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Katrina & Clayton share their daily life in the garden *sometimes* the DIY in the home (that is getting neglected) which is also something Clayton enjoys getting stuck into.

Hope you enjoy following what we get up to and how we incorporate #permaculture, #nowaste, #sheetmulching #ecoswaps & #MilkCartonGrowing into our daily life.

All blogged about for more photos & details twice a month….so don’t forget to sign up so you don’t miss a thing.

Thank you as always for your love & support – Katrina & Clayton 😘

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-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Plastic Wrapping Paper

Month 12- December it’s Wrapping Paper

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?

Simple swap of Plastic Wrapping Paper

So here are 5 ways you swap out your plastic wrapping paper

1. Just swap out your plastic paper to a recyclable one

Paper

There are lots of different options in most stores right now, paper based. Check to see if it says recyclable, anything with glitter, sparkles, high shine, foiling is not. Keep it simple!

You don’t even have to buy dedicated Christmas paper, there are beautiful birthday designs OR just plain brown parcel paper is very effective & festive when you add a ribbon

There is also sooo much brown paper you can just reuse that comes in packaging nowadays, no need to even buy, just need to be savvy over the year to collect enough….this goes straight back into our soil once we’ve finished with ours

Selection of what we have in the house atm
Brown packaging paper
Check out our blog post to see how we use scrap cardboard & paper

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

2. Use up bags that you were given

Reuse gift bags that you were given

Any gift bags we have been given go straight out the house for others gifts. I’ve kept these fabric bags from Amazon gift wrapping service over the years to use in the house for each of our birthdays.

We’ve collected several sizes over the years to use. They just get packed away for the next birthday.

3. Tissue paper

Use & reuse tissue paper

Over the years I’ve also collected tissue paper, it comes in so much!!! I just have a box where I store it & it comes out every time.

What I love about tissue paper is

1. That it looks great all crinkled up, so you don’t need to worry what it looks like.

2. I don’t even bother using tape, just roll the gift up, tuck the ends in & add a ribbon if needed. These are great for using in stocking or all those little bits that you can then pop in a box.

3. It is so much quieter than using actual paper, with Clayton struggling with noise even with his ear defenders on this is my go too for wrapping in the house.

Tissue paper

4. Use tote bags

Last year I got off ebay a huge stack of plain tote bags that we tie dyed for gift wrapping

If you saw last months -12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Fast Fashion you’ll have seen we tie dye every year so we just added these in too. We even made our own gift tags from keyrings & beads with the persons name on for another usable gift

4. Use Pillow Cases or fabric

If buying tote bags is too much for you, try pillow cases or fabric. Cut up old bed sheets, old worn out tshirts, anything that would usually be thrown out, try finding a solution for anything leaving your home.

I’m sure there are some of you rolling your eyes now thinking what are you on about, pillowcases!!! Well let me tell you….

If noise is an issue for your child then this creates a beautiful calm situation and not just for Christmas

If sticky tape or the touch of shiny paper causes sensory meltdowns then with pillowcases you don’t need to worry, you just pop the gift in & fold it over.

Believe me unless you have tried it you won’t know what you are missing, when you have 5 people opening gifts, talking, laughing at the same time the noise is too much, this softer approach changes the whole event AND there is no mess to clear up afterwards either!

Gifts in pillowcases for a birthday in our home

And don’t forget if you are using sticky tape there are other alternatives

Plant based 0% plastic sellotape
Skip the tape all together and use string or off cuts of yarn or look out for ribbons on your items you can keep & re-use

So there! 5 different ways to remove plastic wrapping paper from your home & gifts

There is only 1 reason this month to make some swaps

1. The whole reason is to stop plastic waste coming out of the 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 items too?

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-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Fast Fashion

Month 11- November it’s Fast Fashion

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?

Simple swap of fast fashion & looking at other alternatives

We (I) have always been very savvy with clothing & shoes especially when you have 3 kids in 3.5yrs, they pretty much all end up the same size which means there are rarely hand-me-downs and 3 sets of the same things bought all in the same sizes every year!!

Here’s a few things we do, not really just this month it’s an ongoing lifestyle we’ve been living for over a decade because you can only wear 1 pair of shoes, 1 coat at a time! But certainly worth taking up an eco swap month to talk about it.

