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gardening

Garden, Home and Garden

Sustainable Garden Ideas

reclaimed garden seating

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You might be thinking that the end of November is a bit of a funny time to be thinking about your garden.  I’m a staunch believer that winter is the very best time to plan your garden.  You want to be sowing seeds in around about March/April time, so taking some time to really think about want you want to grow and where is, in my books, time never wasted.

Also, right now I am itching to overhaul our garden.  I had hoped to do it in the summer of this year, but sadly the funds we’d saved up to do the garden had to be spent on other things that popped up unexpectedly.  We are now currently saving towards the garden improvement fund, and using this time to plan out our garden.

It’s been quite fun – I love doing stuff like this – and I thought I’d share some of the sustainable garden ideas that I’m keen to incorporate into our future garden:

Reclaimed Materials

reclaimed garden seating

I’m keen to use as many reclaimed materials as possible in the garden for two reasons – to keep costs down and to make the garden greener.  I’d love to create some seating in the garden, and I came across this reclaimed seating made from glass bottles, building waste, rocks and scaffold boards.  It was designed by Ben Chandler and is a thing of beauty!

Green Roofs

bike shed green roof

I’ve mentioned before that I’d love to install a green roof on top of our bike shed, like this one found here.  As well as being visually stunning, it adds a little bit more biodiversity into your garden in an otherwise unused area.

Water Conservation

sustainable garden ideas

Water is a precious resource, so conserving it is a priority.  We have bog standard water butts on our allotment, but in your garden you might want something a little easier on the eye.  I came across this barrel style water butt on Pumpkin Beth and think something like this might fit the bill better in our garden.

Wildlife Ponds

wildlife pond

Something my partner would absolutely love to do is to add a small wildlife pond to our garden, like this beautiful example found here.  Given that our garden is tiny then something this size is out of the question, but in truth, even a small wildlife pond can be beneficial to local wildlife, providing a refuge and a home to freshwater creatures.

Over the last 100 years it’s estimated that the UK has lost almost half a million ponds, threatening freshwater species, so adding even a small barrel pond specially designed with wildlife in mind.  Here’s a handy guide on how to make one in a barrel or bucket if like me, space is at a premium.

Planting Native Speciessustainable garden design ideas

Another thing I’m to do is to plant as many native species as possible, including bee friendly native plants to help support wildlife. I’m thinking alliums, bluebells, honeysuckle, fox gloves, comfrey and hellebores.

Vegetable wise, right now I’m avidly pouring over the Real Seeds seeds selection.  They sell heirloom and heritage vegetable seeds -with the promise of no F1 hybrids or genetically modified seeds.  This means you can even save your own vegetable seed for future years, meaning there’s no need to buy new seed every year, and your vegetables adapt to your local conditions.  Although we grow most of our vegetables on our allotment, will like to keep some herbs to hand in our garden for easy pickings, and we’ve found that courgettes grow better in our garden than on the allotment bizarrely.

Although we endeavour to do much of the work ourselves to save money, if doing work on your garden yourself sounds a bit out of your skill level then I found a handy table that guides you through how much garden design might cost you.  Any good gardener/landscaper will be able to incorporate sustainable garden ideas into your garden design, so it’s no bad thing if you don’t/can’t go down the DIY route.

Garden, Home and Garden

Easy Homemade Weed Killer Recipe

homemade weed killer recipe

Hey!  I’ve got an easy homemade weed killer recipe for you today!

Weed killer is one of those things that makes me feel a bit uneasy.  I don’t like to keep it in the house, and I don’t like to use it in the garden.  I’ve recently come up with my own eco-friendly homemade weed killer to tackle the persistent weeds that blight our yard, but is gentle on the wildlife that frequent it (like this little guy).

I mentioned the other week that I’ve been trying to turn our unloved yard into a cared for space that we enjoying using.  Along with a good clear out, a lick of paint, a few plants and hanging baskets, and this homemade weed killer recipe, I feel like I’m slowly getting somewhere with the yard.

This wildlife friendly weed killer contains just three common household ingredients that you’ll probably have to hand – white vinegar, salt and washing up liquid.  The vinegar and salt help to dry out the weeds, and the washing up liquid ensures the salty vinegar solution sticks to the leaves of the weed.

See the results for yourself!

homemade weedkiller recipe

Want the recipe?  Of course you do!  Here you go!

Homemade Weed Killer Recipe

You Will Need:

1 litre white vinegar

3 large spoons of salt

3 large spoons of  washing up liquid / dish soap (Don’t worry if it’s a more environmentally friendly brand – I used Ecover and it did the job)

Spray bottle

Method:

Add your salt to your vinegar and stir until dissolved.

Once the salt is dissolved add your washing up liquid, and stir well.

To Use:

This homemade weed killer recipe works best on a sunny day.  I’d suggest applying at midday, or just before, when the sun is at it’s peak.

The weed killer works indiscriminately on all plant life, and can turn your soil acidic.  For this reason it’s best used to kill weeds that have appeared in the gaps between paving slabs or mono blocks, rather than to tackle the weeds in your lawn or flower bed.

For small weeds and younger dandelions spray the solution directly on to the leaves.

For larger, more well established weeds spray the leaves and also pour a good glug on to the plant.  It’s very effective – you should notice the weeds beginning to wilt within an hour.

This homemade weedkiller recipe probably won’t kill dandelion roots, but it’s a quick, easy and green way to deal with dandelions and other weeds as soon as they appear.

More green gardening tips this way!