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Sustainable gardening

Soil

Feed soil with organic matter to nurture it:

No dig methods add 2-3” compost as a mulch on top each year

Don’t disturb mycorrhyzal fungi that allow plant roots to take up nutrients from the soil

Exclude light from very weedy areas so the weeds die off – black plastic, compost or other mulch

 

Water

Prepare for drought and heavy rainfall: climate change means we have more extreme weather events.

Feed your soil with organic matter to support it during extremes

Mulch to conserve soil moisture

Water mainly at planting or sowing

‘Puddling’ at planting gets them off to a good start – wet soil, allow to drain, then repeat before planting seeds or seedlings

Water less often with more volume

Collect rainwater for your plants rather than treated tap water

Consider a rainbox planter or rain garden --https://www.hkdtransition.org.uk/rain-gardens 

Seeds and plants

Save seeds, swap with other gardeners. Swap plants.

Choose plants carefully for drier areas (drought-resistant plant guide from RHS on https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=397 

Bog gardens thrive in wet areas - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=356  

 

Wildlife/bugs

Encouraging wildlife into your garden can help reduce the ‘pests’ that eat your crops:

Hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds eat aphids – encourage beneficial insects by planting what they like. See https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/beneficial-insects 

Hedgehogs like slugs – their numbers have fallen by 30% in last 10 years so if you see one take care of it by creating nesting sots and hedgehog streets. http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hedgehogs

Frogs and toads eat slugs and snails – a small pond or bog garden would be good for them

Protect newly planted seedlings with a collar cut from a yoghurt pot or plastic bottle – use many times

Other resources

A talk on neonicotinoids by Dave Goulson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16Y33t9VCEE offers and overview of the problems with this group of chemicals.

 

A list of neonic containing chemicals available to the general public http://earthfriendlygardener.net/2015/07/29/neonicotinoids-neonics-bees-insects-bugs-gardening-spray-honey-pollen-acetamiprid-thiacloprid-allotment

 

Biosecurity and the Buglife campaign PotWatch https://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns-and-our-work/campaigns/potwatch

 

Dave Goulson's blog about the findings of pesticide screening of plants known to be attractive to pollinators (and often actively marketed as such) http://splash.sussex.ac.uk/blog/for/dg229/2017/06/01/pesticides-in-beefriendly-flowers

 

Hoverfly lagoons http://thebuzzclub.uk/Hoverfly_Lagoons.php are one of the pollinator project being run by the Buzz Club out of the University of Sussex.