So here are 3 ways you can look at the way you buy & wear items

First: You don’t need to have loads of items

Limited Clothes & Shoes

I’ve always kept shoes for everyone to 4 pairs. Shoes only get replaced when they grow out of them or in our case as adults when they wear out.

– Smart – School/Work or Social

– Trainers for Sports

– Wet shoes -Wellies or Snow boots

– Dry shoes – Sliders or crocs

Every pair of shoes in the house for 5 of us.
Peter literally only has those 2 pairs on the top!

Clothes are kept to a minimum too. Key is keeping it basic & just add layers

What’s in Clayton’s wardrobe right now

Second: You don’t have to buy everything new

Buy from ebay & sell them back on ebay

Ever since the kids were tiny I would buy bundles from ebay, use them & put them back on, to sell. They were barley in them for 6mths & still useable. I’d use that money to buy the next set of items

I still do this with hoodies & zip up hoodies. There are always GAP hoodies on there for £3.00-£5.00 & the next year when we need to size up they go back on & next ones bought or I just buy larger over sizes ones now that last a few years before I change them up

This style of recycling-reusing not only saves money as you are selling to buy the next ones, it saves being part of the fast & disposable fashion cycle.

Wearing their GAP coats
Younger wearing GAP coats

Third- You can make your own clothes

Tied Dying & Crocheting

We’ve been tie dying for a good 4-5 years now. I get the £1-£2 plain white tshirts either from the back to school packs in supermarkets, primark or ebay.

We then buy a pack of coloured dye & the kids all make their own tops for the year. YEP THE WHOLE YEAR. They have 6 each and that’s all they wear. You’ll see these all across our instagram accounts

Katrina & Clayton – BuildingAFoodForest_Scotland

Katrina & Eliza – OurCrochetLife

Katrina & Riley – OurVeganFoodLife

Here’s some over the years, which they love wearing as they made them themselves. Great way to be creative too.

At the end of the year they get either gifted to friends & family if no holes in them & ones that are no longer wearable get cut up to make other things like hair scrunchies, ties for the garden to hold things up, long ribbons to tie up gifts. We can always find uses for them, they are never wasted or thrown away.

Clayton doing his own tshirts a few years ago
Kids this Summer out at the park in their tshirts

Eliza & I started Crocheting this year to make wearables

The thing about making your own clothes out of yarn is:

1. You can make them to fit yourself perfectly

2. When you’ve grown out of it or just had enough of it, you just unravel it & make something else

You can see a section of cardies & jumpers we’ve made this year on our instagram OurCrochetLife

3 ways we reduce the fast fashion cycle

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.

🌳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 of clothes & shoes?

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-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Plastic Bottles

Month 10- October it’s Plastic Bottles

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?

Simple swap of not buying fizzy drinks in plastic bottles & switching to cans

All our cans get the tabs removed & crushed to go to a local charity that collects them for cash. So nothing goes into our recycling bin

As much as I would love to just stop buying them Clayton actually drinks fizzy drinks, think he likes the feel of the bubbles on his tongue. It means we can guarantee that he has drunk enough during the day too by counting the cans finished.

*BUT* here are 5 Ways You Can Use In Your Plastic Bottles in the Garden before putting them in the recycling

This month I have concentrated on what we have done with plastic bottles before we switched over to cans this year.

First Use- Using Plastic Bottles To Plant In

What did we do?

We took the 1ltr flavoured fizzy drink bottles and cut them in half. Added drainage holes by drilling holes in the bottom and wrapping some brown paper around them to protect the roots. These lavender were in here for a good 4mths before planting out.

Second Use – Use The Tops As Mini Green Houses

What did we do?

The tops of the bottles we used as mini greenhouse or cloche to allow the seedlings to have a humid environment to get started. They were used inside in our seed pots and outside in our vertical garden milk cartons

Using them outside to protect from the cold
Using them inside to help seedlings grow faster

Third Use – Use The Middle Sections To Stop Slugs Eating Small Plants

What did we do?

Made cuffs with a middle section to stop the slugs on small seedlings. Cut the middle of the fizzy water bottles. Put sticky copper tape around the top & used pinking scissors to cut around the top so its sharp for slugs to go over.

Fourth Use – Using Them For Protection In The Garden

What did we do?

These were a double usage, the bottles either full or just the tops were put on the bamboo poles, firstly for health & safety to protect our eyes so we didn’t hurt ourselves but secondly they moved in the wind and rattled against the poles and scared away the birds and Deer away, so a win win.

