That was a long time ago, today I still find myself involved with the three R’s which today stand for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The new three R’s have also now generated a new set of Ten Commandments which we should try to follow if we have any regard for the environment.
1. Build a Compost Heap.
In the UK we produce enough garden waste each year to fill the Albert Hall seventy times over. Just imagine all of that material put back into our gardens? It’s not difficult to produce good compost either by the use of the special bins you can buy or just by building a good old fashioned compost heap. For further interest, especially for children, why not obtain a wormery.
2. Collect Rain Water
Only 59% of the UK population collects rainwater. Water butts are the easiest way to do this and can often be linked together so that as one fills it automatically switches to another. Most water butts will come with these special fittings which will also connect up to downspouts. The good news is that only 5% of domestic water is used on gardens, however the bad news is that on summer evenings this usage can increase to 50% of consumption.
3. Use Mulch
Trap moisture and suppress weeds by the use of mulch. Bark, plastic membrane or even rotted leaves could be used for this. You need to ensure that it is put down to a depth of three to four inches, and always on to moist soil.
4. Stop Using Slug Pellets.
Try to prevent damage from these pests in other ways. Try using physical barriers to prevent them reaching your plants. Plants in pots can be protected by banding the pots with copper. Large pots with extensive leaf cover can be usefully protected by spreading ‘cat litter’ underneath the leaves which has the action of ‘drying’ slugs up as they attempt to cross. Encouraging black garden beetles is a great deterrent for slugs.
5. Think Wildlife
Water will attract lots of wildlife from slug eating frogs and toads to amazing dragonflies. You don’t have to dig a massive pond, just an old sink or tin bath will do. A ‘pond in a pot’ is something which would bring great benefit to your garden.
6. Bug Hotels.
Why not build some ‘bug hotels in the garden; areas where wildlife can breed or hibernate. Water, food and shelter are the basic requirements for bugs. Eco-friendly gardens should have some quiet cozy corners for all of this. Bug Hotels can be constructed of straw, old pots, disused mop heads or even the cardboard tubes fromtoilet rolls. If none of this is possible then why not just a pile of logs somewhere in a quiet corner.
7. Mow by Hand
Depending on the size of your garden is it possible to mow the lawn with a ‘push’ mower? It’s good exercise, reduces noise and carbon emissions. If your lawn is too big, manufacturers have started remaking battery powered mowers which will cut even the biggest of lawns. Remember, petrol powered garden tools account for 2.1% of the UK’s hydrocarbon emissions.
8. Garden Boundaries
Instead of building fences or walls, why not plant a ‘native’ hedge such as Hawthorn or Beech in order to encourage more insects and nesting places for birds.
9. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Fruit.
Not only would this give you more exercise, but obviously the end results would be healthier. If you find it difficult to produce enough food for all year round then buy local, again reducing food miles.
10. Calculate Your Own Carbon Footprint – by going online and using the carbon calculators available.
Like it or not we will, in the not too distant future, be charged for the way in which we dispose of such things as household waste. Before this happens why not make your own arrangements to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.