Building a Mini Food Forest in a Raised Bed

You don’t need a huge space to start growing food and you don’t need a large space to start a food forest. Just start where you are & with what you have to move forward. Using the Permaculture Design Principles you can maximise your space to get the most from it.

The different layers of a food forest garden show the large tree canopies, with shrubs, herbs, groundcover and root layers. You can adapt these layers to smaller spaces too.

What Did We Do?

In this area we already have large tall trees and bushes, but there was no food growing in this area even though the sun hits it early in the morning & stays all day. In the summer we have the badminton net up here & use the driveway to play so did not want to cover this whole space.

Recently the swing has been replaced with rings & has turned into an outside workout area, so this area is still being used, but we decided to use the space we had to put a long raised bed along the bushes. This one is 44cm wide, and consists of 3 separate ones making it over 32ft long (1000cm) We went as far as the area was flat, but I may add more later in the year to continue to the last bush or fill that space with some dwarf apple or plum trees. I haven’t decided yet.

Follow my daily posts on instagram buildingafoodforest_scotland

How Did We Do It?

After building and placing the raised beds in we began filling them using the Hugelkultur method. This is the process of layering organic garden waste inside the raised garden bed, before adding soil.

This saves on costs and helps attracting and preserving moisture. This method is of German origin, hugelkultur translates to “mound or hill culture.” It is especially applicable in areas where soil retention and drainage are poor, which is typical of soils found in urban areas.

Starting with the bottom you would place any large rotting logs or sticks, filling up all the space as you go.

On top of that layering with any grass clippings, coffee grounds, compost, leave mould, shredded cardboard or paper, hair clippings, or other organic matter. Then add your top soil to plant into. I try to make sure it’s at least 8” deep.

As the material breaks down, it creates a flourishing environment for beneficial fungi and microbes that mimics the natural landscape of a forest.

There are many advantages to the Hugelkultur method, including soil quality improvement, minimal maintenance, and water retention and is an ideal opportunity to use this method whenever you start a new raised bed.

Building up the layers before adding the top soil

As with all our other raised beds we have added or made (out of metal corrugated roofing sheets), they are all metal which give us the flexibility of length & height and do not cost anywhere near as much as sleepers do due to the height we wanted them at.

For more details of our other raised bed project areas look at blogs:

Making Every Bit Of Space Usable. Building A Long Planter Raised Bed

Building a Mini Food Forest in a Small Area. Ours is On A Fence (Year 1)

What Did We Plant?

First we split our 2 large rhubarbs from the previous year into 4 and planted them in the centre raised bed

Clayton & his dad Peter cutting the rhubarb crown in half. Peter using a hand-over-hand technique to support Clayton
Clayton finishing off the separation with a spade
Planting the new half crowns
The 4 half crowns growing well with Chives inbetween a few months on
Raised beds are ideal to keep things off the ground too, I find I have far little slugs, if any in these

How Did We Use Permaculture Design To Plant?

Looking at the 7 layers of a food forest, this is how we planted up our raised beds

1. Tall Tree or Canopy Layers

These are already in this area above the raised beds. Not food, but they provide a home to a diverse array of animals and beneficial insects. There’s much more life than what you would find in an annual vegetable garden. In smaller spaces you would leave this layer out. We are lucky enough to already have this layer established.

2. Sub-Canopy or Large Shrub Layers

We have the large larrel leaf & rhodedendrums layer shrubs here, while these do not produce food, they do produce flowers to attract the bees. We will be looking at planting some dwarf Apple/Plum trees in the empty spaces behind the raised beds, there are 2 ideal slots these could be placed.

3. Shrub Layer

Planted in the Raised Bed – Raspberries & Hazelnut. There are 5 different types of Raspberry bare root canes in here, so harvesting should have a longer span from the earlies to the lates

4. Herbacious Layer

Planted in the Raised Beds – Chives, Coriander & Rhubarb, this is the layer where you’ll find most vegetables that you’d typically expect to be grown in a backyard garden.

5. Ground Cover Layer

Planted in the Raised Beds – Strawberries are in & Nasturtium seeds have be planted in here too. They will start to spread out creating the ground cover across the area.

6. Underground layer

Planted in the planters – Garlic & Spring Onions are in. Of course, these plants don’t just grow underground. So there’s often a lot of crossover here with plants in the herbaceous or groundcover layer as well.

This empty space behind the raised bed will be an ideal spot for a dwarf Apple or Plum tree

All of this biodiversity also supports the permaculture garden concept of guilds. A guild is a group of mutually beneficial species that form a larger ecosystem. A food forest really is greater than just the sum of its parts.

Each layer of a food forest plays its own important role. When designing a food forest of your own, be sure to incorporate species from each layer. That way you will end up with the most resilient and self-sustaining food forest even in the smallest of spaces!


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This blog is from the 🟥 Pinky Red Area

Other related blogs from this area are:

Building a Mini Food Forest in a Small Area. Ours is On A Fence (Year 1)

-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Cleaning Products

Month 4 – April It’s Cleaning Products

Background…..

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 & focus on what chemicals are going in our body now.

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?


What Am I Looking For?

When looking at products I always found that they contained such a load of other harmful chemicals. Watching what food & drink I put into mine and my families body made me really aware of what chemicals we were putting ON our bodies that would still pass through the skin into our bloodstream, that includes anything that is in the air that we can inhale.

I’ve spent the last 5yrs swapping to non toxic brands, but that doesn’t mean that they are eco friendly too. So here I am making more swaps. This month finding cleaning products suitable for our home.

We already stopped using bleach and bleach products in our home and switched to making our own toilet bombs, which have been working out great. Check this out here -No Waste Wednesday- How We Made Easy Toilet Bombs Using 3 Ingredients

-No Waste Wednesday- How We Made Easy Toilet Bombs Using 3 Ingredients

DID YOU KNOW…

Most Cleaning Products Are 90% Water?

Why would you pay for 90% water, when there are other ways to use and buy your products? THAT IS A WHOLE LOT OF UNNECESSARY WATER BEING SHIPPED AROUND THE WORLD AND MOSTLY IN SINGLE USE PLASTIC PACKAGING. (Source: Neatclean)

What Is My Criteria?

My criteria for swapping over Cleaning Products are:

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free. Ideally Plant Derived & Biodegradable Ingredients

2. No Aluminium, Alcohol, PEG’s, Parabans or Sulphates.

3 Remove Single Use Plastic Cleaning Bottles – no glass bottles due to the kids

4. I DO NOT want to pay for water, water in the bottles, water being shipped, water being shipped to factories to be used. All of this is a waste of resources.

5. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our products which is around £5 a month on bathroom & kitchen cleaners. Glass cleaner every 6mths or so as I don’t use it often

What Did I find?

There are sooooo many to look into when you research this.

I was looking for non plastic bottles as to me even if they are reusable, they still have to be made! so I wanted to avoid plastic all together, the other alternative I found was glass and if I didn’t have teens running around the house I may have opted for this. I ended up exclusively looking at ALUMINIUM bottles, what I found was none of the spray tops were made from anything other than plastic, which is highly frustrating as, if anything is going to break overtime it will be the spray tops.

Here is what I tried

Neat.

Neat Clean

The 30ml refill mixes with 470ml of tap water to make 500ml of cleaner.
Once you buy our starter packs, you will only need to buy refills to make more cleaning products. No more bulky products taking up space and no more single use plastic! Your refillable spray bottle is designed to work with neat. concentrated refills. There are refills that Kills 99.9% of bacteria. 

The Bottles: designed to last and not for trash. It is aluminium, so light weight but durable. It has a silicone base that gives it extra protection where it needs it and feels great when placing on hard surfaces. This base can be removed for cleaning.

Free From:
Dyes and colourings
Parabens 
Phosphates
Ammonia
Chlorine Bleach
Sulphates
Our formulas are Made in Great Britain and are vegan and not test on animals. They perform brilliantly. 

Taken from their website neatclean.com

I selected that Anti-Bac Starter Pack Bundle: Multi-Surface, Glass & Mirror and Bathroom Cleaner with Aluminium Bottles and Plastic-Free Refills and got the 25% off this set with a friend referral which made it really affordable

Inside each box is the reusable bottle and the concentrated glass bottle refill sitting in the top of the box.

How Did It Fit My Criteria?

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free. Ideally Plant Derived & Biodegradable Ingredients

This is my No1 priority before even looking at anything else. Ideally I would prefer to support fully Vegan & Cruelty Free businesses. No logos or accreditation yet which I usually go for though.

Neat. : Our formulas are Made in Great Britain and are vegan and not test on animals. They perform brilliantly. Made with Plant Derived & Biodegradable Ingredients

YES – This works for me!


Such a clean look around the home, so much so I have them on display in the bathroom & kitchen

2. No Aluminium, Alcohol, PEG’s, Parabans or Sulphates.

After so many years of reading labels, endless hours looking up chemical names, I am not about to give this up just because it is eco friendly. I need to have all my criteria met to make yet another swap

Neat. : Free From:

  • Dyes and colourings
  • Parabens 
  • Phosphates
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Sulphates

YES – This works for me!


3 Remove Single Use Plastic Cleaning Bottles – no glass bottles due to the kids

In this case these bottles are aluminium so sustainable. Plastic spray lid, which is annoying, but I wasn’t able to find any others with anything different in the spray version. Boxes are cardboard & refills in mini glass bottles.

Neat. : Materials

SPRAY BOTTLE: Bottle- Aluminium / Spray nozzle- Plastic / Base- Silicone

REFILLS: Bottle- Glass/ Lid- Aluminium / Box- Paper Card

SPRAY BOTTLE CARE:

Your refillable spray bottle is designed to work with neat. concentrated refills.

It is designed to last and not for trash. It is aluminium, so light weight but durable. It has a silicone base that gives it extra protection where it needs it and feels great when placing on hard surfaces. This base can be removed for cleaning.

YES – This works for me!

We use flannels for cleaning so they can be
washed & reused

4. I DO NOT want to pay for water, water in the bottles, water being shipped, water being shipped to factories to be used. All of this is a waste of resources.

No water shipped in bottles, use your own tap water and add the concentrated refills into the water. Very clear instructions on the packaging

Neat. : Instructions for use: Dilute 30ml concentrate to 500ml.

YES – This works for me!

The clean white bottles with limited writing & pastel base design attracted me to these

4. 5. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our products which is around £5 a month on bathroom & kitchen cleaners. Glass cleaner every 6mths or so as I don’t use it often

I picked the bundle of 3 for £27, £20.50 with the 25% discount with free shipping over £20

Enjoy my 25% off friend referral discount off on the site.

You can get them separately for £9 for the bottle & a refill, or grab a trial for just a fiver! Refills are £2.50 on their website but Sainsburys & Tescos I’ve seen them on offer often. So grab those deals when you can & stock up for the year

I’m in my 10th week of using this set & really loving it. Only topped up my anti bac multi surface cleaner once. I’ve actually been using my glass & mirror spray on the shower doors instead of my usual bathroom cleaner so have only used half of each product. The smell os amazing after I’ve cleaned too!

So initial outlay has been more (4mths of my budgeted money) but in the nearly 3mths (would have spent £15) I have only purchased 1 refill at £2.50 so over the year it will start to even out & be within budget

YES – This works for me!

Top 5 Reasons To Try This Swap

1. The whole reason is to stop extra waste coming out of the household. This produces ZERO PLASTIC BOTTLE waste each month!!

2. Aluminium bottle is reusable & cardboard packaging & glass bottles are recyclable

3. Better on the environment, as water is not being shipped around the world

4. Can get them from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and other retailers starting to stock them so can just pick up easily instore in your normal shopping

5. Price is that of a normal cleaning item so many times swapping to eco brands means it costs more, grab those deals & stock up if you can.

As a household of 5 we each get through 1 bottle of kitchen/multi surface anti bac cleaner a month, 1 bottle of bathroom cleaner every 2 months and 1 bottle of glass cleaner every 6mth that would be 20 plastic bottles eliminated per year that we will be reducing from our household.

I had no idea that we was even using so much until I started looking into it and was shocked I was contributing so much plastic per year in just cleaning products!

Enjoy my 25% off friend referral discount off on the site.

🌳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 cleaning products too?

What changes could you make to reduce your plastic waste coming out from your household?

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-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Toothpaste

Month 3 – March It’s Toothpaste

Background…..

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 & focus on what chemicals are going in our body now.

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?


