Now that we are all spending so much time in our gardens, could 2020 be the year when many more of us go green?
Here are ten ways to easily improve the green footprint of your garden:
- Compost green garden and kitchen waste, including grass cuttings. In the summer this will rapidly reduce to form a valuable and nutritious addition to garden soil and act as a moisture retaining mulch around plants.
- Harvest rainwater by feeding down pipes into water butts or tanks. The water is clean, untreated and natural.
- Reuse plastic plants pots and seed trays. Always wash them in soapy water with a mild disinfectant added before storing them away for next season.
- Garden canes are expensive to buy, so look after them. When you have finished using them clean with soapy water and a mild disinfectant and store in a dark, dry place.
- We all need bumble bees. According to BBC Future they pollinate 70 of the 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Plant specific flowers and shrubs known to attract them such as clematis, geraniums, echinacea, dahlias and hyacinth. Keep greenhouse doors and windows open in hot weather so that they can leave safely. If possible, leave wild areas of your garden to attract them.
- If you can, plants trees in your garden. They sequester carbon from the atmosphere (a baby tree absorbs 5.9KG of carbon dioxide per year, a 10-year old tree absorbs 22KG) and provide homes and shelter for all sorts of wildlife.
- In dry weather save water and, unless it is particularly dirty, instead of discharging it down the sink, let it cool and use it to water plants and shrubs.
- Rather than use weed killers to clear grass from paths and drives, ease it out with a knife and put it on the compost heap.
- Grow as many vegetables and fruits as you can. Even if you have a small garden or balcony, there will still be room to grow salad crops and tomatoes in pots or bags. It will be natural and you won’t have to drive to collect it. One seed company reports a 600% increase in veg seed sales this year, sparked lockdown-fuelled gardening. Now’s the time to join the ‘grow your own’ movement!
- Nematodes are naturally occurring microscopic worm-like creatures in garden soil and by careful selection and breeding they have been developed into one of the greenest pest controls available on the market today. The Nemasys range from BASF Lawn & Garden controls vine weevils, a wide range of vegetable and fruit pests, leather jackets, ants, chafer grubs and slugs. Nematodes are bred at the company’s state-of-the-art ‘farm’ in Sussex. It is the largest facility of its type in Europe. As nematodes are naturally occurring in the garden soil there is no environmental downside to their application and use. Children and pets don’t need to be excluded from treated areas and nematodes will not attack non-target species. They are simple to use, either mixed into a watering can or hose-end feeder.