How To Create A Sustainable Garden For Your Family

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Sustainability is here to stay. That’s the whole point, after all. And one of the easiest places for a gardener to practice sustainability is by planting an eco-friendly garden. Not sure where to start? It’s easier than you’d expect because a sustainable garden is, by nature, low maintenance. Here are some of the basic how-to pointers.

Sustainable Gardening Defined

Sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty: the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. Or the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. “the pursuit of global environmental sustainability.”

Sustainability is one of those buzzwords that tends to get lost in translation. Simply put, it’s an enduring principle in environmental stewardship that gardeners can adopt in their yards to create harmony between a man-made garden and nature.

A quick look around your yard can tell you how much sun and water it gets, what wildlife is around, and other environmental influences. These factors can help you decide what will grow best in your yard with the least amount of resources.

What to Plant?

An easy place to start is with California native plants. Manzanitas, California poppies, and hummingbird sage are native plants that will thrive in your yard with little work because they evolved in Southern California’s ecosystem. The Golden State’s mild climate has been home to an amazing variety of native species, so it should be easy to pick out a few that you like at the local nursery.

Your flower beds can also serve as a firebreak for your home. Plants like salvia, San Diego Sunflowers, and native succulents help protect your home from the wildfires that destroy thousands of California homes each year.

The first rule of planting a firebreak is to keep it watered, growing, and alive. Retaining moisture helps just about any plant resist fire. Some plants are extremely prone to burning, such as conifers and eucalyptus trees.

Plant for Pollinators

Butterflies, bees, wasps, and hummingbirds are all pollinators that help flowers to seed and fruit to grow. A pollinator garden will bring all the beneficial bugs to your yard — you just have to plant the right things. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on California native milkweed because it’s all the caterpillars will eat. Manzanita and salvia are native plants that attract hummingbirds, making them doubly attractive for a sustainable garden in San Diego. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are more than just spices — they also attract honeybees.

A Family-Friendly Vegetable Garden

A sustainable garden can also sustain your family during a food shortage. Several fruits and vegetables are native to California:

  • Avocados
  • Broccoli,
  • Apricots,
  • Cantaloupe
  • Artichokes -100% of the artichokes grown in the U.S. are grown here.

Like native flowers, these plants practically grow themselves. They need little water or maintenance to thrive.

Your native vegetable and flower gardens can become a part of the natural San Diego landscape, reclaiming space that was altered by people. Best of all, there are so many California plants to choose from to create the yard of your dreams.

Brandon Michaels is a freelance writer and landscape designer from the mountains of California. In all his work, his goal is to get people off their couches and into nature. He loves all things natural: gardening, hiking, even feeding his local raccoons.

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