Creating a ‘sustainable garden’ is something we have been thinking about lately. How can we, as garden enthusiasts and as a company that works closely with the gardening and horticulture industry, reduce the amount of plastic we use in the garden and be kinder to the environment in the process?
The conversation surrounding the world’s usage of plastic has been going for several years now – but recently, with the BBC’s ‘Blue Planet 2’ exposing how much plastic is choking ocean wildlife, and the Government announcing its 25-year environment plan in January, the topic has well and truly come to the fore.
We aren’t the only ones who are giving this topic some thought; BBC Gardeners’ World’s Monty Don, has also made plastic the focus in the garden this year, saying “[plastic] may have made our lives more convenient but it is an environmental disaster”.
Plastic plant pots, seed trays, bags of compost, bottles of plant feed… unfortunately almost all products that are needed by gardeners and allotment holders come wrapped in plastic packaging. Most of which will take hundreds of years to biodegrade.
This spring, the HTA is organising the launch of a nationwide pot recycling scheme, where customers can bring their old plant pots and plant-carrying trays back to garden centres. Many of these items can then be reprocessed into other products and the others decomposed of in an environmentally secure way.
As well as this, manufacturers are introducing pots that can be reused, and reusable trays rather than disposable ones. The aim now is to make sure the entire supply chain, from grower to customer, is a green as it should be.
It isn’t just plastic that is a growing concern to us, what else can we do to create a sustainable garden? Here are some ideas for ways we can be kinder to the environment:
Walk on the wild side
Why not let an area of your garden grow a little bit wild? It needn’t be the entire garden, but a small area that is allowed to grow freely will encourage a whole host of wildlife to your garden. You can sow some wildflowers, let the weeds grow and the bees and butterflies will thank you for it
Recycle rain water
Invest in a waterbutt to collect rainwater to use in your garden instead of a hose. This natural resource is actually better for your plants than tap water and will help you save on your water bill!
Create a compost heap
Making your own compost has many benefits. You can create your own constant supply that has all the nutrients necessary for your plants to thrive, and you never need to buy your own from a garden centre again! Not only that, you can reduce the amount of household waste you throw away each week. Any raw, natural kitchen waste, such as vegetable peelings and eggshells, as well as garden waste such as leaves, grass clippings and branches (always check they aren’t diseased first), can be used on the compost heap.
Make your own seedling trays and plant pots
Instead of plastic seedling trays, you can create your own, biodegradable versions! An egg carton makes the perfect container for starting off your seeds, as do eggshells.
You can also create your own miniature pots from everyday items such as empty loo rolls and rolled up newspaper. When the seedlings are ready to be planted outside, simply place them in the soil, container and all!