Did you know most Toothpaste tubes cannot be recycled! These are often made of different types of plastics, as well as containing a metal layer. In general they are not recyclable, although there are some recycling options offered by Colgate and Terracyle. Source

On average, it takes 500 years for a toothpaste tube to fully biodegrade in landfill, meaning that every tube you have used in your lifetime could still be out there in a big hole in the ground. Source I mean, this is just an utter disgrace that these are even made, let alone sold, our planet is being destroyed enough without us adding more plastic just to be thrown into a hole in the ground.

What Am I Looking For?

When looking at products I always found that they contained such a load of other harmful chemicals. Watching what food & drink I put into mine and my families body made me really aware of what chemicals we were putting ON our bodies that would still pass through the skin into our bloodstream.

I’ve spent the last 5yrs swapping to non toxic brands, but that doesn’t mean that they are eco friendly too. So here I am making more swaps. This month finding toothpaste.

What Is My Criteria?

My criteria for swapping over Toothpaste are:

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free

2. No Aluminiums, Alcohol, PEG’s, Parabans or Sulphates

3 Remove Single Use Plastic Tubes

4. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our products which is £3.50-£3.99 a tube so max of £8 a month for 2 tubes for us 5.

What Did I find?

Going into this I was all like…yep zero waste, doing it, got it set.

This was harder than expected, much like Februarys swap of Shampoo & Conditioner. I thought I would just grab some toothpaste tabs, (little tablets of toothpaste you pop in your mouth & crush in your teeth then start brushing) and that’s my monthly swap done. However what happen was more of……I cannot afford to swap a family of 5 onto toothpaste tabs, prices were £25 upwards per month for us all, so I had to look for a non plastic tube alternative.

BootsTheChemist came up trumps again, not only do they stock the waken range, they had them on offer from £4 down to £2.75, same as Amazon, so really shop around when you find a brand you like to find those offers. I ordered 4 peppermint toothpastes to try at that price. That was a few months worth for UNDER my monthly cost target. I will certainly stock up whenever I see it this price from now on.

Here is what I tried

Waken Toothpaste because this was the only aluminium tube of toothpaste I could find in the UK which was a normal and not overpriced

Waken

TOOTHPASTES
Our delicious toothpastes are blended with natural mint and other botanical extracts and flavours to help freshen breath. They are wonderfully effective at taking care of your teeth in either gel or tablet form and contain fluoride, which helps protect against cavities. All our toothpastes are made from sustainable materials and look beautiful in any bathroom.


Our Waken Peppermint toothpaste will provide you with the following benefits:

Freshens breath
Fluoride helps to protect against cavities
Delicious natural flavour blended with real peppermint extract
Naturally coloured gel
Sustainable packaging
Vegan friendly
SLS-free and lightly foaming
Beautiful in your bathroom

Taken from their website wakencare.com
5 Different flavours of toothpaste (and matching mouthwashes if you like them)

How Did It Fit My Criteria?

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free

This is my No1 priority before even looking at anything else. Ideally I would prefer to support fully Vegan & Cruelty Free businesses.

Waken state: Waken Peppermint toothpaste is vegan and so is suitable for vegans, vegetarians and anyone else who sees the benefits of plant-based living. Our Peppermint toothpaste gel also does not contain any artificial colours or dyes making the gel naturally coloured.

YES – This works for me!


Vegan approved logo from the vegetarian society

2. No Aluminiums, Alcohol, PEG’s, Parabans or Sulphates

After so many years of reading labels, endless hours looking up chemical names, I am not about to give this up just because it is eco friendly. I need to have both, all, my criteria met to make yet another swap

YES – This works for me!


Bought 4 on offer to try for the next 2months

3 Remove single Use Plastic

In this case these tubes are aluminium so sustainable recycling/reusing loop. Plastic lid, which is annoying (made from fully recycled plastic though, but still annoying). I am going to look into saving them over the year & see about returning them to the company. Box is cardboard.

Waken state: Our sustainable toothpaste packaging includes a tube made from recycled aluminum that can be recycled endlessly when you’re done with it.

If you are interested in the mouthwash, their first product, this is certified carbon neutral. Waken was born from the desire to make a positive impact on the environment. We set ourselves the tall task of creating beautifully sustainable mouthcare as a better alternative to what the oral hygiene category is currently providing.

However, we want to grow in the right way. As a result we’ve taken our very first and most beloved products, our mouthwashes, and made them carbon neutral!

YES – This works for me! (Even though I am still producing recycling from my household, it is sustainable recycling and not plastic non recyclable tubes)

4. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our products which is £3.50-£3.99 a tube so max of £8 a month for 2 tubes for us 5.

As mentioned earlier BootsTheChemist & Amazon they had them on offer from £4 down to £2.75, so it is really worth shopping around when you find a brand you like to find those offers.

I ordered 4 peppermint toothpastes to try at that price. That was a few months worth for UNDER my monthly cost target. I will certainly stock up whenever I see it this price from now on.

YES – This works for me!

After 2 weeks use, rolls down really well to get everything out of the tube

Top 5 Reasons To Try This Swap

1. The whole reason is to stop extra waste coming out of the household. This produces ZERO PLASTIC TUBE waste each month!!

2. Aluminium tube & cardboard packaging is recyclable

3. Better on the environment, as plastic toothpaste tubes are not recyclable

4. Can get them from BootsTheChemist so can just pick up easily instore

5. Price is that of a normal tube, so many times swapping to eco brands means it costs more, grab those deals & stock up if you can.

As a household of 5 we each get through 2 tubes of toothpaste a month that would be 24 plastic tubes eliminated per year that we will be reducing from our household

🌳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 toothpaste too?

What changes could you make to reduce your plastic waste coming out from your household?

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Hair Care (Part 1)

Month 2 – February It’s Hair Care – Part 1

Background…..

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?

What Am I Looking For?

When looking at products I always found that they contained such a load of other harmful chemicals. Watching what food & drink I put into my and my families body made me really aware of what chemicals we were putting ON our bodies that would still pass through the skin into our bloodstream.

I’ve spent the last 5yrs swapping to non toxic brands, but that doesn’t mean that they are eco friendly too. So here I am making more swaps. This month finding hair care- shampoo & conditioner that met my criteria and as a Hairdresser by trade and kids with mixed origin hair this is a tough call!

What Is My Criteria?

My criteria for swapping over Hair Care-Shampoo & Conditioner are:

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free

2. No Aluminiums or Parabans or Sulphates or Silicons

3a Reduce Single Use Plastic

OR 3b Eliminate the plastic all together*

4. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our products which is on average £15 a month on various different brands based on offers & discounts I find & stock up

* This the overall goal, but this may not be such a cut & dry swap out like last months deodorants

What Did I find?

