Thursday 4 April 2019

Sustainable Gardening

When you talk about gardening it's easy to assume that it is something naturally sustainable and good for the environment. The fact is though that many of the products and processes used in gardening can be quite damaging. With the traditional start of the gardening season upon us this month let's see what you can do to be a better gardener for the environment.

Weed killers – Commercially available weed killers will kill weeds and do damage to many other things as well. Even without going into what it is doing to the environment they will hinder the growth of your own planting. It will then spread further if you put anything from the ground into your compost heap. There are many homemade recipes available but I prefer good, old-fashioned weeding by hand. Yes, it takes time but it is the most environmental friendly way.

Cleaning materials – Again you can easily pick up cleaning fluids but they will contain an assortment of chemicals in them. One of main areas you will need to clean is a greenhouse. A thick sponge and a bowl of warm water will do most of the panes. If you have a jet wash or you can borrow one then that will work well in the corners or any ground in dirt.

Plastic or not? - Buying new plastic items isn't a good idea but you can always use the items you currently have. If you germinate your own seeds you'll need plenty of plant pots so try to keep the ones you have in good condition so they can be used again and again. If you need new ones you could try egg boxes to start them off. Instead of plastic pots think about biodegradable ones made of fibre or Vipots which are made from rice husks. If you use grow bags don't throw out the bag but keep it for next year and refill it yourself.

Water – Despite there being plenty of it about at most times in the UK saving water is important. Last summer's heatwave shows how easily supplies can start to run shortly. Even when there are sufficient supplies of it around all the water that comes out of your taps has to be chemical cleaned and treated first – something that isn't required for watering your garden. Set up your own water supply by connecting water butts to your guttering.

What do you do to be a sustainable gardener? How could you improve?

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