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Organic Gardening - Use Resources Responsibly

The 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, have now be expanded by some to 7Rs - Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Rot, and Recycle! However many Rs you want to think about, they all apply equally well to gardening as to every other area of our lives. Organic gardeners will aim to use natural resources (e.g. wood and plant based materials instead of plastic), source locally (e.g. use an independent nursery rather than a chain garden centre), and generally reduce their carbon footprint.

Garden Organics 'Best Organic Practice' guidelines include the following :

Use of Energy

  • Use manual rather than powered tools

  • Buy second hand or sturdy, long lasting tools. Repair and recycle old tools

  • Use solar energy for lighting, water pumps and greenhouse ventilation

Use of Water

  • Add organic matter to soil to maximise water holding capacity

  • Sow or transplant just before rain is forecast

  • Water as little as possible, and preferably in the evening or at night

  • Apply water to the soil rather than foliage

  • Do not mow in dry conditions

  • Fill newly created ponds with rainwater

Use of Plastic

  • Use plastic like materials that are bio-degradeable and produced from plant substances

  • Use metal watering cans

  • Reuse any plastics you do have as often as you can

  • Take plastic pots and trays back to garden centres for recycling/reuse

  • Do not use trays or containers made from Styrene or Styrofaom, as these are potentially carcinogenic

  • Click here to read more on this topic

Use of Wood

  • Use stakes and plant supports made from wood cut from your own garden

  • Choose species of wood that are more resistant to rotting

  • Buy timber that is organically grown and locally sourced

  • Make sure any timber you buy is from a sustainable source, with accreditation from Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification or the Soil Association woodmark

  • Use and reuse second-hand and reclaimed timber

  • Do not use any wood that has been treated with creosote as it is potentially carcinogenic

  • Use Linseed Oil to treat wood

And finally, here are some more ideas from Garden Organic about being resourceful!


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