Fifth Use – Using Them As A Watering Can

What did we do?

♻️Using Bottles as Watering Cans.

💧🌿Clayton struggles to use watering cans as he tends to tip them too far & the misses where they are suppose to go. Ending up with frustration especially inside the house.

💧🌿Using these he can aim the water and the flow just where he wants & it is much lighter & easy to hold.

💧🌿We always have 2 on the go. One with large holes “lots” for a bigger flow & one with smaller holes “little” for a smaller, more lighter flow.

💧🌿They are ideal to keep in your car boot too for washing hands or shoes. We use them to wash the sand off our booties when we Stand Up Paddle board ✨Full bottle of water with a lid with no holes for travelling, then swap the lid to one with the holes in when needed 👌🏼

5 Uses For Plastic Bottles

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.

🌳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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How We Grow Food in a Vertical Garden Using Milk Cartons On A Fence – 2022 UPDATE

What Did We Do?

Not being happy with the amount of plastic that was going to landfill, we wanted to come up with a solution to help reduce that. When researching I came across plastic milk cartons being used on the window sills for herbs, just the bottoms used with drainage holes. I thought why not use them outside for herbs instead, but being in Scotland where it is wet and windy I didn’t want them sitting on the ground or being blown all over the garden on a windy day, so I decided to have them up on the fence.

Winter Planting- Red Pak Choi & White Pak Choi
Strawberries on the top row

How Did We Do It?

First we started asking neighbours to save these 4ltr milk cartons for us, as we are Vegan we don’t use them nor did we have anything else big enough to use with a handle. Our neighbours over the last year have sent over more than 130 bottles for us. Not only do we use these milk cartons for our Vertical Garden, we use them as scoops and seed collectors.

After collecting enough to get started we washed them out, removed the labels and cut them to the shape we required, leaving the handles on, but removing the lid section and adding drainage holes to the bottom. Watch the short video below for full details

Next we got some curtain poles that we had that were never used and screwed them onto the fence. We started with just 2, since then, we have added another 4 with 132 cartons in total in this area.

Screws added where red dots are for stability
Screws in front & back of the cartons. Not fully pulled in to the fence so the cartons don’t rip

Once the cartons were threaded onto the curtain poles using the handles, I lifted them very slightly with my hand at the bottom and screwed in a screw to the fence (where the red dots are) this was done just to take the whole weight off the curtain pole when the soil and water was in them. This method has worked great and there have been no problems. The first ones have been in place since April 2020

What Do We Plant?

We started off planting herbs in them, once they grew too big, we then removed them and planted them out into the garden around the fruit trees and into other Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden areas. The coriander grew huge in these cartons over 30cm before we moved them out. Parsley was left in over winter and thrived again the following year before we moved them out.

Growing Herbs
Coriander In The SPRING

After the herbs are all done, we planted them out with lettuce, which was amazing, not only does the rain water them well, the drainage holes keep them from being water logged and drips slowly onto the raised bed layer below, which reduces the need to be out there constantly watering them. When we had that dry spell over the summer we used the water from the water butt to just top them up with water.

Growing Salads
Lettuce In The SUMMER

We ate these as “cut & come again” removing the bottom leaves to eat as we wanted them.

Pak Choi & Tat Soi In The AUTUMN & Over WINTER

For the winter we plant White Pak Choi Red Pak Choi and Tat Soi which have thrived in here too.

The last row that went up has all the strawberry runners we have got from our strawberries this year. They will stay in there over winter and we will move them under the fruit fruits for ground coverage in the spring.

Nov 2021- Winter Planting- Red Pak Choi
Nov 2021-Winter Planting- Tat Soi
Nov 2021-Winter Planting- White Pak Choi
October 2022 – Strawberries on top row

Where We Are Now

We added the 3rd row in August 2021 with the Pak Choi & Tat Soi in for the winter making that 66.

Summer 2022 we added another 3 rows making that 132 cartons. This has taken over 2yrs to collect from neighbours

Clayton busy watering after planting in Aug 2021
September 2021
October 2021

We Have Just Added Another Set – Repurposed 132 In Total

Planting Up Winter Seeds & Two Weeks Growth

2019-2021

Read more about this area of our garden in the blog post: Building a Kitchen Courtyard Herb Garden in a Small Space in Scotland (Year 1)

This covers Permaculture Design principle No6. 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. Vertical Garden looks visually pleasing (I think) especially on the black fence that holds the heat keeping the cartons warmer for longer.

