April 1st marks the first day of National Garden Month! This month was created to celebrate and inform the public about the positive impacts that gardening can have on all aspects of our lives. For this week’s sustainable action, we encourage you to explore all the ways you can make your garden have a positive impact on the environment as well.

Find A New Use for Your Food Waste 

Composting is a straightforward way to divert food scraps from the landfill, while simultaneously creating nutrient-dense soil for your garden. If you are unable to compost, food scraps such as eggshells, coffee grounds, and banana peels can also be used as an easy DIY fertilizer! However, make sure you check what kind of soil acidity and nutrient levels your plants prefer before applying these fertilizers. 

Use Sustainable Water Practices 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “As much as 50 percent of the water we use outdoors is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.” To reduce your water footprint, replace inefficient sprinklers in your garden with drip irrigation or soaker hoses, and consider installing a rain barrel. 

Use Integrated Pest Management 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a strategy for sustainably managing pests using as few chemicals as possible. Reducing the amount of insecticides and pesticides you use will not only benefit your health, but the health of the environment as well. Also, by protecting beneficial insects, pests will be easier to keep under control. 

Improve Your Plant Selection 

When selecting plants for your garden, try choosing plants that are drought-tolerant, pollinator-friendly, native to your region, and promote high biodiversity. Additionally, remove any invasive species found in your garden. 

Local Gardening Guides  

If you have any questions about making sustainable choices for your garden, guides such as the UF/IFAS Extension: Florida Gardening Calendar, UF/IFAS Extension: Gardening Solutions, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, and Florida Native Plant Society are a few of the many resources available in Florida. Additionally, by finding your local Extension office, you can get one-on-one gardening advice from an Extension agent in your area. 


Info from EPA, UF/IFAS, The Grow Network, and Missouri Botanical Garden.