City or suburban, young or old – everyone likes a garden and especially one that looks good and doesn’t cost the earth to create!
With a little bit of planning, you can preserve the plants you have while contributing to the environment and at the same time grow some food for yourself and your friends without having to rely wholly on the supermarket each week.
1. Take cuttings
If you do this before the end of the season and you will ensure your plants go further next year. If you have too many cuttings, grow them to maturity and give them as presents.
2. Grow your own
Growing your own vegetables and herbs doesn’t have to involve expert knowledge – anyone can do this. All you need is a bit of soil and a packet of seeds – you can even use a used plastic food container to grow things in (see tip 54). For an easy start, try growing herbs and tomatoes from springtime onwards – both can be grown inside and put outside once the frost has gone.
3. Register for an allotment
Allotments are becoming very popular and you can grow yourself a range of vegetables, fruit or as some people prefer flowers for cutting. Properly planned, planted and tended, an allotment can provide most of your vegetable needs for a whole year!
4. Create a compost bin
Add grass cuttings, clippings or vegetable peelings to it. Turn the contents of the bin with a pitch fork regularly and before you know it, you’ll have a rich, free source of compost for new plants and plants that have been in the same spot for years and need fresh nutrients. As well as using peelings from the kitchen, you can also compost unwanted paper and cardboard. Tear/shred it first and then add it between your other compost stuff. It will rot down in no time at all and insects will love it contributing to faster compost.
5. Save your plastic pots
Wash and save anything plastic that food has arrived in and use for seedlings and small plants. A couple of holes in the bottom of any pot will ensure that your plant grows just as well as if it were in a standard plastic pot. Apart reducing the environmental impact caused by dumping plastic into landfill sites do you think your herbs give a hoot what they are grown in?