Published: 25 November 2013
Gardening for Sustainability
Simple ways to make your garden more eco-friendly.
These days, the right thing to do is practice sustainability. Greenhouse gases and carbon emissions have had disastrous effects on the planet, and if we are to continue using nature for our food and shelter, we need to start being more responsible. 
Luckily, there are many ways to modify your garden for sustainability. While many people and even universities offer classes on Sustainable Horticulture, it is possible to get the basics down with a few slight adjustments to your gardening habits and practices. Even large corporations are working towards sustainability, as seen through Finlay Flowers, a flower supplier for UK company M&S Flowers, which recently invested in a renewable heat source for winter crop production. 
Switching to a sustainable system may seem expensive in the beginning, but it offers long-term savings and profits -- as well as comfort from knowing that you did the right thing. Marin Hudson, CEO of Finlay Flowers, said that, “Some see sustainability as an on-cost but we have always seen it as a best practice and common sense, protecting our future, using resources as efficiently as possible.” 
One of the easiest ways to make your garden more sustainable is through efficient water usage. Be sure to only water plants when they need it, and use drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of oscillating sprinklers in order to minimize water loss. Set up a rain barrel to collect rainwater that you can use for watering your plants instead of using water from the hose. 

Plant selection is also important. In order to minimize the amount of chemicals and resources needed for your plant to thrive, only select plants that do well in your area. Plant a wide variety of plants in your garden as well, as these can promote habitats for beneficial insects. Speaking of which, learn to deal with some minor insect damage as well, and cut back on the pesticide. The Missouri Botanical Garden recommends getting a soil test before adding fertilizer to your garden as well. 
Mother Earth News has collected some tips from gardeners from all over the country who have made the commitment to sustainable gardening. Not everyone may be able to invest in such large-scale equipment as Finlay Flowers, but many gardeners have now taken household items and transformed them into instruments for their sustainable gardens. 
Reported by Chris Allen  

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