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Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

Garden Products With The
Environment In Mind.



Plant Pots And Such

Tomato ring culture pots have traditionally been made from a roofing-felt like material called “Whale-hide,” as did the deep “Sweet Pea Pots.” When they were thrown away they would rot given enough time, but nowadays many of these pots are made from plastic, although, the old style are still available if you look hard enough for them. Many years ago garden centres often sold fruit trees and the like with their roots  “Root Wrapped” in a ball of soil tied up in a piece of Hessian sacking. The trees could then be planted in a hole and the Hessian sacking just untied and opened out without disturbing the roots too much. If the Hessian was left in the hole and left long enough, it would rot over time. Then of course it became cheaper to use a plastic wrap that doesn’t rot and now plastic is used for everything including even the humble plant label.

However, there is a small move away from everything plastic and attempts are being made to establish a range of Eco friendly plant pots made from 100 % biodegradable material as an alternative to plastic pots.  The pots are tough enough to be used repeatedly as long as they are cleaned and dried immediately after emptying before they are stored. Planted directly into the ground the pots will gradually decompose over a period of a few months and of course this means that the roots of the plants aren’t disturbed.

Small plants such as Bedding Geraniums have often been sold in the past in an open mesh type of plastic pot so that they could be transplanted without removing the pots and disturbing the roots, but some bedding plants are now sold in small pots made from a type of cardboard with a display label printed on the side of the pot. You still have to discard the pot, but at least it is made from waxed card and not plastic. Hanging basket liners can be bought that are made out of what looks like brown pappier mache and others from “Choir” or cocoa fibre. They might not look very attractive when first planted up, but after the plants have grown you won’t see them and they can be reused again and again, but if discarded will eventually rot.

Solar Power

Not so many years ago there were only one or two fish pond pumps and lights on the market that were Solar Powered, but as the technology has improved there now seem to be a plethora of pumps and garden lights. Of course electricity in the garden has always been a source of danger, but with Solar Power there are no mains cables carrying high voltage, so garden lighting and other electrical things can be installed almost 100 % risk free. Solar fish pond pumps might not interest many, but, lights in the garden are always a good thing for those that like a midnight stroll, or a smoke in the garden, and of course, for those who’s sight might not be so good they are a very good safety idea to mark out the edges of paths and fishponds. The batteries in the Solar lights charge up in the day and most of them actually have daylight sensors that automatically turn the lights on when the daylight disappears and off again at dawn, so they are always on if you need them at night.

Other Gadgets.

Many people have the annual problem of clearing up fallen leaves in the Autumn and invest in some sort of leaf blower or vacuum, but the problem still remains of how to dispose of the enormous pile of leaves that you have collected. You can always fill up your wheelie bin as most people do, but of course the “Green” alternative is to compost them and leaves do make excellent compost, however they do need a long time to compost properly unless they are shredded. Some leaf vacuums now come with a built in shredder that chops the leaves up into a fine pulp that is ideal to mix into your compost heap. If you don’t want to go the expense of buying such a tool you probably already have one in the shape of a lawnmower. You might have to empty the collection box a bit more often when you run the mower over a lot of leaves, but it will do an excellent job of picking them up and shredding them at the same time.

High tech gadgets often fascinate people and with a relatively cheap Nature Camera you can view your garden through your TV while you sit in your favourite armchair. With skilful positioning of the small camera in the garden, you can sit and watch any part of the garden that is of interest. If a youngster is daring enough the camera could even be installed in a tree and directed at a bird nesting box like they do on TV. Unfortunately the camera does need mains power, but it does transmit the picture inside the house, to a receiver, by radio.

High technology is often being used to make ultra sonic sounds that deter various animals from moles to cats and even rowdy children, (outside some shops!) but most adults can’t hear the sounds. Small battery operated gizmos can be bought that fit down mole holes and emit an offensive ultra sonic noise targeted just at the moles and others can be bought that have a sensor on that detects movement. Then, if placed near to a bird table, they give off an ultra sonic squeal and scare off the marauding cat thus protecting the feeding birds. Another gadget is an ultra sonic audio gun that can be fired at trespassing cats to scare them off. It even has a laser sight on it and although it is more humane than a well aimed stone it is a lot more expensive!



Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.


Books By
Alan J Hartley