Sustainable Gardening In Seattle and PNW


The Use of Organic Supplements and Mulches

Nutrient renewal is an essential element in having a happy, healthy landscape. We often forget that when we rake up those leaves in fall and keep wild animals from our gardens, that we are altering the environments natural way of replenishing nutrients in the soil. In order to maintain sustainable growth in the garden, one must recreate this natural process.


There are several ways in which to renew nutrients in one’s soil. Compost, one of the most common, is a fine way to amend soil and replace nutrients. Compost continues the cycle of returning organic matter to the soil, allows for the creation of vital air space and releases small amounts of nitrogen. The air space made by compost allows for water to cycle through the soil and nurture root systems. Ultimately the water drains through and air space is left allowing oxygen to reach the roots.



Fertilizers and Manure

Other ways to replenish your soil are Manure and organic, slow release fertilizers. Amending the soil with Manure will replenish the vital nutrients plants need to thrive. Manure also provides the microorganism’s essential for aerating the soil. As the manure decomposes, nutrients are released slowly for sustainable growth. Amending with manure in the fall or Winter gives the nutrients time to filter into the soil and be available for spring growth.

Slow release fertilizer works much in the same way as Manure. Mixing in a proportional amount of fertilizer with soil will release nutrients over time and promote healthy growth. There are several organic fertilizers that are sustainably made and are excellent material for nutrient renewal.


Soil in pots also need nutrient renewal. As many of the nutrients in a pot flush out with the water flowing through them, one must replenish these nutrients annually. Mixing in a slow release organic fertilizer once to twice a year can renew the nutrients a plant needs and have them looking their best.


Finally, mulching one’s  planting beds is essential in cultivating a healthy landscape. When beds are mulched, moisture is held into the soil and temperature is moderated. Mulch decomposes much slower than other amendments allowing for continual replenishing of organic matter. Mulch also prevents compaction, a critical element in root growth. All these elements together help build solid soil structure allowing nutrients to flow. Aesthetically, most mulches have a dark brown to black color. This color of the mulch makes for a dramatic backdrop for plants.



Combinations of all these methods will lead towards having a thriving garden this spring and a hearty one for the dry Summer months to come. Being mindful of the materials used and doing annual maintenance provides essential elements for a sustainable landscape. One may enjoy the fruits of their labors when those blooms are brighter and the foliage is more bountiful. Most importantly, enjoy spending time at home in a happy and healthy landscape.


For information on the products we use see Pacifica Landscapes Resources Page –


To learn more about developing a sustainable landscape in your Seattle or Eastside garden, contact Pacifica landscapes for a design consultation.