We are very lucky in Australia to be able to enjoy a garden – the traditional ¼ acre suburban block provides us with opportunity to have a nice size home and equally a nice size garden. That garden can be one of our greatest resources in reducing the impact of the waste we produce in the rest of our home.
We can start with compost – and here are the basics.
Composting yields amazing nutrient rich humus. It is all about balance and getting the right measure of oxygen, water and organic material to create heat. You want to maintain equal parts of nitrogen and carbon. Basically carbon tends to be ‘brown’ with materials like leaves and pine needles. Nitrogen tends to be ‘green’ such as grass clippings, flowers and fruits and vegetables.
Once you have built your compost pile. It will do a lot of the work by itself. You can give it a boost by mixing it, adding manure and making sure it is always moist. Ideally it is good if rainfall can do that but in a drier region give it a water periodically – but don’t soak it.
Some other ways you can use waste materials as a garden resource…
Once you’ve had your cup of coffee in the morning, save the grounds to add to your garden or to your compost pile> not only do they provide nutrients to your plants but they also deter insects.
You can crack down on pests with egg shells. Eggshells can be a beneficial addition to both your garden and your compost pile. Rinse them off, crush them and spread around the base of your plants. You have a natural insect repellent and a great source of calcium as well.
If you have some left over beer then we have a use in the garden. Slugs are not only unsightly but can also damage your plants – leave a dish of beer out in your garden – it attracts and kills slugs leaving your garden slime free.
If you have trouble identifying your plants then it is always a good idea to tag them. You can use old, broken terracotta pots, scrap wood and craft paint to create signs for your plants. They look good and can be reused of course.
Of course the best renewable resource in your garden is knowledge. Check out your neighbours’ gardens and if they look like they have got it right then get to know them and hopefully they will share what has worked for them. After all sharing is caring.