April is sustainability month at Eden Gardens and we will be hosting a variety of talks, workshops and other events to celebrate. Gardeners are often great custodians of the environment, being nature lovers, but there are always ways you (and we) can improve.
Sustainability Tips for Gardeners
We have a bay at Eden Gardens were plastic pots can be recycled. If you are raising your own seedlings, you might want to come and get some second-hand small pots from our supply, or use a biodegradable jiffy or peat pot for the purpose. Eggshells and egg cartons are another great vessel for seed raising. Many wholesale nurseries also recycle their pots, and where possible we will purchase from those that are EcoHort certified.
- Plant markers, tripods and other garden ephemera
Whilst many plants come with plastic tags, labelling plants in your patch sown from seed need to result in additions that are more plastic. Other alternatives include reusing the seed packet, and placing a glass jar upturned over it to keep off the rain. Other markers made from metal foil, bamboo, slate, terracotta and wood are all great alternatives that also add some whimsy to your patch. If you’re tying plants, rather than use plastic coated string, always use twine, or even strips of fabric or old t-shirts, which are great as they have some flexibility. When staking plants use bamboo or wooden stakes and hessian webbing.
- Storing and saving seed
Keeping seeds from your flower and vegie garden for sowing again the following season is a fantastic way to develop climate resilience for your plants, as each life cycle becomes better adapted to your exact location and climatic conditions. Save seeds and store them in envelopes, jars and even old Tupperware containers and tins to keep them fresh for the following season. If you plant on storing them for a while, an airtight container in the fridge is perfect.
- Repair your tools and look after them
Investing once in quality tools will save you in the long term. Look after them with an annual light sand and linseed over the timber components, and rub an oily rag over the metal components to save them going rusty. If you happen to lose handle, learn how to replace it rather than buy a completely new item. Ditto your secateurs and pruning shears. Good pairs have replaceable parts and blades can be sharpened simply. Men’s sheds are a great place to learn these skills, with plenty of folk able to share their knowledge from times when throw away societies just did not exist.
- Ditch the weeds
Weeds cost NSW approximately $65 million annually to control. We all want our bushland areas to remain as pristine as possible, and our gardens to be weed free, so be careful with what you plant. Check out the Nursery and Garden Industry web site www.growmeinstead.com.au for a range of alternatives to some pesty plants that may be garden escapees. Hand weed wherever possible to save using weedicides, try organic weedicides instead of glyphosate and keep plants mown or pruned before they seed if you cannot control them in other ways. Don’t compost weeds with seeds or bulbs that can may infest your garden, and consider making ‘weed soup’ out of fleshy annual weeds to recycle them into liquid fertiliser.