2. Makes great use of space you already have.

3. So easy to get started right away. Our kids love this area & watering those cartons. Ideal community project too.

4. Keeps slugs away as they are high up they don’t seem to bother with them.

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

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-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

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?

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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The Beechgrove Garden 2022 Episode 23 – Katrina & Peter Gelderbloem

The Beechgrove Garden 2022 Episode 23 – Katrina & Peter Gelderbloem

Katrina from Cambridgeshire, England & Peter from Cape Town, South Africa and their children are a Vegan living family of 5 living in East Ayrshire, Scotland. 3 children aged 12-15. Their eldest Clayton who is Autistic and Non verbal is Home Educated by Katrina and has developed a keen interest and eye for the garden and is most happiest when planting seeds, potting up and watering what he has grown. This year Clayton started the Grow and Learn Course with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society. They started building their garden 3 years ago in 2019 when they moved here.

From Beechgrove Episode 23 – Katrina & Peter

You can follow Katrina & Clayton on their instagram page buildingafoodforest_scotland watching them around their garden while they build up their Food Forest with Fruit, Nuts & Berries. Their Kitchen Courtyard Garden using Vertical Gardening techniques, their Vegetable Planters, Mini Food Forests on Fences & Clayton’s Flower Beds.

From Beechgrove Episode 23 – Katrina & Clayton

The family have lived in Scotland since 2013 and decided to finally make it their home in 2019 and bought a property in East Ayrshire with large enough grounds to start building a food forest approx 1/4 acre to start having fresh basic food supplies for their family.

Peter completed Permaculture Design Course online at Oregon State University (certified by the Permaculture Institute of North America) and has designed the grounds using the 12 principles of permaculture design, they started with the fruit trees and fruit & nut bushes to get them established (all under net cages for Deer protection) while they slowly but surely continue to build the area around them.

From Beechgrove Episode 23 – Riley & Eliza

Read more on: Get to know us

Update of the area: A Little About Us and Where The Food Forest Has Started From – 2022 Update

Where we started from in 2019

The Beechgrove Garden 2022 Episode 23 – Katrina & Peter Gelderbloem – Timestamp 20.25

NB: Not been working on the garden for 10 years. Only moved there in 2019, so just 3 years

Watch on iplayer: BBC Beechgrove Episode 23

Watch Beechgrove Episode 23

Timestamp 20.25

The Beechgrove Garden 2022 episode 23:

Carole Baxter and Kirsty Wilson are once again hard at work at Beechgrove. Kirsty designed and planted a hot border back in April that would bring vibrant color to the late summer, and she is giving it the final once-over to assess whether it delivered.

Also reviewing the summer’s performance, Carole and Kirsty check out the results of the quirky containers – how did the compost work out, and what can be planted in them next? Meanwhile, George is joined in Joppa by Carole to check on how the tomatoes and decorative planting have measured up.

BBC Beechgrove Gardens

Celebrating the great Scottish garden. Tips and advice to get the most out of your garden, with inspirational ideas from Scotland’s most beautiful green spaces. The Beechgrove Garden has been on air since 1978 and remains a firm favourite with audiences in Scotland. Beechgrove shares with its viewers the weekly challenge to work with the Scottish conditions to produce maximum yield of as many varieties as possible of fruit, flowers and vegetables.

-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Bathroom Items

Month 8 – August it’s Bathroom Items

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?

5 Straight Out Swaps in the Bathroom!

This month I have concentrated on what I could swap out in the bathroom that was ready to be replaced. I managed to swap out 5 items

First Bathroom Swap

FACE- Face cloths & scrubs

So many disposable items can be used for the face from make-up wipes to cotton wool to cotton pads. They are not really necessary though when you can just store reusable ones & pop them into the wash when you next do your wash, or indeed wash them out afterwards & leave them to dry out.

We have 2 alternatives we now are using in the bathroom. Good old flannels & cotton crocheted pads, ideal for removing make-up or giving your face a little facial massage/scrub.

I no longer by scrubs either, my favourite scrub to use is a little coconut oil & brown sugar mixed together, leaves your face so soft, ideal for your whole body to exfoliate also.