Going into this I was all like…yep zero waste, doing it, got it set.

This was harder than expected. I thought I would just grab some shampoo & conditioner bars and boom that’s my monthly swap done. However what happen was more like, couldn’t find any in the supermarket stores, certainly wasn’t any in the poundland/dollar store style shops, spent hours scrolling google & instagram and got frustrated and you certainly couldn’t.t pick up anything for a few quid.

Again BootsTheChemist came up trumps again, not only do they stock the wild deodorants from last month they actually had a selection of so many Brands of Shampoo Bars

Herbal Essence

Head & Shoulders Shampoo Bars

Pantene

Aussie

Eco Warrier

Faith in Nature

Ethique

John Freda

Bleach London

L’Oreal Men Expert Barber

But only Ethique & Aussie had the matching Conditioner bars

Display in BootsTheChemist

Since then I actually found Alberto Balsam Shampoo Bars & Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo Bars stocked in a section in tesco, but again no conditioner bars. So I am sure we will be seeing these pop up in more supermarket stores & in larger selections

I’m all for online shoping but if I can actually see, touch & smell products and save on the postage & environmental cost of delivery for a single item, then I totally will and if I can add it to my weekly/monthly grocery shopping without any extra postage or any added delivery then that’s a huge win.

Here is what I tried

Aussie Shampoo & Conditioner Bars. As they were one of the 2 that had matching conditioner bars and I was already familiar with this brand

Aussie

This moisturising solid shampoo bar, lovingly made with Australian Macadamia Nut Oil, will make your mane as soft as a baby Koala. Fur-real!

With 98% natural ingredients*

Certified PETA cruelty-free and vegan formula.

* 98% naturally derived ingredients, with the remaining 2% for a good usage experience and product stability.


Naturally derived ingredients maintain >50% of their natural origin material.

Taken from their product description
Aussie Shampoo & Conditioner Bars. I picked the volumising shampoo bar for me to try out
String is ideal for them to dry out super fast & keeps the bathroom tidy

How Did It Fit My Criteria?

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free

This is my No1 priority before even looking at anything else. Ideally I would prefer to support fully Vegan & Cruelty Free businesses.

Aussie state: As a PETA recognised cruelty free hair care brand, you can rest assured that we care deeply about our furry friends, large and small. Having doubts about what vegan hair care means? No worries! We did all the digging for you. The SOS range is Vegan and so are the Bars.

YES – This works for me!


2. No Aluminiums or Parabans or Sulphates or Silicons

After so many years of reading labels, endless hours looking up chemical names, I am not about to give this up just because it is eco friendly. I need to have both, all, my criteria met to make yet another swap

Aussie state: No parabens or aluminium or silicons are used in this product and Sodium coco sulphate (SCS) is used to create the rich foam that cleanses hair and skin.

Made from the fatty acids of coconut oil, Sodium Coco Sulphate (SCS) it’s a good palm-free alternative to sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).

Sodium coco sulphate is a surfactant. All surfactants are partly water-soluble and partly oil-soluble, allowing oil and water to become dispersed.

Sodium coco sulphate is a much larger molecule which is too big to penetrate the skin and affect living cells under the surface like SLS can.

YES – This works for me! (but can I find a non sulphate alternative?….probably, although it does restrict the foam for cleaning hair and makes it difficult to actually clean your hair)


Makes a great fine foam very quickly by rubbing in your hands or straight into your hair or head

3a Reduce single Use Plastic

OR 3b Eliminate the plastic all together*

In this case these bars are 3b, they eliminate plastic all together. There is just the box to recycle which is a huge step from plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles hitting my recycling bin every month

Aussie state: Recyclable box and paper packaging

YES – This works for me!

4. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our products which is on average £15 a month on various different brands based on offers & discounts I find & stock up

These cost me £9.99 each from Boots, I have yet to see these on offer. I have been using the shampoo for the the last 2mths and Aussie state it is like 2 bottles of shampoo. it foams up so well I think I will get another month out of this bar, which is great.

The Conditioner bar however, I have not been able to get on with at all. It is just like a thick bar of lard, no matter how much I warm it up it just goes on my hair clumpy, thick and leaves it greasy.

YES – This works for me! HOWEVER I need to address the Conditioner situation

I will be continuing this into a PART 2 to see how I can change up the whole families Shampoo and Conditioner situation to address and eliminate plastic from our home into our recycling bin.

This is after 2mths use
Conditioner bar I used twice and didn’t get on with it, this is after being rubbed in hot water

Top 5 Reasons To Try This Swap

1. The whole reason is to stop extra waste coming out of the household. This produces ZERO PLASTIC waste each month!!

2. Small box of cardboard to recycle every other month rather than plastic bottles

3. Better on the environment not shipping any water to and from

4. Take up less space in your bathroom and these had hanging string so they dried out really fast.

5. Shampoo bars are easily accessible from bootsthechemist and more bars starting to be brought out into the mainstream supermarkets

As a household of 5 we each get through our shampoo and conditioner bottles once a month that would be 24 plastic bottles eliminated per year if we all used a style shampoo and conditioner bar.

🌳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 hair care too? What changes could you make to reduce your plastic waste

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-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Deodorant

Month 1- January It’s Deodorant

Background…..

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 swopping 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 swop starts to make a difference to our planet. What could you do today?

What Am I Looking For?

When looking at products I always found that they contained such a load of other harmful chemicals. Watching what food & drink I put into my and my families body made me really aware of what chemicals we were putting ON our bodies that would still pass through the skin into our bloodstream.

I’ve spent the last 5yrs swopping to non toxic brands, but that doesn’t mean that they are eco friendly too. So here I am making more swops. This month finding deodorants that met my criteria

What Is My Criteria?

My criteria for swapping over deodorants are:

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free

2. No Aluminiums or Parabans or Sulphates

3. No Single Use Plastic

4. Nothing I have to put in the recycling bin OR send back to be recycled

5. Biodegradable (if that will even be a thing)

6. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our non toxic deodorants of £6 per month

What Did I find?

There are so many on the market that hit 3 or 4 but not all 6 of my “demands” There were a few on the market that met all 6 of criteria. But this one stood out to me. I have been using this product since Oct 21 to give it a good review.

Wild Deodorant. This is What They Say

Wildly effective and sustainable.

