What is sustainable gardening?
Sustainable gardening, or regenerative or eco gardening, means growing plants in ways that don’t harm the environment and its biodiversity. Ideally, a sustainable garden will boost the health of the soil and contribute to a more vibrant backyard ecosystem.
Besides steering clear of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, sustainable gardening stems from thinking about how our actions will affect future generations. They deserve fertile soil and clean water as much as we do. This makes for a gentle and holistic approach, working with nature instead of trying to force it to abide by our rules.
For many, this philosophy transcends the garden’s boundaries. “It’s a mind shift,” says Eva Monheim, an author and co-creator of Verdant Earth Educators. “It’s about understanding who and what resources you have in the community.”
Is sustainable gardening the same as organic gardening?
Not really, but the phrases are often used interchangeably. Technically, organic is a standard used to certify commercial crops. Sustainable and regenerative gardening, on the other hand, are looser terms that apply to gardening practices in balance with nature.
Often, organic crops use sustainable practices. In sustainable home gardens, that often means choosing organic seeds and seedlings.
How do sustainable gardening practices help the environment?
Sustainable gardening is more environmentally friendly than conventional gardening because it:
Doesn’t introduce harmful chemicals into the soil and water;
Prevents depletion of nutrients in the soil;
Increases beneficial microbes in the soil;
Saves water because healthy soil retains more moisture;
Prevents soil erosion;
Supports greater biodiversity, including insects and birds;
Helps reduce greenhouse gasses, because healthy soil stores more carbon;
Helps us live more sustainably. “Our food is just steps away from our kitchen instead of travelling hundreds or thousands of miles away,” says Kim Roman, an author and owner of Square Foot Gardening 4 U.