Be Brave, Go Organic and Save Your Corner of the Planet

I was surprised and pleased to see Amateur Gardening magazine had a section in one of their September editions dedicated to organic gardening, mainly because the magazine always seems to endorse all kinds of sprays and pesticides.

But here they were making the case for national charity Garden Organic, compost, reusing resources, stopping chemical usage and creating a wildlife-friendly garden.

Hurrah!

The only line I grimaced at was this…

If you don’t feel confident enough to step away from the sprays completely, there are many organic options that use acids, natural oils and fatty acides to combat pests and diseases.”

Amateur Gardening, 26 September 2020

We NEED to be confident to step away from the sprays, because as Sir David Attenborough says, “the world is in peril.”

We have to do what’s in our power. We have a resposibility, even if there’s only a fragment of hope left. We have a responsibility to do something.

Sir David Attenborough, talking on BBC Breakfast, 28th September 2020

When you read the facts, it does look pretty grim.

  • 97% of Britain’s wildflower meadows have gone
  • There are probably on 60 harvests lefts according to the UN FAO
  • We lost the equivalent of 30 football pitches of soil every minute to degradation
  • One-third of the world’s arable soils are degraded
  • We are losing species 1,000 times the natural rate of extinction
  • 40% of all insect species are in decline
  • Our arctic stronghold – the Svalbard seed vault – is threatened as the permafrost melts
  • We have lost 94% of peatlands – because of our demand for peat-based compost
  • In the UK we apply 16.9 thousand tonnes of pesticides to the landscape

It may seem that we can do nothing.

Don’t squander those bits that we have control of.

Sir David Attenborough, talking on BBC Breakfast, 28th September 2020

But, we all have the power to make a difference. Around the world, people are trying to re-wild, regenerate their farms, and go organic in their garden. We can all join them.

So what can you do in your back garden or community garden?

Be confident that you can go organic. Think more ‘wildly’ and you can as Dave Goulson says, you can get rid of weeds instantaneously.

I realised the value of my clover and dandelions and ragwort, and the tumbling ivy over the walls, and the self heal along my drive – and suddenly they transformed from annoyances into insect saviours. These are plants to be treasured. Check out Jack Wallington’s book “Wild about Weeds” to help tame and nurture weeds.

As well as loving your weeds why not try the following:

  • Go organic
  • Compost
  • Add organic matter
  • Go peat-free
  • Stop the pesticides and herbicides
  • Companion plant
  • Make a home for wildlife
  • Love and respect insects
  • Reuse and reduce waste
  • By organically grown plants
  • Don’t mow in certain areas
  • Re-imagine your weeds as WILDFLOWERS
  • Plant native, insect-friendly plants. Avoid the bright bedding plants in plastic pots and peated compost

We inevitably romanticise wildlife to some extent, but every creature that we shape our gardens with, including slugs, rats, mice, ants, worms, caterpillars and aphids – all the so-called pests that gardeners have spent far too much time and trouble trying to elimate – is part of the rich and interlocking web of life.

Monty Don, My Garden World

Check out these inspirational videos from the Soil Association and Dave Goulson if you need some more confidence.

Saving our Soils – From Potato To Planet

Why we all need to learn to love insects – Dave Goulson

How regenerative farming can help heal the plant and human health – Charles Massy

An animated guide to rewilding – George Monbiot, The Guardian

This farm in England is run by its animals – Knepp

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