Whether you have a blossoming balcony, indoor paradise, or a fully-fledged garden or allotment, here are some tips to keep your garden healthy while protecting the planet. Here in London, we find it both therapeutic and satisfying to maintain our small pockets of green paradise, not only can plants have a positive impact on mental health but also on air quality. In a city with notably poor air quality, it is a great way to offset the pollution in the air and create a healthy home and what is more satisfying that harvesting your own grown food!
1.Reuse and upcycle when planting
Create a small compostable planters to start seeds indoors (tomatoes, peppers and cucumber) with toilet rolls.
Reuse old plastic pots or takeaway containers as planting trays, making sure you add drainage at the bottom (eggs shells, nuts shells, sand or small stones or pebbles) and don’t over water.
Check how to make compostable seed starters
2.Share your plants and seeds
Swap seeds and plantlets with your friends and family or join a local plants swap group on facebook.
3. Organic plant care
Fertilise your plants with old banana peels stored in a jar and fill with water making sure the banana peel is below the water level, to avoid mould forming, store out of direct sunlight for two weeks, before pouring into the soil around the plant. The potassium in the peels promotes growth from the roots up.
Repel slugs by spreading broken eggshells at the base of the plant, this makes it harder for the slugs to reach the plant.
Repel aphids and various other bugs by spraying a mixture of soap diluted in water in a ratio of 1tsp of soap flakes, castile soap or dishwasher liquid to 250ml of water.
Start your own compost heap. Make yourself a garden composting bin use Peat free compost to start yourself off and make sure, especially if you are composting your food waste, your compost bin is secure against rats and foxes but has small heavy-duty mesh on the bottom so that it is able to drain. You can also compost your garden waste.
Get a wormery. Wormeries are perfect for tight space or balconies. Fun for families they also provide your garden with "worm tea", a rich liquid fertilizer.
When buying compost be sure to check that it is peat-free. Peat bogs contribute considerably to the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere, in fact, peatland in the UK stores up to 8 years of the UK's emissions outlet, on average 10 times more carbon per hectare than any other ecosystem, including forests*. When the bog is dried up to harvest the peat, lots of the CO2 is then re-released back into the atmosphere, the peat bog is also a vital habitat for local wildlife, which is completely destroyed when harvested. Keep from using compost with peat to protect the peatlands.
5. Save Water
Collect rainwater in a large bin (DIY Water Butt) to use when watering your plants.
Collect water at home when you wash your veggies or anything without chemical soap. We water using my kids bath water as we only use natural soap and essential oils.
You can also lay down mulch, bark chippings or straw over the soil to slow the water evaporating from the soil. Saving water is more and more important especially in the face of climate change, with hotter and drier summers ahead.
6. Grow sustainably
Native wildflowers aid the revitalisation of the natural habitat of local species, encouraging biological diversity, bringing life into the garden. Plant the wildflowers and watch the busy bees and butterflies pollinate your garden.
Grow your own veg or fruit from leftover scraps. Spring onions can be brought back to life and old potatoes can be replanted and tomato seeds can be planted to bear fruit the following year. Follow the hashtag #regrownveggies on Instagram for tips.
If you don't have an outdoor space have a go at sprouting pulses or seeds. They are a great sources of nutriments and look amazing!
Grow water-saving plants, these plants are often best suited for warmer climates and are best kept indoors as house plants, and are also great for those who are prone to forget to water their plants! These include spider plant, rubber plant, cactus, peace lily, snake plant and many more.
You can also quite easily take cuttings of your favourite plant to gift to your family and friends. Here is an Instagram live we did on the benefits of indoor plants and propagation: