Gardening & DIY

 

Gardening

If you are lucky enough to call a patch of land your own, then why not transform it into a wild-life haven?

According to the latest State of Nature report, 15% or more than 1 in 10 of wildlife species in the UK are threatened with extinction.  It states that “nature is faring worse in the UK than in most other countries.” Even though, most of this degenerative impact is due to intensive farming (another reason in favour of organic agriculture), your garden can make a big difference for wildlife. For more information, here are some articles from the New Scientist, the Guardian and the National Trust.

-But first off a word about bees: We should always remember that we all depend on bees and other pollinators for our continuous food supply – no bees = no pollination = no fruit etc.

Unfortunately, bee populations all over the world are being decimated due to the use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids and glyphosate — made by giant chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto (for more information, click here) .

The threat to our bee population (& therefore our food supply) is so great, that we should all do what we can to provide some l food for them and all we can do to avoid harming them, which includes the absence of weed killers in your garden. Especially the popular weed-killer Roundup by Monsanto has been in the spotlight for it’s damaging effect on bees and the environment. 

It's also not just the bees that are being endangered by the use of pesticides and herbicides but our ow health too, as this article in the Ecologist shows.

And here is the next problem: Your willingness to help and provide food for bees in your own garden might even add to their demise, as many plants from garden centres come laden with pesticides. So check with your garden cnetre first before you buy and avoid any kind of weed-killers. For bee-friendly advice have a look at Friends of the Earth's website. They also provide a guide to bee-friendly nurseries as does the Ethicalconsumer. You can sign a petition calling on a ban on these pesticides here.

 

Finally some links on how to make your garden into a wildlife haven: 

           - Click here for a link to the RSPB's "Creating a wildlife friendly garden"

           - Click here for a link to the Wild Life Trusts' "How to get started guide"    

           - Click here for a link to The Telegraph's "25 ways to get wirldlife into your garden"

And if you want to experience the pleasure to eat vegetables grown by yourself, check out the Royal Horticultural Society's expert advice on "How to get started" or an "A-Z of vegetable" growing tips.

Just make sure that your peaceful gardening activities don't become a battle with slugs, who love home-grown vegetables as much as we do. I don't believe in killing any animals, so here are a few advice on how to get rid of slugs without poison or killings:

              * Use slug deterring plants: Slugs don't like (the smell of) the following plants, so if you plant them alongside your other

                plants, they will act as a natural pesticide: Astrantia, wormwood, rue, fennel, anise and rosemary, mint, chives, garlic,

                geraniums, and  foxgloves.

              * Get wildlife to do the job: Slugs don't like to be out in the open so try to remove anything they could hide under that is

                 unnecessary, like old garden furniture, bricks etc. and encourage their natural predators into your garden: toads, newts, 

                 hedgehogs and song thrushes love a good slug.

              * Create uncomfortable barriers:  Slugs are soft-bodied molluscs and don't like crawling over anything dry, dusty or

                scratchy, so create a barrier around your plants using, crushed egg shells, pine needles, thorny cuttings, sawdust, gravel or

                sand (just make sure the material won't change the soil quality).

 

Some DIY advice

           - Rent tools, instead of buying them (most (big) DIY centres offer a tool-hire) or share it with a neighbour

           - Sharpen your tools instead of buying new ones

           - Make sure that your paint isn't toxic, you can find some more information about the toxins and alternatives at the

             Ethicalconsumer and Decoratingadvice has great advice on what to look out for and how  to fall for green-washing

          - Don't pour leftover paint down the drain. Find info on how and where to recycle your paint here & great advice on what to do

             with your leftover paint here

           - Insulate drafts, see how here, and save money on your heating bill

          - Further great advice all around DIY can be found  here  

         

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