Second Bathroom Swap

TEETH: Floss & toothbrushes

We use floss from The Humble co. “eco-friendly and innovative everyday products that doesn’t compromise on functionality and quality”

Product Info

floss picks made entirely from plastics? old school. try the humble floss picks that use corn-starch as its main base. comes packed in a eco-friendly paper bag.

humble floss picks makes flossing a piece of cake! the double threading ensures that food debris is effectively removed whilst the shape of the pick promotes easy access to those hard to reach places. made primarily from corn-starch and packaged in eco-friendly paper packaging, humble floss picks aim to minimise the stress on our environment whilst providing a first class experience

thehumble.co

Product Features

vegan certified -no animal products
cruelty-free certified -never tested on animals
developed by dentists- professionally developed

Third Bathroom Swap

BODY: Hand & Body Wash

Check out the swap on the Shampoo & Conditioner in this range that we are using -12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Hair Care (Part 2)

Product Features

Faith In Nature Hand & Body washes in bulk refillable bottles

Faith In Nature Putting Nature First Since 1974

PLASTIC
Enough, already. Our 400ml bottles have been recycled and recyclable since 1999. 
REFILL
Bulk is beautiful. We’ve been making our products in big 5 litre bottles for decades
CLOSED LOOP
We want our bottles back, by returning your bottles to us, you help us reach better solutions, faster.
ZERO WASTE
Between our plastics policy, refill availability and closed loop scheme, we like to think we’re passing on as little of the plastics problem to our customers as possible. 

faithinnature.com

UK MADE -Thinking global, acting local

Fourth Bathroom Swap

EARS: Cleaners

We swapped over our cotton buds to these bio degradable, bamboo cotton buds. We throw these straight in our food compost bins to take outside to add to our main compost heaps or just dig a hole in the soil and add in and let it degrade. These are ideal for ears as well as removing eye make up, cleaning up wounds etc… a great swap.

Product Features

  • Environment-friendly – These cotton buds are eco-friendly with plastic-free packaging. They contain 0% single use plastic and 100% recyclable. 
  • Biodegradable – These cotton buds are made of 100% pure cotton and bamboo. . 

Fifth Bathroom Swap

WOMENS HEALTH: Sanitary Pads

When the kids were babies we used washable nappies, they were so easy to use and saved us so much money having all 3 in nappies for a while as they are so close in age. We just had a soak bucket we put them into each time with water & a few drops of tea tree oil in (removing any soiled waste straight down the toilet, washing that section with the clean toilet flush when necessary) so it should be no different for sanitary towels. I’ve had my set and soak bucket for over 3yrs now and this is our youngest daughters set ready for when she will need it.

I have found that since changing over 3yrs ago my flow is lighter, shorter and there is never any smell, like there can be off the plastic ones. They soak up enough, never leave me feeling wet and simple to just fold up and pop in a wash bag that comes with the set while out. Night time ones are much longer and last the whole night through.

These are from cheeky wipes. The come in cotton or bamboo.

Cheeky Simple Reusables – Better for the planet!

140 million disposables saved from landfill!

How our cheeky reusable swaps are helping the planet.

Read here: cheekywipes.com/sustainability

Product Features

“Bamboo sanitary pads- No more ripping, rustling, or chafing! Our bamboo sanitary pads are discreet, slim and best of all, reusable! Brilliant for regular to heavy flow”

5 Straight Out Swaps!

5 Straight Out Swaps! Removing plastic from our bathroom.

There is only 1 reason this month to make some swaps

1. The whole reason is to stop extra plastic 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 bathroom items too? What changes could you make to reduce your plastic waste?

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-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Soft Plastic Recycling

Month 7 – July it’s Soft Plastic

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?

This is a bit different this “swap” this is more of a location swap of soft plastics to be recycled

This months blog I have concentrated on what is still going out of the house. Soft plastics was something I looked into last year and it became apparent there was not much going on.

There was very few places doing this, there was locations dotted here and there to collect certain items like crisp packets or coffee pods etc… but nowhere I could just bag up everything weekly and drop it off.

Until……my local Tesco started displaying a huge bin at the front of their store saying drop your soft plastics off here.

So this is what I started doing

How Did We Go About This?

I started by putting a clear bag near our recycling boxes, we already had a box where we collected bread bags to drop off but I thought I was being careful at shopping but realised there is so much soft plastic materials that I just cannot avoid…..well for now.

