small text medium text large text

Sustainable Gardening

Formerly "organic" gardening.

See also: Composting, Sustainable Agriculture, Native Plants, Natural Landscaping, Gardens for Wildlife.

Abandon nitrate fertilizers, garden pesticides and commercial lawn-care. Better yet, replace the lawn with a kitchen garden and landscape with native plants.


Selected Books

Bawden-Davis, Julie
Indoor Gardening the Organic Way: How to Create a Natural and Sustaining Environment for Your Houseplants
SB419.B235 2007x
Many of us don't have outdoor gardens but we should be doubly concerned about using toxic pesticides inside.
Bowe, Alice
High-Impact, Low-Carbon Gardening: 1001 Ways to Garden Sustainably
S494.5.S86 B69 2011
British gardener Bowe suggests ways to make your garden greener, from composting household waste, installing a water barrel, and eliminating pesticides to more long-term investments like choosing permeable, locally sourced paving, and planting the most water-wise plants.
Carroll, Steven B. and Steven D. Salt
Ecology for Gardeners
QH541.5.G37 C27 2004
Even a relatively small garden is a miniature ecosystem, including a surprising diversity of organisms that interact in a myriad of ways. Ecologists Carroll and Salt argue that the more completely we understand these interactions, the better gardeners we become.
Dowding, Charles
Organic Gardening: The Natural No-Dig Way
SB453.5.D69 2007x
Get rid of that rototiller! Dowding subscribes to the Ruth Stout method of gardening without tearing up the soil. Just put the compost and mulch on the top and let the worms do the rest.
Gift, Nancy
A Weed by Any Other Name: The Virtues of a Messy Lawn, or Learning to Love the Plants We Don't Plant
SB611.G54 2009
For those just coming to organic gardening, this book will help you view weeds from a different perspective and even develop an appreciation for them.
Gillman, Jeff
The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawbacks, and the Bottom Line
SB453.5.G54 2008
It's not easy being organic, especially when those lawn grubs come out. But maybe that's a reason to get rid of your lawn!!
Hemenway, Toby
Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
SB439.H44 2009
Toby Hemenway, an associate editor of The Permaculture Activist who gardens in Southern Oregon, treats gardens as backyard ecosystems. This is the second edition of his book. More information about Hemenway and his ideas can be found on his website. The Permaculture Activist defines permaculture as "...a land use and community building movement which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities."
Ikin, Ed
Thoughtful Gardening: Practical Gardening in Harmony with Nature
Ikin, Britain's National Trust Head Gardener, is a proponent of "He who gardens best, gardens least" and firmly believes in the practice of minimal intervention. He covers good plant nutrition, composting, water management, alternatives to pesticides and fungicides, and gardening by the moon.
Lima, Patrick
The Organic Home Garden: How to Grow Fruits & Vegetables Naturally
SB324.3.L55 2004x
Lima draws from his experience on his own organic home garden in Ontario, Canada. He discusses how to enrich the soil, deal with pests, and plant for year round fresh food.
Lowenfels, Jeff
Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web
S591.L59 2006
Perhaps the most important ingredient to sustainable gardening is the soil and Teaming with Microbes explains how vital the soil bacteria and fungi are to plants and how you can team up with them to create an environment conducive to plant growth and health. You will look at dirt more closely after reading this book.
The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening
SB319.95.N49 2011
In this Timber Press book, editor Thomas Christopher brought together the best thinkers on the topic of gardening sustainably to describe the future of the sustainable landscape.
Oster, Doug and Jessica Walliser
Grow Organic
SB453.5.O883 2007x
Doug Oster is the garden columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He and Walliser also have an organic gardening radio show on KDKA.
Reed, Sue
Energy-Wise Landscape Design: A New Approach for your Home and Garden
SB475.9.E53 R44 2010x
This book will make you pay more attention to where the sun rises and sets and where the wind blows in relation to your house. It will alert you to environmental conditions that you never even thought about when planning your garden. This should be a first book for every gardener and home builder.
Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensible Green Resource for Every Gardener
SB453.5.R645 2009
The New York Times calls this newly revised 50th anniversary edition the indispensable guide to gardening (707 pages). Rodale and Organic Gardening have been around longer than most of us have been alive. A shorter illustrated edition of the encyclopedia was published in 2002.
Sandbeck, Ellen
Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden
SB453.5.S26 2003
From peat moss to irksome pests and predators, Sandbeck explores the lively world of compost heaps (which can be used to naturally “vaccinate” your garden against disease), growing good soil, choosing plants well-adapted to your climate, weed warfare, planting protocols, and eco-friendly ways to quench your garden’s thirst.

Browse the Catalog

For additional books, browse the library catalog under the subject headings:

Up  Return to the top


Pittburgh Region

Up  Return to the top



  • Garden Girl TV
    A website dedicated to informing and educating the world on methods for Urban Sustainable Living by Patti Moreno of New York City.
  • Mother Earth News: Organic Gardening
    Archived articles from their magazine with tips on how to grow food organically.
  • Organic Gardening
    The classic Rodale monthly publication.
  • Resources for Idaho: Don’t Bag It! Recycle Your Grass Clippings
    The best way to manage grass clippings is to leave them on the lawn. This .pdf file will tell you how to set your lawnmower to mulch the clippings.
  • Safe Lawns
    Safe Lawns is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting natural lawn care and grounds maintenance.
  • Soil Biology
    The Soil Biology Primer by Elaine R. Ingham is an introduction to the living component of soil and how it contributes to agricultural productivity and air and water quality.
  • Sustainable and Urban Gardening
    "The purpose of this website is to teach gardening — in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way. The principal author is Susan Harris, gardening in Maryland, USDA Zone 7A. Most of the plants grown in her garden are hardy to colder climates, however, and the site includes articles by outstanding garden writers in other climates."
  • Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series (SULIS)
    Promoting the creation of landscapes that are environmentally friendly and self-perpetuating. A Cooperative Extension Service from the Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota.
  • WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
    Do you want to work on an organic farm in Europe and other global locations? In return for volunteer help WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.