26 February 2009

Green Column - Issue 3 - by Giulia Mauri

Hello my Dears!
Here we are, is Eco Friday again!


Todays's topic of the Green Column this week is dedicated to gardening.
Spring is on it's way, days are longer and a little warmer, which allow everyone to spend more time outside, gardening and pottering.

Green spaces and gardens in cities and towns are important as they provide refuge for urban wildlife.
Here some tips and ideas to make your garden more Eco Friendly.

1) Grass: Did you know?

Grass is not green!
I know this sounds crazy, but it's true!

a) Grass requires more water and weeds treatment than any other type of group covers.
b) More ground area is covered by grass, the less area is available to other species.
c) When cutting the grass using standard lawnmower,in one hour you are producing as much pollution as 40 cars!

Giulia's solution: Devote a part of your garden to other types of native plants and habitats, and create a wonderful meadow. You garden will attract a large variety of insects, followed by many birds and frogs, hedgehogs, foxes*...

* Foxes aren't pests: these animals can survive in a range of different environments and they have become an important part of city's ecology and shouldn't be persecuted. If they are in you garden don't kill them or transport them away: another fox will quickly take it's place.
If foxes bother you, visit www.wildlondon.org.uk to find out a humane an effective way of controlling foxes in your garden.

2)Compost: Make your own!
Why buy compost in the garden centre in great big plastic bags when you can make your own at home, for free?!
Compost bins are very easy to get hold of. Local authorities often run discounts for compost bins too. In the compost you can throw left over (always uncooked!) such as vegetables, fruit*; loose tea**, coffee grounds, old plants, flowers and leaves.

You can find lots of interesting information on the net about this topic.

*According to the type of soil you have in your alotment, you can choose the type of compost to make: more alcaline or acidic (for example - very simplified - a more acidic compost will contain more lemon skins - and and alkaline one will contain lots of egg shells)

Either way it is always recommend to feed the compost with fibre, as keeps air spaces in the compost, so that it doesn't go too "soggy"! You can add saw dust, old kitchen towels, and even paper like tubes of toilet roll and egg boxes.

**Researchers at the Reading University found that tea bags which contain a fine fibre glass mesh holding the tea bag together do not compost.

3) Furniture

When buying wodden furniture, make sure that reclaimed from sustainable forests, and not made of rare tropical hardwoods. Avoid installing patio heaters, instead wear that beautiful jumper of yours. Candles are always the best in the evening, as I mention in the Green Issue 2, but if you want to install lights in your garden, make choose they are solar powered ones***

***Be aware when buying these: some of the ones I have seen are not good quality, the rain gets in and they brake. So choose wisely, go for quality rather than cheapness.

4) Don't have a garden?
You can still have your little green area on your windowsill!

Flowers in your bedroom window, herbs in your kitchen one!

Hope you enjoyed this Green Issue!



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