I've learnt many tips and tricks over the years and this is a space where I can share them with everyone. Some of them I've read about, some I've seen in gardens I've visited and others I've made up myself. They are my #toptiptuesday (tips and tricks) and you can see them here or on our instagram account, every Tuesday. Hope you find something useful to help you on your plastic free gardening journey.
When it comes to small succulents and cacti, we tend to use a damp artists paintbrush to help remove the dust and it works a treat!
Don't be too hasty to prune the old flower heads too soon. Leaving them on helps to protect the new buds over winter. Deadhead in the Spring, cutting just above the new growth.
Young hedgehogs will have started out on their own adventures leaving mum behind and with numbers rapidly declining it’s important that we help as much as we can. One struggle hedgehogs face is moving from one garden to the next, so it’s a great idea to make a hedgehog highway, so that they can come and go with ease. It doesn’t have to be elaborate just remove a section at the bottom of your gate or fence.
I’m a strong believer in using what you have and not letting anything go to waste (including plastic if you already have a bunch in your potting shed) commonly known now as #upcycling
I’ve found that supporting your squashes with scrunched up hessian helps to keep them protected from any chance of rotting, especially if you are growing in pots or planters. It also helps as a barrier from slug and snail attacks, the rougher the better!
Now is a great time to be making and putting up bug hotels, in preparation for your overwintering guests. Pollinators are vital for the ecosystem in your garden, so lets look after them. Whilst they are visiting the garden pollinating your flowers & vegetables, why not catch their eye with some fancy dwellings.
Use old strips of wood as plant markers, sand them down and they are good to be used over and over again.
'Some see a weed, others see a wish.' These 'weeds' can result in enough nectar for 10 times more bees and other pollinators. So don't be ashamed of the dandelions in your lawn because someone somewhere loves them!
Using pistachio shells around the edge of a pot sure does make life a little uncomfortable for the uninvited slugs and snails. I’ve found that pistachio nuts work best probably due to the salt on the shell, which they really don’t like.
At this time of year many of our beautiful garden birds will be on the look out for nesting material & its a good idea to give them a helping hand by putting out some old twine & bits of old basket coir for easy access. The less time they have to spend searching for material the more time they can spend building & laying eggs. And with all that building and rearing going on, make sure your feeders & tables are stocked well, as these new parents are going to need all the energy they can get.
Adding a pond or water feature adds diversity to the natural eco system. It encourages wildlife which may predate on some of those uninvited garden guests like aphids, slugs and snails in the most natural way. It’s not just beneficial for wildlife, the benefits go beyond aesthetics. Research shows just being around water can help reduce stress. Flowing water releases negative ions into the atmosphere that help to purify the air thus helping to sooth and even lower blood pressure.
One of the first easy swaps we did when we started our #plasticfree journey was to change from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo toothbrush. Back then most bamboo toothbrushes still had nylon bristles. But now there are many bamboo brushes on the market that have biodegradable bristles. Once we have finished using them, we remove the bristles, compost them and then use the bamboo handles as plant markers in our garden.