With so many efforts being made to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our world and in an effort to push back against our throw-away culture, garden guru David Hurrion looks at how gardening can be more sustainable too!
FIVE TOP TIPS
1. Make your own garden compost. Recycling your garden and kitchen peelings at home has got to be top of the list. Rather than taking all that green waste to the local tip or putting out for recycling, keep it at home where you can benefit from it. Added to the compost heap or a small wormery, you can see all this useful turned into compost or liquid feed for your plants. And it’ll save you money too and be good for the environment as you won’t have to buy so many plastic sacks of compost or bottles of fertiliser!
2. Grow your own plants from seeds and cuttings. Saving on the number of plastic pots, the environmental costs of producing and distributing plants, and reducing your trips to the garden centre or DIY store, sowing your own seeds or raising plants from cuttings really can make a difference. Plus you’ll save money – you’ll get lots of plants from a packet of seed, and can swap cuttings of plants with neighbours and friends.
3. Reduce or stop using chemicals on your plot. Improving your soil with compost and making comfrey feeds are useful ways to cut down on artificial fertilisers – and if that’s not enough for your plants then look out for organic fertilisers. Rather than using weedkillers, hand-weeding is the ultimate in ‘mindfulness’ – so in-vogue at the moment and don’t forget that avoiding inorganic pesticides will help garden wildlife to create a natural balance in your plot.
4. Stop digging your soil. Lightly forking the ground only when necessary and keeping all cultivation to a minimum will help to maintain the health and richness of your garden’s key ingredient. Add organic matter to the soil surface and let it’s natural organisms – worms, beetles and a whole host of other life – mix it in for you. And if you’re growing in containers or raised beds, then fill them with loam or good quality garden soil as this will maintain a better structure and last longer.
5. Find garden uses to re-purpose household items. Plastic food trays and yogurt pots can all be put to good and lasting use for raising seeds and cuttings; cardboard packaging can often be reshaped into temporary seed trays and containers with the aid of a stapler or paper packing tape; newspaper can be made into compostable pots for quick growing seedlings; string and rubber bands make great plant ties; and old household implements can be pressed into service for all sorts of uses – a kitchen spoon for scooping and making holes in soil, or a metal spatula to use as a hoe for chopping off small weed seedlings between other plants… just think outside the box!