SUSTAINABLE GARDENING

Sustainability and our impact on the environment is by far one of the most important topics at the moment. I try to do my bit – I recycle as much as I can, try to buy quality clothes and homeware items that will last, use bamboo toothbrushes and eco cleaning products to name just a few – but the increase of time spent in the garden has me thinking of ways to make this area as sustainable as possible too.

BUY SECONDHAND

I love vintage metal buckets and secondhand terracotta pots so much! Their lived-in look works brilliantly in our little cottage garden and I use them for flowers and veg too. We’ve had a lot of vintage terracotta pots passed on from family but secondhand shops and car-boot sales are a brilliant place to pick them up.

Tools, raised beds and canes can also all be bought second hand and this is something that we’ve taken advantage of too. Our raised beds are actually pallet collars that used to be my parents. They are hinged in the corners so are brilliant as a temporary bed and are easy to move from site to site too. We’ve used some spare bits of timber from an old planter to make our mesh frame and our bamboo canes are second hand. Our main tools are also pre-owned which I love as the wooden handles are comfortably worn by years of work.

RECYCLE

We recycle as much as we can and more recently this includes using old food pots and tubs for sowing and growing. I’ve used yoghurt pots and loo roll inners to sow seeds – loo rolls are particularly good for sweet peas as they like to form deep roots – mushroom tubs as water trays, clear pots as cloches for seeds and ice cream sticks for plant tags. I also always save any odds and ends of string to use for tying in plants.

The COVID-19 outbreak has really pushed me to recycle as many tubs and pots as I can as garden centres are currently closed so getting hold of new ones is tricky.

BUY WELL ONCE

I’m trying to follow this ethos for both clothes and homeware and now into the garden too. Investing in good quality items does mean spending more money upfront however they will last so much longer so the cost will even out. This is particularly important for tools and items that you will use a lot – like secateurs, forks and spades, watering cans etc.

I try to make sure I take care of everything, keeping tools clean and sharp and making sure everything has a safe home in my garden trug or in the shed.

SUSTAINABLE SWAPS

Wherever we can we always avoid buying plastic. We never use plastic string only natural jute twine and I forage for fallen twigs and sticks to use as supports instead of plastic canes. I use wooden or slate plant tags that can be rubbed off and reused again and again.

FUTURE PLANS

I’d really like to make a water butt so we can make the most of the rainy weather we’re quite often given. Our space is limited so a skinny design would be ideal, plus something that doesn’t look to hideous would be great! We’ve been looking at upcycling a galvanised dustbin so watch this space…

This is my first year growing dahlias and I’ve read that slugs and snails take a particular fancy to them. I’ve been wary of ordering slug pellets as they can be poisonous to birds, wildlife and pets but I’ve found a brand that is both non-toxic and organic. I haven’t tried it out yet but the reviews sound good so fingers crossed!

I’m excited to continue gardening with a sustainable mindset whilst finding more environmentally friendly alternatives too.

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