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Happy gardening!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Going green just has to be seen...

There are so many ways us gardeners can be helping  to do our bit to care for our poor planet and following the suggestion of Jan from Thanks4Today Blogspot in Virginia USA  in recognition of the 40th Annivesary of  Earth Day on 22nd April for us bloggers to promote what we're doing in our own gardens in order to encourage others to try some new ideas in their own.

To celebrate I decided to do my bit as well...

I must admit I'm all for gardening organically, without the need to use chemical pesticides and insecticides and to date have found this very successful.  We were helped here by the fact that our garden and woodland which borders a stream had been left to do it's own thing for about 9 years or so - it's own little eco system had evolved and it's amazing how nature does look after itself and at the same time enable you to have a thriving garden in so many ways.

Garden Watering:  Natural rainwater can be collected in water butts or containers to save on draining other water resources.  Watering can also be reduced if you following the practice of mulching - placing compost/grass cuttings around plants in the borders which will enable the soil to retain moisture for longer during the warm months of the year - reducing the need to water too often.

Planting: One method of planting up my beans and Sweet Peas has been using the cardboard inner tubes from toilet rolls and kitchen rolls - by placing as many as will fit into a plastic seed tray and filling them all with compost till they are 2/3 full sowing the seed or bean and then topping up with more compost.  Once the plants have established they can be planted out straight into the soil in the cardboard tube which in time just composts down and thus not disturbing the delicate roots! 

Protecting young plants which are vulnerable to slug damage:  Another idea which I use each year is by getting used plastic water bottles and after cutting off both the top and base - use a pair of pinking shears - the kind of scissors that give you a zig-zag pattern - divide each bottle's middle into two or three sections - the jagged edging is ideal for pressing into the soil around each young plant - meanwhile the zig/zag top edge will make it difficult for slugs to get at the young plants!  Normally I just leave these in the ground during the growing season and they work a treat!  Coffee grounds can also work quite well when sowing rows of young salads. 

Composting: A posting like this couldn't bypass the value of home composting... by saving up all the vegetable and fruit peelings, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, some newspaper and thin cardboard as well as grass cuttings - these can all go towards boosting the soil and boosting your plants.  I have made two using 4 wooden posts and chicken wire - one is full and I usually leave for a good six months to rot away whilst the other is being added to - by the time that one is full the other one can be used!

Weedkilling: Don't be so hasty to kill weeds in your gardens - a margin of wildflowers/nettles, grasses around the garden or in certain areas are invaluable to wildlife - to insects, birds and small mammals alike - nettles for instance provide essential plant food for young caterpillars which in turn are essential food for parent birds feeding their young and so it goes on.  Nettles also make wonderful soup - pick of the top 4 leaves of young nettles and use with a mix of potatoes, chopped onions and stock - yummy and full of Iron!

I really could go on and on and will try and add some more ideas as the year goes on but hopefully this will help for starters.... all of these practices takes little effort and bring plenty of reward!  Don't let another year go by without at least trying one idea...

Please do leave other ideas you yourselves have tried as it's always great to hear of new ones...

ps. Jan - many thanks for instigating this - absolutely great!

25 comments:

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Hi Miranda, I really enjoyed reading your post, and thank you for participating! I especially liked your take on weeds, allowing some 'natural' areas for the wildlife/bees/bugs/etc. That's something many of us might not always consider. Also, re-using plastic bottles, cutting them & placing them in the garden...we hear so much about plastic--since we already have it we might as well put it to good use! Great ideas. Thanks again, you've made me think. I know there are so many things that I don't do...I'm paying more and more attention these days.

Edith Hope said...

Dear Miranda, This posting is packed with excellent ideas for gardeners who are committed to trying to preserve natural resources and inflicting as little harm on the natural environment as possible.

I thought the cut up plastic bottles, with jagged edges, to be placed around plants as a slug deterrent to be very innovative.

Whatever, as you point out, the greatest success comes from allowing Nature to take its course and working with, rather than against, her.

leavesnbloom said...

Good Evening Miranda - wonderful post with lots of great tips - especially that one about the slugs and the plastic bottles - I really must try that as I love to sew so I have that type of scissor in the house - hope it doesn't blunt them in the process he hee!! I've also seen my friend make little pots from folding a sheet of newspaper - less transplant shock just like your toilet roll pots.

You know your toilet roll pots would be great for bring on sweet pea seedlings - at the local garden centre here they sell pots called root runners specially made for sweet pea seedlings - your idea is economical and would achieve the same results.