Deodorant Redefined
Wild is the new, sustainable Natural Deodorant delivered straight to your door. Aluminium free with compostable, plastic free refills and a 100% effective formula.

Effective
Rigorously tried, tested and customer approved

Sustainable
Unique plastic-free, compostable refills

Convenient
Delivered through your letterbox when you need it

No Nasties
Powered by nature, not parabens or aluminium

Taken from their website: wearewild.com
Wild

How Did It Fit My Criteria?

1. Vegan & Cruelty Free

This is my No1 priority before even looking at anything else. Ideally I would prefer to support fully Vegan & Cruelty Free businesses.

Wild state: All our deodorants are made from ingredients that are vegan-friendly. Wild is powered by plants, not aluminium-salts or parabens and sulphates and all our formulas are certified vegan and cruelty-free. We never test on animals, only smelly people.

YES – This works for me!


2. No Aluminiums or Parabans or Sulphates

After so many years of reading labels, endless hours looking up chemical names, I am not about to give this up just because it is eco friendly. I need to have both, all, my criteria met to make yet another swop

Wild state: Wild is powered by plants, not aluminium-salts or parabens and sulphates and all our formulas are certified vegan and cruelty-free. No Nasties- Powered by nature, not parabens or aluminium

We will never use aluminium salts in our deodorant. Our reusable case is however made of aluminium alloy which is a very commonly used and safe form of packaging and is totally different to the aluminium salts used in some antiperspirants.

YES – This works for me!


Wild case and deodorant inserts

3. No Single Use Plastic

& 4. Nothing I have to put in the recycling bin OR send back to be recycled

& 5. Biodegradable (if that will even be a thing)

Refillable, reusable case & Unique plastic-free, compostable refills that come is a wide range of scents for the whole family, that keep being updated.

I didn’t even know if No5 was possible, I didn’t want to add anything more to the recycling pile, nor did I want to waste postage footprints in sending things back. I just wanted something that after I used it, it would compost away. And this does!!! I just bury the refill pots & lids in the dirt outside and it starts composting.

Wild state: That their refills are plastic-free, compostable refills

YES – This works for me!

So many different colours & you can personalise
with your name printed on the lid too. This is the blue & green cases

6. Cost. I do not want to spend any more than I already do on our non toxic deodorants of £6 per month

After grabbing a free case code, I only paid for the refills which are the same price as what I have been paying for my monthly deodorant. However I only switched out the refill after 7 weeks of daily use, so has lasted me nearly double. Dr Organic Deodorant is 50ml liquid and these refills are solid 43g, I do wonder if that makes a different as the liquid does come out faster?

Wild state: That their refills are plastic-free, compostable refills

YES – This works for me!

How Easy Is It To Use & Buy Refills?

Remove the bottom section
Remove the lid, pop the refill onto the base and slide in the base in till it clicks
Then just turn the base to use

To buy the refills you can pop along to BootsTheChemist who sell them or order directly off their website, there are so many to chose from all you need to do is select a case and pick out which scents you would like to use. Either pick a one off order, great to test it out, or you can have them deliver monthly for a discounted price.

You can even get them with your name printed on if you order direct from the website. This is the Gold version case. You can get a free case to start your eco deodorant journey by using my mention-me referral link.

So far I have tried out

Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt Inspired by newly washed linen drying in a cool seaside breeze this energizing fragrance will help you start your day right. Which I really loved the fresh clean smell.

Sandalwood & Patchouli This scent combines sultry, woody tones of sandalwood with the rich scent of patchouli to create a mysteriously decadent fusion. Which has been a real hit with both my teen boys as it smells like a cologne

Coconut & Vanilla This sweet scent will have you dreaming of trips to the tropics, thanks to its exotic blend of coconut oil, cocoa and shea butter. Not worn this one yet, but smells lovely

Jasmine & Mandarin Blossom This floral fragrance blends sweet, sophisticated notes of Jasmine with fresh and exotic smells of Mandarin Blossom. This is a hit with my pre-teen active daughter smells really cute and flowery

and I also had the Halloween special Toffee Apple which I wish I had got more of as it smells like Christmas

So many scents made from essential oils to try out

I also have the

3 x Mini Deodorants. These I have noticed get changed up with different scents. Which are ideal to pop in your bag, gym bag, car for a quick refresh….not that I have needed to use them!!

Top 5 Reasons To Try This Swap

1. Aluminium free (This is a must nowadays)

2. Compostable & plastic free refills. (I just bury mine in any soil outside)

3. Powered by nature, not paraben. (again, a must!)

4. Lots of different scents for the whole family (You can add your name to the cases too, which is cool)

5. You can get a free case to start your eco deodorant journey by using my mention-me referral link.

And of course the whole reason to stop extra waste coming out of the household. This produces ZERO waste each month!!

As a household if we each get through our deodorant once a month (like I do) that’s 60 plastic bottles now being eliminated per year!!!

🌳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 deodorant too?

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-No Waste Wednesday-What We Did With The Empty Compost Bags

What Did We Do?

We had used a few ready made compost bags around the garden this last year and rather than throw away these bags , I started to look around for usages.

Clayton in the garden sheet mulching the fruit trees

I could have just turned them inside out & used them to make leaf mould in, the black sides would have attracted the heat & made the process go faster.

I could have kept them to use as liners inside hanging baskets with holes poked in.

But I decided to use them to sort out the grass on the slope of the lavender hedging which I had planted last year as 2 things happened since I planted them:

1. I didn’t clear the grass fully, I just cut it really short, as I thought the lavender would bush OUT rather than go straight UP so would kill off the grass (noob mistake!)

How it looked when I planted them out Oct 2019

2. I did not plan on the grass growing so quickly and having to be cut weekly with hand shears!! Worst & most time consuming job of this year for sure!

I was not going to be doing that next year. I tried cardboard sheeting it inbetween but it would just slide off or get caught by the wind no matter how wet & pinned down it was. I tried mulching too but the slope is so steep everything just got piled up at the bottom when it rained.

Obviously looking back should have sorted this out first before planting….learning process for sure!

You cannot even see the lavender in the uncut sections the grass was so thick each week

What Do We Do?

I started by cutting both ends of the bags

Then cutting it straight up the back to form a flat piece of bag

This gave me a large section to work with. I repeated this with all the bags I had collected over the last year. I don’t like throwing things away.

How Did We Attach Them?

I had used just pegs & cardboard on this area but the pegs after a while just went through and were no longer holding anything in place. So I decided to use these pots as they already had holes in the right places I needed.

