Gardening with rubbish
Getting the mix right
The compost bin
Recycle, re-use, reduce
Recycle re-use reduce is the mantra of modern society a society fast getting swept away in a sea of plastics. We all need to stop and think about what we use and how to get the most out of what we got. With this in mind I’ve been thinking reuse recycle reduce as I’ve been gardening, I hope to pass on some ideas and would be grateful for your ideas. I’m sure between us we can start to make a difference.
I can’t emphasize the joy and the usefulness of composting. Turning common waste into something so different it’s almost magical. There are plenty of hubs that fully explain how to compost, but here are the basics. Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny site on bare soil. If you have to put your compost bin on concrete or tarmac make sure there’s a layer of soil in the bottom. Choose a place where you can easily add ingredients to the bin and get the compost out.
Have a container available such as an old ice cream tub. Fill your container with everything from vegetable and fruit peelings to teabags, toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes and eggshells. The toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes e.t.c is known as browns, vegetable peelings, teabags eggshells etc are known as greens. Take care not to compost cooked food, meat, fish, cheese and perennial weeds. I have the dandelions to prove that composting them is not good.
Empty your container along with your garden waste into your compost bin. An equal mix of greens and browns is the perfect recipe for good compost once your compost has turned into a crumbly, dark material, resembling thick, moist soil and gives off an earthy, fresh aroma, you know it’s ready to use.
The nasty plastic flower pots are everywhere, any plant you buy has one of them attach to it. Yes they can be reused-after being cleaned, but what to do if you need seed trays or pots for seedlings and plants. I use the tray meat comes in for seed trays. Punch a few holes in the bottom clean it then fill it with compost and away you go. For bigger seeds I use the paper cups from a certain fast-food restaurant. Runner beans germinate well in them and when you see the roots coming through the bottom its time to plant out, with no need to remove the cup: so little root disturbance. However if you don’t have enough paper cups you can make your own pots out of newspaper, a truly green thing to do.
A blast from the past
The best slug killer
Slugs and snails
How we hate these creatures, the damage they do to plants is devastating, but before you reach for the slug pellets think. Slug pellets are poisoned cereal chunks. Metaldehyde and methiocarb — the two most common slug poisons — would not on their own be an attractive proposition to slugs. Slugs would rather eat nice young shoots than poisons so manufacturers have to put the poison in a bait, Unfortunately these cereal chunks also attract dogs, birds and beetles — causing death or injury if consumed in large numbers. Now you probably think like I did large numbers, I don’t use enough to harm anything. Well large numbers mean over time. So year after year slug pellets do harm wildlife and family pets. Long term use of slug pellets adversely affects the soil in the garden and if it gets into the water table affects drinking water. So we need to find other ways of keeping down slugs and snails. The most popular and from what I’ve heard is using nematodes. Slug nematodes are microscopically small worms that are capable of effectively parasitizing and killing slugs. Totally safe to use, will not harm pets, people or wildlife. However the affects last just about six weeks. However if applied in spring will give plants a chance at establishing themselves. Personally I use a number of physical barriers. Crushed egg shells, sawdust or sharp gravel scattered around young plants keep the slugs at bay. Of course beer traps are the most used way of controlling slugs. Simply bury jam jars filled with the cheapest beer, not lager then empty and refill as needed. Working in a very similar way are grapefruit rinds Cut a grapefruit in half and scoop out the flesh, leaving the empty rind. .Place the rind, upside-down (skin up, pith down), in your garden wherever you've noticed slug damage. A few of these simple traps scattered throughout your vegetable garden or perennial beds will go a long way toward taking care of your slug problem.
Let the rind sit overnight. Another worthwhile slug barrier is copper tape, most beneficial around containers. Look for good deals though as it can be expensive.
More rubbish ideas
Old CD’s or DVD’s make a wonderfully colorful bird scarer; just hang them from fruit trees etc. to discourage birds from pecking the fruit. Not only effective but they reflect the light nicely.
Old lemonade bottles make super mini cloches, just cut off the bottom and insert over your tender plant. I’ve also herd if you put them along a row of just germinated carrots you won’t be troubled by carrot root fly.
Reuse and collect seeds, don’t get caught out by sell by dates on packets-it is just a way for the manufacturers to make you buy more. My runner bean seeds were 5 years old and every one of them germinated.
Please feel free to add your recycling ideas the more we have the more of a difference we can make
More of my gardening hubs
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- ladybirds and lacewings
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