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3 No-Spend Steps to an Eco-Garden

Fri 26 Jul 2013

Summer has finally arrived and if the experts are to be believed, we are in for a long hot one. Get a head start in transforming your garden into an eco-chic haven with these 3 top tips that don’t cost a penny.

1. Grow plants in re-used containers

Jars, tyres, tins can, colanders, bike helmets and even corks can be re-used to make affordable planters. As long as the vessel is deep enough, you can use anything as a planter for herbs, flowers or vegetables.

Take a look at these examples from Pinterest:

Seen in this example, plastic bottles make excellent planters and are ideal space savers for small outdoor spaces.

This pinner used comic pages to make colourful newspaper planters for seedlings.

Newspaper planters are easy to make and are perfect for an afternoon activity for children.

All you need is seeds, newspaper, an empty wine bottle, and soil. Use the empty wine bottle as a “mould” to create the right shape and size for the mini planters.

DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2. Collect rain water in buckets and bottles.

Collect rainwater to use for those dirty tasks like washing cars and bikes, or cleaning yard or decking areas. Also, save it up during wetter weather to use for watering the garden when it gets hot and dry. Collected rainwater is ideal for watering plants - it’s actually better for your soil than tap water, and it’s free. Rainwater is nutrient rich, plus, it doesn’t increase the alkalinity of your soil, or leave lime scale deposits.

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3. Say goodbye to chemicals

Using store-bought, non-organic fertilisers and plant foods? It’s not too hard to make your own fertilisers that are free, and so much better for the planet and your garden than harsh chemicals. They prevent soil erosion as well as protecting plants and creating a healthier growing environment.

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The top three freely-available methods are manure, kitchen waste compost, and the wonderful wormery. Manure actually seems to have become something of a hot property amongst gardeners, and many farmers and stables now charge for it. If you have a free source, great. If not, convert your kitchen waste using a composter or a wormery.

Composters convert a combination of grass cuttings, garden waste and kitchen waste into a nutritious soil that you can dig straight into the garden. Wormeries simply convert vegetable matter into liquid plant food. Check out tutorials online to learn how to make your own.

Written by Penny Tristram