Tuesday 26 May 2009
Charity urges us to cut our garden footprint on UN World Environment Day
Organic gardeners have a carbon footprint a third smaller than regular gardeners, which is why the UK's leading organic growing charity is urging more of us to go organic in the garden for UN World Environment Day.
According to Garden Organic, adopting an organic approach to the way we garden, farm and eat could massively contribute to protecting the planet for generations to come. And on Friday 5 June, it hopes more of us will look at how we can be greener in our gardens, for the sake of the environment.
At present, we are living well beyond our means, with the world requiring the equivalent of 3.4 planets to sustain it. However in research conducted by Garden Organic, which looked at the gardening and lifestyle habits of its members, the charity calculated that the figure could reduce to 2.5 planets if we were to simply garden organically and grow more of our own food.
Garden Organic's Dr Gareth Davies, who headed up the research said, “We monitored a sample of our members, some of whom were keen organic gardeners, others that had only just started out. What we found when we looked at each member's gardening habits, was that those who were the greenest in the garden and grew their own organic food, made a bigger reduction to their carbon footprint.”
“There are so many bad practices used in the average back garden, from spraying weed killer, to laying a garden full of concrete slabs, right down to burning rubbish. On UN World Environment Day, we hope to inspire people to think about what they can change to be more sustainable in the garden and in doing so we hope to raise awareness of how growing and gardening organically can help to protect the planet.”
Follow Garden Organic's top ten tips to go green in the garden for World Environment Day:
- Don't just go green in the garden go organic. If you really want to reduce your garden footprint then manage your green space organically – it's the most environmentally friendly way to grow. Turn to www.gardenorganic.org.uk to get started.
- Grow your own food. Plots, to pots to planters – anything will do, just have a go at growing something edible! Lettuce, radish and runner beans are good for beginners. Visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk for a guide to the 10 easiest veg to grow or www.organiccatalogue.com for seeds.
- Ditch the weed killer. Weed Killer is made of chemicals harmful to humans, animals and aquatic life. Once sprayed it enters the water table and can take years to disappear. Pull weeds out by hand instead – it may take longer, but at least your conscience will be clean.
- Don't be too tidy. It may seem odd, but by tidying up every nook and cranny you can deprive insects, such as bumblebees, of valuable habitats, meaning they won't work for your garden the way you want them to. Leave a few areas of the garden to their own devices and your plants will be healthier for it.
- Install a pond. Not one with goldfish, but just a small body of water will invite frogs, newts and all sorts of other useful aquatic life that will contribute to the diversity of your garden.
- Fill your garden with insect friendly plants. The more your garden buzzes, the greener it is. So bring the buzz back by ensuring you have a good variety of plants and flowers that appeal to beneficial insects such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Scabious, chives, poached egg plant and fox gloves work a treat and are beautiful too.
- Reuse and recycle. Before going out to buy new tools and accessories for the garden, have a look to see what you've already got lurking around. Gardening tools haven't changed much in the last 100 years, so the old ones you've already got will more than likely do the job .You can also pick up old tools in house clearances.
- Get a water butt. Reduce the drain on tap water by feeding your plants with rainwater collected in a water butt instead. It's a great way to avoid the hosepipe during the hottest summer spells and many people believe rainwater to be better for the plants.
- Save your seed. A great way to save money and to cut your carbon footprint is to save seed rather than buying it. If you've a variety of wonderful plants and vegetables that you'd be happy to welcome back next year then let them go to seed, collect the seed in September and sow it again next year.
- Get composting. One of the best ways to be greener in the garden is to make your own compost. Not only does composting reduce the waste sent to landfill, but also the number of trips you make to the garden centre to pick up bags of compost! Home compost is rich and nutritious and far better than anything you can buy in bags. Visit www.homecomposting.org.uk to get started.
To find out more about Garden Organic and how you can be a greener gardener, or to read the full Carbon Footprint of Organic Gardening report visit: www.gardenorganic.org.uk . Key highlights from the report also include:
- Organic growers surveyed had a carbon footprint of 7.4 tonnes – 66 per cent of the national average
- Despite only using just over half of their garden space, gardeners surveyed were able to produce over 50 per cent of the fruit and veg they consumed in a year
- If the average sized garden (733sqm) was given over to fruit and veg growing, then householders could grow 98 per cent of the fruit and veg they consumed each year, only metres from their back door
- 60 per cent of the organic gardeners surveyed eat their own produce daily
For more information contact Charlotte Corner on 02476 217707 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
- Garden Organic is the UK's leading organic growing charity dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food and has been at the forefront of the organic horticulture movement for 50 years.