Top Tips for an Eco Friendly Garden
Eco Gardening and growing your own can be lots of fun and with a few small steps you can even cut back on waste, encourage garden wildlife and enjoy a blooming beautiful garden. Here’s our Gardening Angels top tips to making your garden greener.
Attract Garden Wildlife
A wildlife rich garden is a real joy, and there’s nothing more rewarding than giving declining wildlife populations a helping hand. By giving them food & shelter, they will repay you by pollinating your plants and protecting your plants from unwanted pests.
Keep Pollinating Bees Buzzing
Bees are an essential pollinator and are involved in the pollination for 80% of all products on supermarket shelves. Setting up bee hotels and bee feeders will provide your local bees a safe place to stay and feed; for which they’ll happily thank you by pollinating your plants!
If you’re quick, there’s still time to sow your wildflower seeds! Annual wildflowers should be sown from early March to early June and are absolutely fab for attracting bees and keeping them happy. If you’re too late to start growing, you can still pick up fully grown wildflowers from your local garden centre and plant them up in your garden.
Save Water & Save Your Pennies
Cut your water usage in a few simple steps in your home or garden, reducing water wastage and saving yourself a few pennies in the process. Here’s our top tips:
1) Use the Right Amount of Water - Using a soil moisture meter, you can test the moisture levels in compost.
2) Re-use Your Bath Water – Use a Bath Water Siphon Kit and re-use your bath water and give your plants a good soaking.
3) Collect Rain Water – Even if you live in a dry area of the UK, it’s always worth collecting some extra rain water in a handy waterbutt.
4) Use a Slow Drip Irrigation Kit and keep plants watered without wasting a drop. Water is released slowly and evenly from the drip irrigation pipe, which reduces the formation of puddle from which water would evaporate.
5) Use a self-watering planter - These clever planters contain FeederMats which pull water from the planters SmartReservoir, so plants only take up water when they need it. Plants are never under or over watered and the roots have better access to oxygen, water and nutrients which fuels faster growth and bigger harvests.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Why let the guys at the recycling plant have all the fun with our household waste? Here’s some of our favourite ways to use recycled bits and bobs around your home & garden.
1) Make Your Own Plant Pots – Our Gardening Angels had far too much fun making plant pots from old newspapers in just 60 seconds. They are just as strong as standard pots and you can plant them into the ground where they will break down naturally into the soil. Watch our video.
2) Propagator & Plant Pot in One – If you don’t fancy making your own pots, or your short of space then this handy Potagator made from 180 recycled yogurt pots is a great way to grow herbs at home or even in the office. Simply sow your seeds in the propagator and transform into a plant pot when your seedlings are ready.
3) Reuse Your Plant Labels – Made from 50 recycled plastic cups, these reuseable plant labels will come in handy year after year.
4) Recycled Unwanted Rice – Did you know birds like to nibble on rice. Simply pop a ball of left over rice into this recycled bird feeder and give visiting birds a lovely treat.
5) Make Your Own Compost - Homemade compost is rich in beneficial nutients and trace elements, perfect for supporting healthy plant growth. By keeping your household vegetable waste in a handy Kitchen Compost Bin, you can make use of your leftovers and carry them out to your heap with ease.
Garden Wildlife & Natural Pest Control
Did you know Hedgehogs eat up to 80 slugs per night? These friendly garden visitors will eat just about any nasty insects or beetles and are absolutely brilliant for keeping your plants safe.
These humble critters can travel for up to one mile per night in search of food, so why not provide them with a lovely hedgehog house and some tasty food to help them on their way.
Ladybirds are not only pretty but they can eat over 5000 aphids in its lifetime, making them essential garden & greenhouse companions. Attract them to your garden with Ladybird Attractor Food and provide a safe home for them with a ladybird house. Once the summer is over, these bug houses will provide a perfect place for ladybirds to hibernate – so they’ll stick around to help out next year too!
Birds are also very effective at dealing with pests and make a welcome addition to the garden. By setting up bird houses & feeders, they’ll know where to come for a good meal, then, when it rains, you’ll spot the same birds returning to your garden to deal with the pests lurking in your garden.
Reduce Chemical Wastage
Organic Gardening Soap – Made from olives, we love this organic soap which is perfect for cleaning anything from your favourite garden tools to the family dog: you can even use it to clean your barbeque in the summer after you’ve cooked up your homegrown goodies.
This fabulous soap also works well as a form of natural pest control: spray it on fruit and veg plants to repel red spider mite, greenfly and mealy bugs.
Organic Slug Pellets – Wet and warm weather can only mean party time for slugs and snails, who’ll try munching on your plants. Surround your plants base with organic slug pellets and create an irritating barrier slugs and snails won’t cross, sending them elsewhere to munch. These pet and child friendly organic pellets are harmless to garden visitors, so no need to worry about curious local hedgehogs!
Alternative methods to deter slug and snails include copper tape or rings, or sprinkling egg shells or used coffee grounds round the base of the plant.
Insect Mesh Netting – Protect ripening fruit & veg with an Insect mesh net barrier and protect them from birds and common pests away. An insect mesh is fine enough to keep pests out but still allow for air, water and light through for healthy crop growth.
Harvest & Save Seeds from Bumper Crops
Buying in new seeds or plants every year is very exciting but if you’re looking to grow the same varieties next year, why not save a bit of money and save your seeds! Once you’ve harvested your veg at the end of the year, where possible, harvest the seeds, and then store them in a cool, dry place. Then, in the new year, you’ll have plenty of seeds so you can start growing all over again.
Top Tip: There are some fabulous gardening communities who would be happy to trade seeds with you – so you can still re-use your old seeds and grow something new! If you’re interested in trading seeds, just drop us a message on our Facebook page and we’ll see what we can do to help!
Preserve Excess Veg & Fruit Harvests
Stuck in the glut? Worried about wasting the bumper harvest from your holiday-proof planters? Not to worry: preserve your chillies, herbs, fruit and more with a handy drying rack. This air drying technique is an ancient effective method of preserving crops, which intensifies flavours and enables you to use your home grown and foraged produce all year round.
Don’t let leftover spuds go to waste: store them is a hessian sack to preserve them for longer. This material allows air to flow freely around your vegetables, keeping them dry and preventing them from sweating. This stops them from going soggy or rotten regardless of where they are in the sack!
There are plenty of brilliant ideas to help you preserve and use up your harvests in the Garden to Kitchen Expert.
If you ever have any questions about beneficial bugs, growing your own fruit and veg or putting together the perfect eco garden, please feel free to get in touch with our Gardening Angels on 0845 602 3774 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to help.