Our recycling area in our home

23 August 2021

Tesco completes roll out of soft plastic collection points and expects to collect and recycle 1000 tonnes of plastic a year

Soft plastics are not commonly collected by local councils for recycling and often thrown away

From today, shoppers at all of Tesco’s large stores will be able to bring back any soft plastic packaging for recycling. The supermarket expects to collect more than 1000 tonnes a year and will recycle as much of this material as possible back into products and packaging sold in Tesco stores.

The national roll-out was brought forward by Tesco in response to overwhelming customer support during the 171-store trial earlier this year in Wales and the South West, where close to a tonne of soft plastic was collected a day. In the trial stores, 85% of customers said it helped them to recycle more than they would have done otherwise. Customers also reported that they like the convenience of being able to combine recycling with their shopping.

The collection points will allow customers to return all their previously unrecycled soft plastic, such as the clear film used to wrap meat and fish, crisp packets, fruit and veg bags and sweet wrappers, rather than having to throw it away. Most councils don’t collect soft plastic from homes for recycling so it typically goes to waste.

Taken from: Tesco Soft Plastic Rollout
Our local store

What Do We Put In Here?

Here’s what normally goes in here during a week

  • Crisp bags
  • Larger multipack crisp bags
  • Top film off the vegan ham/chicken
  • Chocolate wrappers
  • Sweet wrappers
  • Microwave rice bags
  • Biscuit wrappers
  • Pasta bags
  • Rice bags
  • Salad bags
  • Ice lolly wrappers
  • Ground coffee bags
  • Insides of cereal boxes
  • Frozen vegan mince/quorn
  • Bread/roll bags
  • Pouches from various
  • Multi can wrappers
Crisp bags & multipack bags
Pouches from various items
Sweet wrappers, multipack & insides
Frozen soft packaging & microwave rice multipack bags
Bread/roll bags & pasta packaging
Films off vegan ham/chicken & ice lolly wrappers
Multipack can wrappers

What Do We Do With It When It’s Full?

Once the bag is full which is usually every 10days or so, so 3 times a month I take these full bags to Tesco and just pop it in their allocated soft plastic trolly bins.

Our local store

Why Do We Do This?

Firstly this has reduced our waste coming from our house hugely. Our general waste bin is barley 1/4 full for collection after 3 weeks. We could easily not put out this bin for collection for 3mths and I bet if we looked into whatever is in this last 1/4 of a bin we could completely remove this.

That is next on my list!

We already compost any food waste (which is very little as we are good at using up left overs the next day.

We recycle all cardboard waste into the garden either sheet mulch or shredded into the soil

We have spent this year removing as much as we can from our plastic waste, check out Jan-June blog posts if you missed them 🙂

January
-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Deodorant
February
-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Hair Care (Part 1)
March
-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Cleaning Products
April
-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Toothpaste
May
-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Hair Care (Part 2)
June
-12 Months- 12 Eco Changes- Making An Eco Swap Of Kitchen Items

Putting Your Soft Plastics To Good Use

There is still so much recycling being done that STILL does not get recycled. I like reading what Tesco is actually doing with the softs plastics they receive.

I believe they HAVE TO be part of the solution. Ideally they will be zero soft plastics/plastics at some point, but in the mean time they need to be responsible for what they are selling. Not just Tesco (its just our local) all stores selling products need to have the global responsibility for what they are selling and the harm they are contributing to the planet

Article on making soft plastic into Bin Liners: Tesco and Berry strike soft plastics recycling deal

Tesco & Berry Partners

Article on making soft plastic: Heinz partners with Tesco on soft plastics recycling drive

Heinz & Tesco Partners

Making The Swap

There is only 1 reason this month to make some swaps

1. The whole reason is to stop soft plastic waste just going STRAIGHT to land fill. If there is a way to support and stop this all together, we are here for that!

🌳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 kitchen items too? What changes could you make to reduce your plastic waste?

