“I’m go­ing to clean and re-use plas­tic pots this year,” says Ruth

Carry out tasks but al­ways en­joy your patch, says Ruth

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

You’re less likely to throw in the towel (or trowel) if you set about tasks a lit­tle and of­ten rather than tak­ing the bull-at-agate ap­proach.

LIKE many peo­ple, I start each Jan­uary with a burst en­thu­si­asm about self-im­prove­ment. This will be the year when I get fit, give up pick ’n’ mix sweets, read a ‘clas­sic’ novel a month and keep our house look­ing like it’s straight from the pages of Homes Il­lus­trated.

It never quite goes to plan, of course, but there’s no harm in dream­ing.

For 2019 I’m adding ‘get­ting the gar­den straight’ to my list of res­o­lu­tions. This in­cludes two ma­jor projects – in­stalling a pond and sort­ing out the em­bar­rass­ingly ne­glected waste­land that is the front gar­den – but also a vow to keep on top of ev­ery­day tasks. It is the seem­ingly ‘hum­ble’ jobs such as weed­ing, dead­head­ing, cut­ting back, turn­ing the com­post, deal­ing with pests and prevent­ing dis­eases that build up to cre­ate a bet­ter-look­ing, low-main­te­nance gar­den.

I also want to gar­den more eco­nom­i­cally, es­pe­cially when it comes to buy­ing plants – which is where di­vid­ing comes in handy (see the how-to panel, right).

One thing I am def­i­nitely go­ing to do this year – and urge you to fol­low suit – is to gar­den more en­vi­ron­men­tally. We al­ready have a wildlife-friendly patch and only use chem­i­cals as a last re­sort, but I’d like this to be the year when we re­ally start to move away from the use of plas­tic.

One-use plas­tic and its cat­a­strophic ef­fect on the planet was one of the big­gest news sto­ries of 2018. Now Am­a­teur Gar­den­ing is back­ing the hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try’s plans to find a vi­able re­place­ment for black plas­tic pots that can only go to land­fill and can’t be re­cy­cled at the kerb­side. Many sup­pli­ers are now start­ing to use taupe-coloured pots, which can be re­cy­cled, but there is so much we can all do to help.

We are en­cour­ag­ing our read­ers to wash and re­use pots and look for al­ter­na­tives to plas­tic in other ar­eas. For ex­am­ple, if you find old Vene­tian blinds at the tip or at a car-boot sale, cut them up for la­bels and then wipe them clean af­ter each use.

If you have dis­cov­ered other in­ge­nious ways of us­ing less plas­tic while gar­den­ing, please share your tips with other read­ers via our let­ters page.

Hoe off weeds be­fore they get es­tab­lished Dead­head reg­u­larly to pro­long flow­er­ing Join AG’s cam­paign to re­duce global amounts of one-use plas­tic by wash­ing and reusing your pots

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