwestern style chili peppers is probably not a viable option unless you use some of the newer hybrids that have been bred for your areas. (Note: Hybrids can be part of an organic garden!)

Once you get these few basics mastered, NGB member Bonnie Plants has an additional list of 9 practices for more sustainable gardening here. And NGB member St. Lynn's Press offers a complete book with 250 additional tips on how to grow organically.

No matter which steps you take, enjoy the garden and have fun reaping the many rewards it offers!

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