My alternative was to use yoghurt pots I had collected & punch/drill holes in, but these worked just as well. I doubled them up as they were thinner than yoghurt pots & I didn’t want to take any chances of going outside after a stormy night to see plastic flying around everywhere! That would have defeated the object of reusing-recycling-repurposing.

Once I had everything ready to go I started pinning in the top of the first sheet/bag using the peg pots.

Once I had peg-potted the 2 corners of the bag at the top. I then made small slits where the lavender was sitting by holding the bag down tight & using scissors to cut an X where the bump was

I then fed the lavender through the hole. I did this for all the lavender under this bag. Peg-potted the other 2 bottom corners down & moved onto the next bag sheet.

Lavender sits nice & neat ontop of the bag.

I continued doing this 1 bag sheet at a time, by taking the previous top corner peg-pot out & putting the next sheet underneath & peg-potting it back in carefully using the holes I had already made from first pushing the peg-pot in.

This section used 9 bags

Once I finished a section, like this. I went back and added extra peg-pots into the centre of each, edge top & bottom giving each bag 6 peg-pots.

Maybe didn’t need to be so cautious as this but as it was on a slope I wanted to make sure the wind wasn’t going to get underneath it and lift it up.

Getting It Finished

As with everything I do it takes a couple of sessions to finish anything. Usually because I am teaching & guiding Clayton at the same time so things just take longer, he or I get tired or the Scottish weather creeps in!

Here is some progress photos. I still need another 5 to completely finish it.

Incase you were wondering what on earth the bamboo sticks, bottles & string is all about!

Initially the bamboo sticks with the string was a guide line to get the lavender all in neat rows when I first planted up the 90 odd plants (all grown from seed during lockdown) The bottles just a simple way of stopping any accidents happening from falling on the sticks.

They got left up because the bottles rattle when the wind blows and it scares the Deer so they tend to not stay “too long” and usually just run straight across AND I really like the noise too, it’s really calming like a wind chime. It also stopped anyone going super close to the edge and falling down, kinda like a visual warning too. They’ll get moved once the hedge gets established

So we have gone from this Feb 2019.
(1st slope by the house)
To putting them in Oct 2020
To Nov 2021

This covers Permaculture Design principle No7. Produce no waste. We aim to reduce as much as we can to produce no waste from what we are consuming. Starting by reducing.

Top 5 Reasons To Try This

1. To reduce waste that goes to the landfill

2. To kill off & suppress any grass & weed growth

3. Save money on buying store bought products for the job

4. Reduce the need to buy any plastic sheeting, there are also many alternatives to plastic sheeting

5. As always the best reason. It’s free. It’s being reused-recycled-repurposed.

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Sheet Mulching a Large Grass Lawn Area To Build A Food Forest

See Previous Posts Starting to Build a Food Forest, Where Did We Start?

And Building a Food Forest in Scotland. Starting with the Tree Layer (Year 1)

Where Did We Start From?

This area had the 8 Fruit Trees & Cages planted across the back. The idea was to sheet mulch the whole area around the cages so in 6mths time next Spring we would not only have stopped all the grass from growing but we would have some composted leaf mould soil covering this area ready to plant out more of our Food Forest

The space we are covering was 77ft long by 22ft wide and on a slight slope of about 15°

Full Grass Lawn When We Moved In
Feb 2019
Fruit Trees Put In
Summer 2019
Fruit Trees with the Fruit Cages & Where We Began
Oct 2021

Getting Started

We spent the whole 12mths collecting cardboard, we filled up a huge section of the garage, removing any tape or stickers and flat packing as we went.

This time last year we collected all the leaves from the garden & road weekly until they were all cleared to produce leaf mould compost to use for this project.

Leaf mould is made when autumn leaves are broken down by the slow action of fungi, rather than by bacteria that decompose other compost bin ingredients.

Pile leaves up separately in a bespoke leaf mould bin or cage and you’ll have the perfect material to use for mulching and potting in years to come.

Source: Gardeners World

This Is What Our Leaf Mould Looked Like
Oct 2021

Using the cardboard we lay it over the grass (we did not cut it first as it was too wet & some areas were over 12” high, just flattened it down with our feet) making sure to overlap every piece of cardboard by a good 6” and checking any flaps had cardboard underneath, so there was no gaps at all. Ideally 2 layers would have been good but this was a huge space to cover we went with 1, but very overlapped.

Fruit Cages Were Removed & Cardboard Cut Around
Fresh Bag Of Compost Were Put around the Fruit Trees, Fruit Bushes, Chives & Strawberries
Fruit Cages Put Back On And Pinned Back In Which Also Held The Cardboard In Place While We Worked Around The Area
The First Section Completed And Ready To Be Filled Up With Mulch

First Session

From here we started to pile on a layer of fresh leaves from around the garden, followed by cut grass and last years leaves that had made leave mould. Making it at least 6″ deep. We had to do this section by section as it was a lot of work moving the compost/leaves/leaf mould across the garden from the compost bins over to where it needed to be. At the end of every section we completed, we hosed it all down to make sure the cardboard was wet at the bottom so it didn’t start sliding down the slope and everything on top was heavy enough not only to hold the cardboard down, but wet and sticky enough for it not to move in the wind.

Hosing down

Clayton is studying on the Grow and Learn Course with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society. Clayton is 14, Autistic, Non Verbal & is being Home Educated & Works in the Garden on All The Tasks With Me. Check out our Instagram for daily updates: Katrina & Clayton – Building a Food Forest Scotland

This doesn’t even look like a lot that was done here as it is on a slope, this first section was 22ft long by 10ft wide. The 30ltr potato buckets were put around all the edge as I was convinced that they whole thing would just blow way….that did not happen, even during the stormy high wind weather.

Second & Third Session

The weather was not on our side for a few days so we were only getting out there for a few hours at a time to get the next section completed. We worked across 2 fruit cages sections at a time. By the time we had got to this point we have covered 4 of the 8 Fruit cages.

Fourth Session

This section took us across cages 5 and 6 and right up to the last cages 7 and 8. These two at this end had not grown as well as the others, they are shaded by the large hedge of trees (which we plan on taking down back to the hedging it was originally met to be, but had been left to grow).

We decided that there was enough space at the other end to move these Fruit Trees in-between the large square fruit cage and the fruit cages 1 and 2. These will be moved next Spring.