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Jan - I think there are probably many things that all of us don't do - it's just good to learn of some new ones... when I get time next weekend, I'll pop over and have a read of the other postings on this - thanks so much for organising it... Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Edith - thanks for your lovely comments - I guess when you find something that works you just want to pass it on and I guess that is partly the essence of why people blog as well as sharing their lovely surrounding and gardens that they visit.
Hope you're having a good week - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Hello Leavesinbloom - thank you very much for your comments and it would appear that the plastic bottle idea for protecting young plants is quite popular! You're absolutely right about the toilet rolls being good for sweet peas and they exactly the same job as the root trainers that you can buy - but the plus point being is that the roots are not disturbed using my method and it's relatively cheap and a way of recyling something that would otherwise be rubbish. The toilet rolls are also great for runner and broad beans as well as smaller french beans too... happy growing and enjoy the rest of your week - Miranda

Noelle said...

I love these tips! Toilet paper rolls, water bottles, such great ideas for re-using common items we all have.

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

I love composting! So satisfying a task, especially when ready to screen the 'black gold' for top dressing or when planting a new specimen. The plastic bottle used as a cloche appears in my beds & borders, too!

Thanks for the reminder that we all must do what we can to be the very best stewards of our fragile planet.

hydroponics said...

Gardening was really a very great thing to do.I am glad you posted an information about it because i am really looking for some data on gardening. I know many learnings will be contribute.

Cheryl said...

And so say all of us.....great post Miranda, you are a girl after my own heart......

Chris said...

Hello Miranda, thanks for a really helpful post! Trail and error is the rule of our gardening :-) If the slugs devour something we don't attempt it again. Also believe there is a lot to crop rotation to stop pest invasions. The idea of working with nature rather than against it really appeals. We aim to add a water butt this year.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Noelle - thank you for your kind comments and yes I love being able to re-use things in gardening that would otherwise be thrown into the rubbish and reducing the need to always go out and buy things.
Take care - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks for popping over B. Tendrils - I don't think you can love gardening without loving the whole composting thing too... the right food for our plants is the essence of the end result! Do hope you have a good weekend - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Hydroponics - many thanks for visiting and glad you liked the posting... Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Cheryl - thankyou for your lovely comments - I often feel that we're singing from the same hymn sheet in many of the things we do and plant in our gardens - with similar thoughts and ideas perhaps... I can't believe how busy I am with work already - was really enjoying having a bit more spare time on my blog... hope your lovely snowdrops and mini irises are enjoying their new home - have a lovely weekend - Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Chris - thanks also for your lovely comments - a water butt is a great asset - I have ours connected to the gutter on our greenhouse - very handy for watering all my plants in there until I switch the pump on for our well which provides the water for the garden during the warmer months. Hope you have a lovely weekend... Miranda x

kate smudges said...

I love the idea of using plastic bottles cut with pinking shears to protect young seedlings. The toilet paper rolls is a great idea too, for starting sweet peas. And as for composting, there's nothing the garden likes better than regular addition of compost. (Can't wait to get into the garden especially as the sky is getting brighter and the days are growing longer.)

Have a wonderful weekend, Miranda!

debsgarden said...

What a great post! i like the idea of using toilet or paper towel tubes for planting seeds. I am planting seeds tomorrow and will do this. Thanks for the tip!

gippslandgardener said...

Hello Miranda, I've just discovered your lovely blog via Jan's at Thanks For Today.
The toilet roll inner for seedlings is an excellent idea, I'm going to start collecting up mine for just that purpose!

Gail said...

Miranda, A very timely and important posting~I am rethinking where my compost pile is located...It's so far away that i don't visit it as much as I ought to...moving it closer is my plan for this spring. Thanks for the incentive! gail

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Kate - I'm so sorry to have taken a whole week to reply to your lovely comments - I've been busy working on a design with rather a tight deadline! Really pleased that the toilet roll idea has given you food for thought! We've had terrible weather here this week - SO wet! Hope you have a good weekend Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Debs - I'm so sorry for taking so long to reply to your kind comments and so pleased that you enjoyed the posting - it's really nice to be able to share the things that work for you with others... here's hoping you have a good weekend - will pop over again to your blog v. soon - Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Gippslandgardener - a real warm welcome to my blog and thanks so much for dropping by... it seems as though the toilet roll idea has been the most popular in this posting and so glad that other people can adopt this idea too - it's been great for me! Will pop over and check out your blog v. soon - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks Gail - having the compost heap within striking distance of the house is quite important - makes it easier to get out to especially in horrible weather... it has done nothing but rain and rain here this week -I wonder if I am ever to start cutting my clients grass!! Bon weekend - Miranda x

tabbycat said...

to protect your vegetables and plants I have found the Slug Bell it uses organic slug pellets which are not scattered on the ground so they are not accessible to children pets wildlife etc. also the pellets do not dissolve into the soil so it really is quite environmentally friendly. look up the website and see for yourself