New year, new beginnings.
It’s exciting to start a fresh new gardening year and I always try to think about my intentions for the year ahead. What I enjoyed and what I’d like to repeat, what new plants I’d like to try and grow and what lessons I’ve learnt along the way. I ask myself questions about whether my gardening practises are the best they can be and if not what changes would I like to make to be a more accomplished and environmentally conscious gardener.
With this in mind I’ve compiled a list of ideas that you might want to consider for your garden, allotment and even your window ledge in 2021;
1. Grow More Houseplants
Ok, not technically in your garden but certainly should not be overlooked. Houseplants have seen a huge resurgence, possibly due to many homes not having an outdoor space, or maybe because people have finally come to their senses and realised just how cool they are? (Are kids still saying cool?) Due to their ever growing popularity, we now have an abundance of choice too, all shapes, sizes, colours the options are endless.
But its not all aesthetics, there are some practical uses for houseplants too. They improve the air quality in the home, they help to relieve stress and they aid concentration. With more and more of us working from home these days, what better excuse do you need to kit your office out with some new plants.
2. Propagation For The Nation
Once you begin your adventure with houseplants, can I urge you to start propagating them. House plants can be expensive and propagating them is dead simple and you can multiply your collection and save money in the meantime. Just make sure you have a selection of bottles and jars and a clear window ledge.
I will be doing a practical guide on how to propagate later on, so subscribe so you don't miss it!
3. Use Less Plastic
There are so many plastic free alternatives out there, that’s one of the reasons why I started this business. Please don’t throw away what you already have but can I urge you to try something new, start small, maybe instead of buying a plastic seed tray, you swap it out and buy a bamboo or coir fibre one. Start with the basics and each time you need a replacement for the garden ask yourself, is there a plastic free alternative?
Trying an alternative to plastic sends a very powerful message to the industry that we are conscious consumers and we demand a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative. On our website you find all the basics you need to get started, so take a look and see if there is something you think you might be interested in trying.
4. Grow Your Own
I’m super passionate about growing my own food, there really is nothing better than going out into the garden and picking your lunch. It’s fresh, it’s jam packed full of goodness, zero carbon footprint and you know exactly where its been and how its been grown.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, if I’ve proven anything this past year it’s that you can grow a garden from nothing. Looking back, all our success has been from up-cycling and using whatever we had, even out of date seed!
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog, will know that I love to make my own compost and last year I spent a couple of days straight, emptying and sieving homemade compost in my back yard. Making any type of compost, whether in a wormery or a bin, is beneficial to the environment and your garden. It means you are sending less waste off to landfill and you are adding all that richness back into the earth. Also it comes in plastic - so ditch it and make your own.
6. Go Peat Free
If there is one thing you choose from this list, its to go peat free. The production of peat is incredibly destructive and harmful to the environment, not to mention the loss of wildlife habitat and the the release of carbon when extracted. It’s not sustainable, whatever you may read in the press from “industry experts”, it’s archaic and outdated and no longer relevant. There is no reason why any good gardener needs to be using peat, also it comes in plastic - so ditch it and try an alternative there are plenty of sustainable ones to choose from.
7. Plant A Tree
There is a tree for every size garden and if you don’t have a garden then there are some incredible companies that you can donate to who will gladly plant one for you in a well needed location. Trees are vital to the environment and have many benefits, they absorb carbon dioxide, reduce flooding, they are a great source of food and shelter for wildlife and they can reduce the temperature in urban areas. Not to mention the health benefits gained from spending time amongst trees.
8. Welcome Wildlife
Do everything you can to create a healthy ecosystem in your garden. Wildlife are imperative to a healthy ecosystem from the birds to the pollinators, even the not so nice aphids as these serve as food for the birds and other insects you are trying to encourage to stay. So dig a pond, make sure you have bird feeders, plant flowers for the pollinators, encourage hedgehogs (they will take care of your slugs and snails) and leave patches of long grass for the moths and dragonflies.
9. Go Organic
In order to achieve the above you need to be sure you are not using any substances, especially those ending in “cides”. Encouraging a healthy ecosystem means it’s safer for pollinators, birds and you. It’s better for your garden and your health. And don’t forget if you really struggle getting your ecosystem working for you, there are organic options you can try, such as nematodes but even they require work, there is no easy fix, everything takes time.
10. Water Wise
It seems ironic to discuss using water wisely since it hasn’t stopped raining since October. But it is a serious element in the garden and without it we simply wouldn’t be able to grow as much variety as we do. It is not a resource that should be taken lightly.
If you have a garden, install a water butt, if you have a water butt already then install a second one! Harvesting rainwater is so beneficial for the garden as well as your wallet. Most gardeners love to get out the hose and can use up to 1,000 litres of water per hour! Using a watering can reduces this dramatically and some sensible introductions into the garden can also help. Mulching helps retain moisture, you can reuse ‘grey’ water from your house, for example pasta water, bath water (assuming you don’t use any nasty bubble bath) can all be used on your boarders and pots. You can also grow draught tolerant plants, like grasses, lavender and hebe to name just a few.
I hope you have found some inspiration here and please let me know how you get on with your New Years resolutions.