Garbage-Free Gardening: 7 Eco-Friendly Ideas

Garbage is a fact of life. With a little effort, you may be surprised at how much you can reduce your daily trash and conserve resources. Try these easy tips.

Reducing the amount of trash you and your family make is a conscious decision. However, once you stop and realize how much garbage is produced on a daily basis, you may be motivated to challenge yourself and your family to change the way you do things around the house. With a little effort, you may be surprised at how much you can reduce your daily trash and conserve resources.

But what about in the garden? Are there easy ways to reduce your trash while planting a nice garden? Check out these garbage-free gardening ideas:

  1. Plant native drought-resistant plants rather than lawns if and when possible. This will cut down on water and maintenance, especially if you live in an area where hot, dry summers are the norm.
  2. Catch the rain! Rainwater is a great way to conserve water by reusing it to water plants and lawns. There are elaborate rain catchers you can buy, but a big barrel works too. Just be sure to cover the barrels or put a screen on it to keep leaves, animals, and other debris from falling in.
  3. If you need to water your lawns, consider an irrigation system that has a rainwater sensor. This will help cut down on useless waterings. Check out clay pot irrigation here!
  4. Buy in bulk when you buy mulch or other products. See if you can pick it up from the center by borrowing a truck or having it delivered. Saves all the plastic bags you have to get rid of when buying by the bag.
  5. Recycle the pots and flats you get from the nursery. Most nurseries will take them back and reuse them.
  6. Grow too many zucchinis? Share with your friends, family, and perhaps the local food bank.
  7. Compost your garden leftovers. At the end of the year, put your garden scraps in the compost, not in the trash.

Got any more clever ideas? Share them here.

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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When shopping, use cloth bags that you can re-use over and over. Instead of a gas or electric mower, use a push mower, and use the clippings to mulch the garden. Install a couple of laundry lines in your yard, and use them to hang dry clothes rather than using a dryer (if you have an apartment, maybe a balcony, or in front of your main window? If you don’t have a sun facing window, then that sucks.) That’s all for now. Time to go watch some sweet air to air videos.

Mark Allen

My rain barrel has bee useless in Chicago, we are +- 6 ” below normal and the garden is in need of water. This is a first year to use 5 gal. buckets and drip hoses. I’ve never seen my soils look like this. Heavy composting saves the day.


The only problem with catching rain in my area is the plethora of mosquitoes. Any water I catch would be a great breeding ground for the mossys. Any ideas on how to prevent this? Even our dogs’ water gets infested with mossy larvae.

Jaime McLeod

You can prevent mosquitoes by covering your collection tank with a fine mesh, or you can build a closed system, as described here:


you guys are awsome

chris chapman

These articles are amazing. Since i planted my first garden this year i am looking for ways to reduce my footprint in every way, hence the garden. In addition i am constantly searching for waysto do this. I do not even have to ask, the answers, tips and wonderful ideas are just here. Thank you so much and keep it coming.


If you have extra produce, don’t compost it unless it is past prime……….give the extra to the needy in your area …………our is Manna Food Bank or the homeless shelters.

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