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A Little About Us and Where The Food Forest Has Started From – 2022 Update

Katrina & Peter and their children are a Vegan living family of 5 in East Ayrshire, Scotland. 3 children aged 12-15. Their eldest Clayton who is Autistic and Non verbal is Home Educated by Katrina and has developed a keen interest and eye for the garden and is most happiest when planting seeds, potting up and watering what he has grown. This year Clayton started the Grow and Learn Course with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

“ Grow & Learn is a person-centred award, recognising individual progress and achievement in horticulture. Our awards are inclusive, individualised and offer life skills based education for all. Grow & Learn aims to address a large gap in provision in the world of horticulture by offering an alternative learning opportunity for those who find mainstream learning challenging“ The Caley

Clayton watering the vegetables in the planters

You can follow Katrina & Clayton on our instagram page buildingafoodforest_scotland watching us daily around the garden while we build up the Food Forest with Fruit, Nuts & Berries bushes & trees all from a grassed patch. The start & development of the Kitchen Courtyard Garden using Vertical Gardening techniques- planting in milk cartons, the Raised bed garden, mini food forest raised beds & Clayton’s Flower Beds.

https://linktr.ee/BuildingaFoodForestScotland

The family have lived in Scotland since 2013 and decided to finally make it their home in 2019 and bought a property in East Ayrshire with large enough grounds to start building a food forest approx 1/4 acre to start having fresh basic food supplies for their family.

Peter completed Permaculture Design Course online at Oregon State University (certified by the Permaculture Institute of North America) and has designed the grounds using the 12 principles of permaculture design, they started with the fruit trees and fruit & nut bushes to get them established (all under net cages for Deer protection) while they slowly but surely continue to build the area around them.

12 steps of permaculture design
Image Source: gethunted.com

Oakmount House when we first moved in, Feb 2019
Food Forest area. Ongoing in 2022

From a full grass area, they have split it up into difference sections:

First Section – Seating Area

First is a seating area, which will also house a greenhouse & potting shed for Clayton to continue his skills in the garden. Has an established Apple tree & black & red currant bushes, there is a slope onto the 2nd tier that is in the process of becoming a full lavender hedge for a wonderful sensory experience, all grown from seed on the window sills around the house.

When the lavender hedge was first planed
in on the slope

Check out more of our progress on these blogs:

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

Second Section – Kids Area

There is the kids area, for play, for running, for waterslides and swinging. The slope into the 3rd tier is full of flowers to the left of this photo & netted in to stop balls flying into it – originally put up to stop the Deers eating the lupins

When the 2nd flower slope lupins were planted out

Third Section – Food Forest & Raised Bed Garden

The third and largest section has the raised bed gardening area started with 5 of the 12 planned beds up and running. And the back section prepping for a full food forest. Fruit trees went in right away, so mulching out the area around them to start planting it all out fully to create a food forest.

Mulching the Food Forest area around the fruit trees ready to plant the whole area out
Overview- From Lavender slope at the back of the food forest

Check out more of our progress on these blogs:

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

Starting to Build a Food Forest, Where Did We Start? (Year 1 & 2)

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

Different sections of the garden we are working on 🟨 Yellow- Top Sitting Tier
🟪 Purple- Kids Tier with Lavender Slope
🟦 Blue- Food Forest Tier Planters with Flower Slope
🟥Pinky Red- Front Mini Food Forest
⬜️Grey- Kitchen Courtyard with Vertical Garden

This whole area is very much a working progress which we are documenting our progress on instagram Katrina & Clayton – buildingafoodforest_scotland

Kitchen Courtyard – Vertical Gardening

Behind the house we have built a Kitchen Courtyard Garden growing herbs & salads. A beautiful practical vertical garden is in this area too, we made great use of this space along a black fencing that retains the heat and gives the plants an extra heat boost, 66 milk cartons kindly collected by the neighbours are attached on a curtain rail, planted out with the seasons food.

Before and now of the Kitchen Courtyard Garden
Vertical Gardening using Milk Cartons
Got another 3 rows of these to add this year
Herbs and lettuce growing in the vertical garden

You can read in more details in the following blogs:

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

-No Waste Wednesday-How We Grow Food in a Vertical Garden Using Milk Cartons On A Fence

A great use of recycling, reusing & repurposing, showing no matter the space you have you can always start growing something, even if it is using toilet rolls, paper cups, cutting up plastic bottles to use the bottom to plant & the tops for mini greenhouses or EVEN old shoes!

Reusing, Repurposing, Recycling items for the garden

Front Section – Mini Food Forests

Our mini food forest on the fence is thriving
New for 2022 mini food forest in a raised bed

Check out these blogs for more details:

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

Building a Mini Food Forest in a Raised Bed

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