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Tips For Sustainable Gardening: Library Programs and Books


Tips For Sustainable Gardening: Library Programs and Books

sustainable gardening

Gardening is a wonderful hobby that, besides giving one much joy and relaxation, can also provide fresh produce and help reduce our carbon footprint. However, gardening can also generate a lot of waste, from plastic pots to plant debris.  With a little effort, you can create a beautiful, productive garden that’s also good for the planet.

As you look to move towards more sustainable gardening practices,  it is essential to learn the skills of seed saving and composting, and in August the library is presenting programs on these two environmentally friendly practices.

Saving Seeds

Seed saving is the process of collecting and storing seeds from plants that you’ve grown. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to ensure a continuous supply of plants for future seasons. 

Want to save your own seeds this season but don’t know where to start?

Join Farmer Anthony Bracco on August 9 at 11 am for Seed Saving 101, as he introduces you to the hows and whys of saving seeds from your garden harvest. He will demonstrate the basics on seed saving techniques through the use of visuals and simple tools.

Bracco will talk about how saving seeds will help you increase your self-sufficiency and grow healthy, productive plants year after year.  You will be able to produce your own seed and stop relying on outside sources to provide seed for you, saving money in the process.

Saving seeds also allows you a unique opportunity to create your own heirloom seeds to pass down through generations in your family. Heirloom plants often have unique characteristics and flavors. By saving seeds from heirloom plants, you’re helping to preserve these varieties for future generations. This way you’ll be passing on a legacy and gifting future generations with the gift of self-sufficiency. Preserving superior flavor and genetic diversity are additional benefits of seed saving. 

Further, when you save seeds from plants that have thrived in your garden, you’re selecting for traits that are well-suited to your climate and soil. Over time, this can lead to stronger, more resilient plants that require less water and fertilizer.

Topics Bracco will cover include heirloom vs hybrid seeds, crossbreeding, harvesting, drying and storing. He will talk of which varieties of seed are popular to save including tomato seeds, pepper seeds, peas and beans, summer and winter squash and lettuce, among others.


Are you tired of throwing away your kitchen scraps and feeling guilty about contributing to the landfill? Composting is another essential skill for the zero-waste gardener. 

Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter, such as food scraps and plant debris, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Not only does it reduce waste but also helps improve soil health and fertility by adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil.  This, in turn, can lead to healthier plants that are more resistant to pests and diseases. Compost also helps improve soil structure, which can improve water retention and reduce erosion.

Have you always wanted to compost or want to learn more? Are you afraid it’s just too smelly or too much work? Our talk on August 17 at 2pm  entitled Let’s Compost Year-Round — Ins and Outs, will give you the courage to try. 

Join Master Gardener Lynne Proskow as she discusses some of the most common methods of composting and also the Bokashi method which she uses indoors during the winter using a 5-gallon bucket with a lid and effective microorganisms. She will demonstrate how easy and effective this is for producing “black gold,” a gardener’s best friend. 

Once your compost is ready, you can spread it around your plants as a natural fertilizer or mix it with soil to create a nutrient-rich growing medium. Your plants will thank you for it!

The following books available with your Livingston Library card can offer more  tips on green gardening, seed saving and composting.

At Home With Nature : A Guide To Sustainable, Natural Landscaping by John Gidding

Compost : Essential Know-How And Expert Advice For Gardening Success by Zia Allaway

Compost Science For Gardeners : Simple Methods For Nutrient Rich Soil by Robert Pavlis

Composting For The Absolute Beginner : How To Improve Your Soil For Better Organic Gardening by Dede Cummings

The Good Garden : How To Nurture Pollinators, Soil, Native Wildlife, And Healthy Food–All In Your Own Backyard by Chris McLaughlin

The Green Gardening Handbook : Grow, Eat And Enjoy by Nancy Birtwhistle

How To Grow Plants For Free : Creating New Plants From Cuttings, Seeds And More by Simon Akeroyd

No-Waste Composting : Small-Space Waste Recycling, Indoors And Out by Michelle Balz

Resilient Garden : Sustainable Gardening For A Changing Climate by Tom Massey

The Rodale Book Of Composting : Simple Methods To Improve Your Soil, Recycle Waste, Grow Healthier Plants, And Create An Earth-Friendly Garden

Saving Seeds : A Home Gardener’s Guide To Preserving Plant Biodiversity by Dan Jason

Small-Scale Homesteading : A Sustainable Guide To Gardening, Keeping Chickens, Maple Sugaring, Preserving The Harvest, And More by Stephane Thurow

Starting & Saving Seeds : Grow The Perfect Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, And Flowers For Your Garden by Julie Thompson-Adolf

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields by John Jeavons & Carol Cox

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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