82 Sustainable Gardening Tips

Go beyond organic with these creative, real-world ideas for more sustainable gardening.

| October/November 2011

Goat Pulling Cart

Want to haul supplies sans fuel power? Try training a goat to pull a cart!


Most gardeners have sustainability on their minds. After all, growing your own food is a huge step toward leading a sustainable lifestyle. Organic, chemical-free methods are inherently more sustainable — for human health, wildlife, the soil and the water supply — than non-organic techniques. But sustainable gardening goes beyond just using organic methods. From water and energy conservation to waste reduction and smart seed-sourcing, there are infinite ways we can make our practices more sustainable.

To find out what’s going on in sustainable gardens across the United States and Canada, we surveyed the thousands of members of MOTHER’s Garden Advisory Group. Here are their best tips, broken down by category, many of which will not only help you garden more sustainably, but will save you money, too! We hope you’ll try these creative ideas in your garden and pass the tips along to your friends and neighbors. (To contribute tips to future articles, join our Editorial Advisory Groups.)

Reusing and Recycling Materials in the Garden

1. I use an old plastic mesh bag to round up leftover slivers of soap. I rubber-band the bag so it’s tight and hang it next to the hose. The combo of the slightly abrasive bag and the soap scrubs off garden dirt. — Irene, Washington 

2. I make row covers out of tomato cages, old rebar I got free, and used blankets I got at the local thrift store. — Cathy, Florida 

3. Instead of purchasing expensive weed-blocking landscape cloth, I use free old tarps from my local lumber store that they used to cover wood during shipping. — David, Utah 

4. I gather pieces of concrete to use as stepping stones in my garden. — Susan, Virginia 

8/5/2017 2:16:58 PM

We started gardening and we were gone wrong. We could not figure out why we were not getting the beautiful vegetables we were hoping for. People suggest to spray chemicals for vegetables and fruits but is poison and it is not organic vegetables. My lab professor referred a guide it helps me to grow my gardening as what we like, you can get the guide from here >> ( http://go2l.ink/plants ) <<. I have recommended this system to all of my friends and family. We got good organic natural vegetables and fruits in the next harvest, one of the beautiful products in the market.

3/27/2016 12:56:43 AM

Wow these are great tips about recycling items in the garden. I especially like point number 5, using recycled cups to grow tomatoes from seed. What a fantantic idea! I'm going to try that as soon as the sun rises in the morning. We have a related article over here: http://lawnmowertoday.com/these-tips-can-help-your-organic-garden-thrive/ Yours is a great website, and we enjoy reading your posts regularly. Best Regards

7/10/2015 9:38:12 AM

Dear M.E.N.: Thank you for all I've gleaned from your publication ONLINE over the past years. I really appreciate it. Please consider offering a "Classified's" section online where people who have comfrey roots, rhubarb, elm seedlings which can be grown for a living fence, etc. Seed packets for trade, etc. People who have a way of building a small windmill, and what is needed to transform, or store the useable energy, to provide plans for those of us who want to try it, etc. It would be a great service for all your readers, and a great way to expand your usefulness, and draw people to your site. Please. Thank you, again. Blessings,

6/28/2015 8:18:05 AM

We have a great garden at the church. We are using 'field corn' to produce seeds for the birds, & then we use the leaves & stalks to make beds out of for more veggies.. Everything get's recycled in some way. We have 0 waste!

9/11/2013 12:43:33 PM

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6/28/2013 8:06:39 AM

On "You Tube" I saw a guy using cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls to start seedlings in.  I thought it was a great idea. Cut them to the size you need.

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