The Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins gives us his Top Eco Gardening Tips. Badge not inlcuded.
1. Buy your plants from local sources and local growers: Make it an educational fun day out. Find out how far your plants have traveled to be in your garden and how they are produced.
2. Plants for wildlife: Do some research to find out what plants attract different wildlife into the garden. The Ice Plant (Sedum spectablis) is loved by butterflies and bees. Plant at least a few British natives such as the Birch tree to encourage a decent eco system.
3. Water Recycling: Use water butts to collect rainfall from the roof of your covered structures; house, shed, greenhouse, summer house, garage etc… Let your children understand that water is a precious commodity and should be used wisely!
4. Composting: Use compost bins for garden and household waste material and get a wormery to help recycle compost materials. How fascinating would this be to make at home or school!
5. Make provision for wildlife: Make or buy bird boxes, butterfly pies, bat boxes, hedgehog dens or create rock areas for newts and toads. A brilliant way of getting in nature and its balance with the natural environment. This way pest and disease can be kept to a minimum.
6. Green roofs: Look into ‘carpet bedding plants’ that create fascinating fun designs. Your imagination could be your only limitation.
7. Lay a section of meadow lawn and watch out for new creepy crawlies and other exciting wildlife it may attract! Remember that unless you're playing bowls on your lawn they are a garden within themselves.
8. Recycle and innovate: Pots, jam jars and plastic bottles can all be used for seeding or creating bird feeders, wind chimes and anything else you can think of. Get your kids to save what they use and then make a gardening project out of it.
9. Green mulch: Use it under plant borders as ground cover. It cuts down on weeding, soil erosion and aids water conservation. Mulch around plants or dress entire borders. Remember to pull weeds before they set seed and add them to the compost, producing compost and cutting down on your work load. Also remember to compost all your grass clippings.
10. Create a natural corridor for the entry and exit for wildlife on your homes boundary. Leave small gaps in fences, this may encourage in creatures such as hedgehogs, which will eat slugs and control other unwanted pests.
11. Use rainwater to fill your pond and not piped water, piped water contains artificial nutrients and will encourage invasive weeds into your pond.
12. Collect seeds in autumn from herbaceous plants and sow, reducing carbon footprint. Also grow plants from seed wherever possible as they are cheaper and don’t forget to sterilize and recycle all old seed trays and pots.
13. If buying in compost, buy in recycled garden waste that has been collected locally, broken down and bagged for sale in local garden centres.
14. Use plants such as nettles and Borage to create liquid feed, place the plants in a bucket of water and wait three to four weeks and use the juice created in a water sprayer to feed established plants.
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