Sustainability – What you can do?

Sustainability

What can you consider doing ?

I know that sometimes I am not as conscious about my environment as I should be. Sometimes it also worries me that my children may really have to live in a hotter climate than I do. One thing I am proud to say is that I don’t need an air-conditioner at home, as we are lucky enough to have two trees on the north west side of our house. For that, I have to  thank someone I have never met. Sometime who planted those trees over twenty years ago. Why not do your little bit today that will help someone else tomorrow. Here are some tips to try being a little bit greener… James Wall, Manager at Gardenworld.

Visit www.350.org to find out more about our changing climate.

Here are just a few suggestions we have put together.

1. Recycle plastic pots and fertiliser containers

Most plastic pots and labels are made from polypropylene. This is plastic number 5. Many fertiliser tubs are also made of this.

Bring you empty pots and containers down to Gardenworld where we will put them a recycle bin and send them off to our local recycler in Braeside who will break them down into granules that are then used to make new plant pots.

All coloured pots can be recycled, but only black pots are made from the recycled material.

 

2. Start a worm farm

Worm farms get rid of much of your kitchen waste. This would otherwise end up in landfill, and once compacted at your local tip, it will become anaerobic and form a strong greenhouse depleting gas called methane.

An investment in a  worm farm with worms starts at around $125. Once you have it operational, as well as reducing household waste, you can also fertilise your garden with worm juice and worm castings.

Click here for a story on worm farms.

Buy a worm farm here.

3. Mulch

Mulch cuts down on evaporation dramatically. You will use up to 70% less water. Old mulch can be dug into soil and add valuable nutrients. Consider pine bark, timber or straw mulches. In fire prone areas, consider stones or gravels.

4. Grow your own fruit and vegetables

 It’s a great feeling to know that you are eating something that hasn’t been sprayed with a pesticide or fungicide. The rewards, for a small vegetable garden can be great.

With something like lettuce, plant a little bit every month rather than a whole lot at once, and you can really spread the harvest window so there is always something to pick rather than a glut all ready at once. For those times where the plum tree is producing a glut of fruit, get social and invite friends over for the harvest. Stew, freeze and preserve food.

5. Compost

If you keep taking away from your garden and not adding anything back, your soil and minerals in it will gradually be in decline. With compost, you take natures waste matter and turn it into food to give back to your soil. It is a wonderfully natural cycle that helps make the world go round. Some compost bins need airing or turning over. Others have ways to do this very easily such as a tumbler.

5. Water

Capturing rainwater is a great feeling. You are reducing dirty runoff into our drains, which usually ends up in our oceans. You then use it on your garden without the need for mains water. Connecting a tank up to your toilet is one of the most efficient uses of water, as you use the toilet in a wet winter whereas you don’t tend to use water on the garden as much.

Irrigation can now be done with precision. Ask the Smart Water Shop OR The Autopot Hydroponics Shop here at Gardenworld as to how to set up a water efficient irrigation system in your backyard.

Learn about rain gardens, and how they use runoff here: http://raingardens.melbournewater.com.au/

6. Treat your green waste bin with respect

If you do have to use the green waste bin your council supplies then treat it with respect. Don’t be tempted to put excess soil or non green rubbish in your bin. Green waste is now sent to a depot where it it painstakingly chipped, put in heaps, and then turned, watered and finally, after at least 30 days, it is sieved into grades and formulated into planting mixes. This is then used in landscape developments. The cycle goes around again. Don’t be the one who contaminates the process – put only green waste (and wood no thicker than 20cm) into your green waste bin.

7. Use fertilisers and sprays sensibly

Over feeding plants can cause serious problems with nutrients washing away in heavy rains. Even organic fertiliser can be a problem in this respect. Look at your plants. If they are green and lush, you won’t need to feed as much compared to if the are starting to go a little faded or even yellow in the leaves. Follow instructions on the packaging. Remember the saying, you can kill a plant with  kindness. Use low toxic sprays like Lime Sulphur and Yates Success. Talk to our staff about  the low toxic options to solve problems.

Troforte is a new type of fertiliser that contains minerals and living microbes that will be triggered off once watered. This is a  new type of fertiliser that is effective, but also low impact on the environment.

8. LED Lighting

At Gardenworld, we are in the process of changing our fleuro lights in the nursery and spotlights in Lotus Watergardens over to LED lights, The investment so far has been over $2500, but it appears we will have payback within 2 years. The old spotlights in Lotus were 300 watts and the new ones are 70 watts. This is a massive reduction in energy use. The lights also create less heat.

In your home, consider switching to LED. Keep in mind that downlights that currently are metal hallide will need to have the transformers changed in the roof before you install LED. This is because the current transformers will send too much power to the more frugal LEDs.

9. Solar Electricity

Solar is like paying for part of your electricity bills upfront. It is becoming much more affordable, but you will need to do some research on the quality of what’s available. The more people who get solar, the less likely we are as a community to run short of power during those peak demands. Less investment will be required for future infrastructure.

10. South East Water – rebates and billing.


At South East Water you can get a rebate on mulch and other water saving products like hose guns. Spend $100 and you can get a $30 rebate on your bill. More details:

http://www.sewl.com.au/Residential/Pages/ResidentialRebates.aspx

The link to the claim form is on this page.

You can now also receive your South East water bill by email. If you pay this by online banking, you are using a very low carbon footprint, including saving a piece of paper and envelope.


11. Plants

Plants help clean the air. They also shelter us and stop the ground around them from heating up. They are also beautiful, and provide comfort to us and our community. A world without plants, is a world we cannot live in. Plant a tree today, for a better world tomorrow.

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