It was at this point that we started to run out of cardboard, home made compost, grass cuttings, leaf mould…pretty much everything half way through.

Managed to collect cardboard from the local community by posting on a local Facebook group. Leaves were falling rapidly luckily so I took to setting the lawn mower on the highest setting and whipping them up, this worked really well as the leaves were chopped up into smaller pieces, making composting over the next 6mths an easier task as they were already part broken down.

After spending hours sweeping up leaves on the road, I also took the lawn mower down there, which made a way better job of it than just sweeping and in just 20mins instead of a few hours. I spend my time collecting all these leaves in builders tonne bags until I was ready to use them.

Fifth & Last Session

This was the last section and session that was to be done, again due to weather this was done over a few days a few hours at at a time, completing the full 70ft by 22ft section.

From start to finish this took us 5 weeks, due to weather, collecting more cardboard and collecting all the leaves up to use.

This last section was going back to the other end and filling in the section between the large square Fruit Cage and the smaller round Fruit Trees to be able to move trees 7 & 8 over to this space in the Spring.

Before We Started This Area & Now
Before & After

Looking forward to planting this all out next Spring

THIS BLOG COVERED:

Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

➡️ Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022


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This blog is from the 🟦 Blue Food Forest Area.

Other related blogs from this area are:

-No Waste Wednesday- How We Made Easy Toilet Bombs Using 3 Ingredients

What Did We Do?

First we start by finding the ingredients we needed, we already had a large range of essential oils to use, bicarbonate of soda we use for cooking so we jut needed to source some citric acid granules which was easier than expected as it is widely sold and pretty cheap. As we are using so little in these the 1kg tub I got will last us a few years I bet!

We decided to add some lavender that I had sitting there from when it was pruned in early Autumn. Not necessary, but it totally does look pretty sitting in the jar and smells extra amazing when opened.

Toilet Bombs finished with added lavender flowers

How Did We Do It?

Clayton our eldest child who was making these is 14. He is Non verbal & Autistic. He likes to do things how he likes and even though telling him to put a small amount of lavender flowers in the bottom of the moulds he put in more than I would have done. But again this is not a necessary step I just had the lavenders drying in the house already. I would love to try these out with dried flowers though, would be so pretty in the glass jars.

Clayton pruning the lavender hedge in the Autumn

We used some silicon moulds we already had, but you could use ice cube trays as they didn’t really need poking out or any help at all they just slipped out. I’ve seen then even just scooped up with a spoon and moulded into a ball on a plate.

Work with what you’ve got, get creative……collect up your yoghurt pots, cut the bottom of your fizzy drink cans, use old coffee filters or cupcake cases. Look around your home and see what you can come up with if you don’t have any silicon moulds, tag me on insta if you find something creative @buildingafoodforest_scotland

Clayton filling up the silicon moulds with some lavender flowers

What 3 Ingredients Did We Use?

1. Bicarbonate of Soda – 1 cup

1. Bicarbonate of Soda – 1 cup

2. Citric Acid – 1/4 cup

2. Citric Acid – 1/4 cup

3. Essential Oils – 60 drops

3. Essential Oils – 60 drops

We picked, 30 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil &
30 drops Orange Essential Oil

You will also need:

Silicone Mould or alternative

Spray bottle with water

How Did We Do It?

NOTE: We added the Lavender to the moulds first, then added this mixture on top.

  1. Measure & Mix together the Bicarbonate of Soda and citric acid
  2. Add 60 drops of your chosen essential oils and mix.
  3. Fill a spray bottle with water and spray twice into your mixture & Mix
3. Fill a spray bottle with water and
spray twice into your mixture & Mix

4. Repeat until around 10-12 sprays of water
and mix after every 2 sprays*

* Avoid spraying too much or it will start to fizz. Think of it as slightly dampening the mixture rather than making it wet.

4. Repeat until around 10-12 sprays of water
and mix after every 2 sprays*

5. Press the mixture into your silicone mould
firmly pressing down into all the edges.

5. Press the mixture into your silicone mould
firmly pressing down into all the edges.

6. Leave for 12hrs or overnight to dry out and harden

7. Turn the silicone mould over and carefully pop out your toilet bombs.

8. Pop in an airtight container

8. Pop in an airtight container
Tongs are perfect for getting them in & out the jar to avoid touching them with your hands
Lavender stayed put better than I thought it would
Easy, eco friendly feature added to your bathroom
Mould we used were small so we need to use 2 each time in the toilet
Add a label to show they are clearly for the toilet!

This covers Permaculture Design principle No7. Produce no waste. We aim to reduce as much as we can to produce no waste from what we are consuming. Starting by reducing.

Top 5 Reasons To Try This

1. They absorb odours and help to keep toilets cleaner between cleanings.

2. No need to worry about toxic fumes or skin-burning chemicals when you use them.

3. The Fizziness in the toilet bombs mean less scrubbing because the fizzy action powers the ingredients to help dissolve stains.

4. Less of a hassle getting out cleaning products when you can just pop one in before bed every night.

5. As always the best reason. It’s helping to cut down on plastic & chemicals in your house and these really only take 10mins to make.

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-No Waste Wednesday-What To Do With All The Little Bits Of Cardboard
-No Waste Wednesday-How We Grow Food in a Vertical Garden Using Milk Cartons On A Fence
-No Waste Wednesday- How We Use Insides Of Toilet Rolls In Our Garden

-No Waste Wednesday-What To Do With All The Little Bits Of Cardboard

What Do We Do?

There are so many bits of cardboard and paper that comes through the post nowadays, there’s a bigger box with brown paper packing inside, then a smaller box with the product in. Trays of tins come on brown cardboard, extra strips of packing in furniture boxes, amazon envelopes, the list goes on…..

Of course you can just pop it into the recycling and hope it gets sorted out the other end, but so much of it doesn’t get sorted out and still ends up at the landfill. We try to use everything that we can when it arrives to us.

Before you start make sure you remove any tape or stickers.

Sample of a few weeks of useable cardboard and brown paper
Internal packaging for 1 small item in a large box.
All can be torn up to use

How Do We Do It?

I have a box by the backdoor for all of the cardboard and paper to be put in for it to be shredded (torn up by hand by the kids and myself). Anything that isn’t glossy or printed with coloured ink goes in here doesn’t matter how small.

