Five easy ways to make your garden more sustainable
1. Go Native
Start by growing produce and native plants such as azaleas and black-eyed Susans that thrive easily in this climate. “If 75 percent of your plants are native, then you are getting the best wildlife value,” says Backyard Bounty’s Edamarie Mattei, explaining that local insects feed on native plants.
2. Do No Harm
Avoid plants that are invasive or potentially harmful to native plants. Mattei recommends steering clear of plants such as barberry and burning bush.
3. Harvest Rain
Installing a rain barrel, which can be purchased at home and gardening stores, can be an easy way to reduce the amount of public water needed for your gardening and to collect stormwater that might otherwise pollute local water sources. Plus, rain barrels may qualify for a rebate through Montgomery County’s RainScapes program.
4. Start Small
For gardeners with limited space, Natalie Carver of Love & Carrots recommends growing herbs such as basil, cilantro and rosemary. “You can grow them in a small space and use them for cooking,” she says.
5. Try Natural Treatments
For increased sustainability, American Plant’s Basem Saah recommends choosing organic fertilizer when possible and creating natural bug repellent sprays with chili oil or lemon juice to manage pests.
Amanda Cherrin lives in Chevy Chase and is a former reporter for Sports Illustrated.