-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Usable Items For Your Garden

Month 9- September it’s Usable Items For Your Garden


As when I decided to go Vegan back in 2013, I started with the food, gradually as I did the next shop I swapped over the milk and butter and cheese, we obviously stopped eating or buying any meat but finding substitutes didn’t happen over night.

My husband Peter then joined me a few months later as he felt better not eating meat every day, every meal as it was me shopping & cooking the food we all ate.

Our kids were young at the time 3, 5 & 6 so swapping the younger 2 over wasn’t a big deal as they were at the stage of trying different food out all the time anyway. We also found after eating dairy they would throw up later in the day, so it was easier to just look for the V vegan sign on food than to keep checking for non dairy products for them.

Clayton, being Autistic had (and still has) a self limiting diet of dry brown or beige finger foods only so he wasn’t included in our switch, getting him to just eat was a struggle in its self.

Anyway…..my point is, nothing happens over night, going Vegan we started with food, it then progressed onto products, clothing, shoes, coats, linen, furniture, now we chose items without a second thought.

This progressed onto what was happening on our land and led us to permaculture, principles & design. Permaculture principle No6 is: Produce No Waste. This is the overall aim.

Just making 1 swap starts to make a difference to our planet. What could you do today?

5 Items You Can Use In Your Garden

This month I have concentrated on what usuable items that were being wasted that could be used around the garden

First Swap- Using Used Coffee Grounds

COFFEE GROUNDS– making a swap to using rather than throwing away

What do we do with our used coffee grounds?

Once a month or whenever that jar is full we put the used coffee grounds on our blueberries. We’ve been doing this since they were planted and they have thrived with berries this year. We put it on quite thick so every time it rains it drains a little bit more into the soil, by the next time we add some, they have completely gone into the soil. This was us putting them on our brand new raised bed path blueberries

☕️Coffee grounds contain a good amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper, all of which are important to maintain a healthy blueberry plant.

☕️They also increase the acidity of the soil, despite their colour, for the purposes of composting they’re a ‘green’, or nitrogen-rich organic material.

☕️Coffee grounds are slightly acidic with a pH of 5.5-6.8, used coffee grounds generally have less acidity than fresh grounds due to the process of brewing.

☕️☕️ALSO coffee grounds is a natural rodent repellent. The coffee’s bitter compounds are unpleasant to rats and mice & slugs hate crawling across it due to the rough texture. So a win-win!

Second Swap-Using Up Cut Hair

CUT HAIR– making a swap to using rather than throwing away

Don’t throw away your hair!!
Hair from cutting, hair from your brush, hair down the plug hole, hair from your pets, from their brush or what you’ve swept from the stairs.

The growth and development of hair is because of a protein known as keratin, natural state human and pet hair is compostable and contains high levels of nitrogen, making a green compost. Hair contains oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and sulfur, which is the same as a Bone meal.

💇🏽‍♀️Hair is a natural fertiliser due to its high levels of magnesium

💇🏽‍♀️When used in compost, the hair can offer structural support for roots and can also help break up thick and clumpy soil

💇🏽‍♀️ Spreading human hair at the base of your plants keeps animals from digging them up. Rabbits, squirrels and other wildlife don’t like the texture of hair, or the human scent

💇🏽‍♀️Slugs hate it so won’t go across it, so it is ideal at the base of your most slug eaten plants

NB: Avoid chemical treated hair due to the unknown chemicals it can add to your soil

Third Swap- Using Up Scraps Of Yarn

YARN– making a swap to using rather than throwing away

How do you label yours? We’ve tried writing on plastic & wooden sticks, using label makers, or coloured markers, they wash off, blow off or fade by the end of the year and we have no clue what they are.

We buy lots of different varieties to test for which is more suited to our Scottish colder short seasoned climate, our soil & our garden in general, which then we can propagate from to get the best varieties for us.

This year we decided to use some left over yarn and tied them to bamboo sticks next to the different variety of raspberries we have. Fingers crossed this is a winner. What or how do you label yours?

🧶💜Purple- Raspberry Variety Glen Lyon 💜EARLY
Glen Lyon’ is a fabulous Early fruiting Raspberry variety that produces masses of fruit from June to July. A modern Scottish variety it is disease resistant and performs well in the UK climate, making it perfect addition to the summer garden.

🧶💚Green- Raspberry Variety Glen Doll 💚SUMMER
Thornless. Superb heavy cropping summer variety. The fruit quality is outstanding and unbelievably is superior to Glen Ample. Disease free. Perfect for freezing.

🧶💙Blue- Raspberry Variety Autumn Bliss 💙AUTUMN
Autumn Bliss is a popular autumn flowering variety of Raspberry that produces rich red delightful fruit that is full of flavour from August until the first frosts.

🧶💛Yellow- Raspberry Variety Glen Dee 💛LATE
Glen Dee (floricane) is a late fruiting summer variety that is new on the market. Fruit is large, conical shaped, great flavour and good shelf life. Glen Dee produces fruit on spine free canes making this variety easily managed.

Documenting them on here so we don’t forget 😜👌🏼

Fourth Swap-Using Plastic Milk Cartons

USING PLASTIC MILK CARTONS– making a swap to using rather than throwing away

Tutorial: Vertical Growing using Milk Cartons on the fence! #MilkCartonGrowing

  1. Cut to shape
  2. Add drainage holes.
  3. Slide the milk handle onto a pole. We use a metal curtain pole
  4. Screw in for stability. Doesn’t need to be fully tight to the fence, half way works well.

Adding the last few more after another year of collecting them from the neighbours
Year 1- we had 1 row of 22
Year 2 – added another 2 rows making it 66
This Year – adding another 3 rows making it 132 milk cartons to plant in ♻️🌿😜🤓

Planted up our winter crops of:
🌿Pak Choi, 🌿Tat Soi & 🌿Red Pak Choi in 4 of the rows. The 5th and top row has
🍓strawberry runners in for them to grow bigger over winter to plant out in Spring

Fifth Swap-Using Cardboard Milk Cartons

USING CARDBOARD MILK CARTONS– making a swap to using rather than throwing away

Using Milk Cartons to grow in
🌿Fold open & cut off top & bottom
🌿Fill with Soil & put in tray
🌿Sew your seeds & bottom water
🌿Cover bottom with hand to transfer
🌿Fill up space around with soil
🌿Gently remove the cartons
🌿Water in
This helps to

  1. Grow the roots much bigger & deeper before planting.
  2. Helps to not touch or disturb the roots especially sweetcorn.
  3. Reuses items that would otherwise be sent to recycling centre. Can reuse again & again (they fold down flat for storage too)
    NB: Best to transfer when they need watering so soil is already dry so holds together. You could also dig a correct sized trench to place them in, but our raised beds needed their yearly top up of soil anyway!

5 Swaps From Your Home

5 Straight Out Swaps you could make to using rather than throwing away

There is only 1 reason this month to make some swaps

1. The whole reason is to stop extra waste coming out of the household. These changes produces ZERO PLASTIC or MICROPLASTIC waste each month

🌳Permaculture Principle No6 – Produce No Waste

🌱Vegan Living- To Do No Harm

👣🌎Small steps is better than none at all! What small change could you make this year? Could you look into your items too? What changes could you make to reduce your overall waste?

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Published by buildingafoodforestscotland

Building a Food Forest -Scotland Edwardian 1903 Home & Garden in Scotland Planting With Permaculture Design

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