Issue 104 is out now
Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

12th February 2012

To create a safe haven for your children and wildlife choose to go organic in the garden. Avoid harmful chemicals like insecticides and herbicides and embrace nature instead. We share some top tips on going organic in the garden.

Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

12th February 2012

Melissa Corkhill

By Melissa Corkhill

12th February 2012

Start Small You don’t need a garden to grow things – chillies, peppers, tomatoes and basil will all thrive on a sunny windowsill. Sprout seeds for fresh greens every day. If you have a patio or balcony you have even greater scope. A tray of salads and greens is a good use of space as they taste so much better freshly picked and salads in supermarkets are over packaged and expensive. Choose organic seeds to ensure that you garden is 100% organic. See organiccatalog.com or tamarorganics.co.uk. Gardenorganic.co.uk has lots of helpful facts sheets and advice on creating and maintaining a natural space without recourse to chemicals. For organic seedlings visit rocketgardens.co.uk or organicplants.co.uk.

Enhance The Soil You can compost nearly all your waste food, garden waste and cardboard. You can build your own bin with a few planks of wood, or cut the bottom off an old rubbish bin. Lots of councils offer subsidised composting equipment. At the top end, greencone.com offer a solar-powered compost bin for £68, which comes with its own accelerator.

Push Power One petrol lawnmower generates as much pollution in an hour as driving a car for 100 miles. Get a manual mower instead. It may take a bit more elbow grease but mowing the lawn is a far pleasanter form of exercise than slogging down the gym. Manualmowers.co.uk offer a range of hand powered equipment for lawns.

Sparkly Nights Instead of electric lighting for parties and summer evenings why not fill all your used jam jars with tea lights for a really magical effect? If you choose to have lights in the garden look for solar powered ones. Green store greenerbynature.co.uk has an excellent range of eco friendly lighting products. Choose natural materials for your garden in order to avoid carbon intensive production and eventual disposal of plastics and other petroleum products. At fig1.co.uk there is a beautiful selection of green gardening goodies including recycled tyre baskets and trugs and coir pots.

Save Water Firstly get a water butt for collecting rainwater. This is good for the health of your plants and more economical too. Plants prefer rainwater to mains water. Leave grass cuttings on the lawn. And for deep greenies, do away with the lawn and grow food instead. Mulch around plants using homemade compost and grow companion plants such as squash around the base of sweetcorn and beans to retain moisture in the soil. Water early in the morning to stop it all evaporating or the leaves of sensitive plants getting burnt.

Say No To Peat Over 90% of peat bogs in this country have been damaged or destroyed – mostly in the last 50 years. Peat bogs are thousands of years old and help us to understand our climate and environment better. Many also support wildlife. Around 70% of peat use today is by gardeners as potting compost. Make your own compost, buy peat-free compost where necessary, and ensure that any plants you buy are supplied in peat free compost. Find out more at rspb.org.uk.

FURTHER READING:
The Organic Garden: Green gardening for a Healthy Planet by Allan Shepherd “I love this book – it’s full of great ideas and information. Quirky illustrations and lush photography add to the appeal.”
Organic Gardening: The Natural No-Dig Way by Charles Dowding “My type of gardening! – there’s no need to dig, let nature do her work and your soil will be in optimum health and fertility. Seriously, this is a vital book packed with insight and inspiration and a good read too.”
The Self-Sufficientish Bible by Andy and Dave Hamiliton “A gorgeous book stuffed with ideas on how to go green in every area of your life but with particular emphasis on growing and eating your own. I refer back to this bible time and time again.”
The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Complete Guide to Natural and Chemical-free Gardening “I would love to own two copies of this book one for the bookshelf for curling up on the sofa in the winter months and the other for the greenhouse, ready at hand to share tips and advice, identify problems and offer solutions. A brilliant comprehensive guide.”
Organic Gardening by Geoff Hamiliton “Another lush, well produced book packed with easy to follow information and insight from one of our best-loved gardeners.”

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