Shredding/ripping up cardboard to smaller pieces so it is easy to break down

After collecting enough to get a bag full we start doing this, usually every week to clear the box and put it into a bag to take out to the areas of the garden needed. This time of year – Autumn in the UK is perfect for using in the raised beds to add carbon to the soil ready for next year.

Clayton busy tearing up strips into smaller pieces.
This is such a great sensory activity and perfect for building up hand and finger muscles for
fine motor skills

What Do We Do With It All?

First thing we do & do all year round is add it to our compost bins. There is always a load of Green Waste like grass, food waste & finished plants, but not much Brown Waste during the year to allow for that lasagne style composting (layers of brown, green, brown green waste)

What is Composting?

Composting is the biological process of turning organic waste into organic fertiliser which requires a mixture of

C02 (air)

H20 (water)

N(Nitrogen) -This is the Green Waste

C (Carbon) -This is the Brown Waste

GREEN WASTE (rich in nitrogen)

  1. Fruit and veggie scraps (except citrus peels & onion)
  2. Coffee grounds
  3. Tea bags (if made with natural materials)
  4. Loose leaf tea
  5. Soy/rice/almond or coconut milk
  6. Cooked rice or pasta
  7. Flowers
  8. Grass clippings
  9. Hair (pet or human)
  10. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
  11. Pits from fruit (cut up so they don’t sprout)

BROWN WASTE (rich in carbon)

  1. Garden waste (dead leaves, small branches, etc.)
  2. Sawdust/wood chips from untreated wood
  3. Uncoated paper products (ripped up)
  4. Crushed eggshells
  5. Dry cereal and breads
  6. Nut shells
  7. Oatmeal
  8. 100% cotton balls
  9. Dryer lint
  10. Uncoated cardboard (ripped up)
  11. Wine corks (chopped up)
Clayton adding a layer of brown waste to the compost
Compost bin made of pallets with cardboard sheets covering the inside sides & folded over the top
Brown- Cardboard gets a good soaking to break down easier.

Our second use of the bits of cardboard goes to putting the garden to sleep for the winter! Having them ready for spring is vital to get a good harvest. Like the compost bin we use layers

1. Chop & Drop -chop at the soil level & drop it in place (Green)

2. Cardboard- all ripped into small pieces (Brown)

3. Compost- from the compost bin from the year before (Brown)

4. Green Manure- red clover seeds added on the top that will be chopped & dropped again in spring ready to plant in (Green)

Getting beds ready for next Spring
Green- Chop & Drop layer added for composting
Brown- cardboard layer added to compost down
Brown- Compost layer added
Green-red clover seeds added for nitrogen fixing
Clayton fixing the cage

Bigger Pieces Get Used For Sheet Mulching

Clayton busy placing the cardboard on the ground
Sheet mulching with large pieces of cardboard
Adding grass cutting & compost mix onto the leaves
October 2021

This covers Permaculture Design principle No7. Produce no waste. We aim to reduce as much as we can to produce no waste from what we are consuming. Starting by reducing.

Top 5 Reasons To Try This

1. To reduce waste that goes to the landfill

2. Improve your soil, plant growth and yield

3. Save money on buying store bought compost

4. Use less water. Compost helps with moisture retention.

5. As always the best reason. It’s free. It’s being reused-recycled-repurposed.

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Building a Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden in a Small Space in Scotland (Part 1)

Where Did it Start?

This area was pretty much open when we moved in in the February 2019. The trees that were a loose hedge were bare opening up onto a huge field.

Looking the opposite way towards the main garden along the side of the house
Looking along the whole side of the house.

You can read about this area in this blog Making Every Bit Of Space Usable. Building A Long Planter Raised Bed

We had to get this area fenced in asap so the kids were safe from roaming deers, dogs or anything else that bounded across the field to us.

Trimmed the trees back & had a fence put up along the edge. If we had cut the trees down we could have moved the fence another meter, but we decided to leave them to grow on the other side.
6ft fence around the main section, then 4ft fence so we could still see the view from our kitchen window
View over the fence across the field
From inside the Kitchen. Couldn’t block that view with a fence right!

What Did We Do?

After getting the fence and gate up to make it an enclosed space, this was originally for a sensory play area for our eldest, Clayton (then 12) Autistic son to have water tables and tubes, sand tables with measuring and weighing items to cover his Home Education too.

That was until we found out his love for the garden, planting seeds, watering, harvesting, so this area then became our Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden, which still only have half of the area done. This area sat doing nothing for a few months before I cleared it again and started getting some herbs in.

The paint all came off the top rails with the snow/frost in the winter and sat doing nothing for a few months.
All cleared out, weeded & ready to start taking shape.

How Did We Do It?

There was already a part retaining wall at the end, which was so cute and perfect to start the herbs right there, I bought some ready made little wooden edging, painted with Cuprinial Black paint and hammered the attached stakes in place to make it a little higher to plant in.

What Did We Plant to Start With?

In the first year 2019-2020 (April-April) nothing happened this area wasn’t ready. Fencing went up Oct ish in 2019 & sat doing nothing until the following year.

The following year, April 2020 we got started after clearing, weeding it all again & planted a row of herbs & broad beans. I wasn’t really sure if this area would get enough sun to grow in, so this first year was a bit of a observation year.

Sage & Broad Beans
Rosemary & Broad Beans
Chives & Broad Beans

What Did We Plant Next?

Area started filling out & Strawberry baskets went up
Mint, dug in in a pot
Coriander grown from seed
Sage continued to thrive in this space
Crimson & White Broad Beans started to flower, lettuce was added to any spaces left
Rosemary kept spreading. Lettuce in spaces
Strawberry Planters grew well here with the afternoon sun
Started to look like a Courtyard Garden

Next We Built Another Fence Planter

Using the same methods as in the blog Building a Mini Food Forest in a Small Area. Ours is On A Fence

Our younger 2 kids got involved measuring & building these. They would have been 9 & 11 here.
Longer posts cemented in with postcrete
Lettuce seedlings planted out interspersed with radish &

To be continued….

Look out for Part 2 where we built a large planter in the middle & added our inspirational milk carton vertical growing fence or check out the No Waste Wednesday Blog -No Waste Wednesday-How We Grow Food in a Vertical Garden Using Milk Cartons On A Fence


THIS BLOG COVERED:

Yr 1 – April 2019- April 2020

Look out for blog post for Yr 2 – April 2020- April 2021

Look out for blog post for Yr 3 – April 2021- April 2022


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This blog is from the ⬜️ Grey Area⬜️

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