Greener Gardening Tips

1. Take up home composting it saves on landfill and delivers great results for your garden. Ecover's compost bags are a great way to start purchase from any good health shop. Ideally have three compost bins, one for loading, one for maturing and one to use around the garden.

2. Use distilled vinegar as a cheap alternative to proprietary chemical weed killers. Drench weeds in this environmentally friendly acid and they'll pickle! For tough customers try heating the vinegar before applying.

3. Crushed egg shells applied liberally around stems will defend tender plants from snails at little cost without putting pets and birds at risk. This also helps to build up calcium levels in the soil. (For slug control substitute eggshells with soot or sharp gravel, surround hostas with copper strips.)

4. Prevent ants nesting in pot bottoms by covering the drainage hole with a pair of old stockings.

5. Stop female cabbage-root fly laying eggs beneath plants by cutting small circles of cardboard or carpet underlay, snipping in the centre and laying them like a collar around the stems of brassicas.

6. Help broadbeans avoid blackfly by planting English Marigolds alongside the crop. The orange flowers are a beacon to hoverfly which love blackfly! Try planting French marigolds next to tomatoes to ward off white fly they smell horrible!

7. Coffee grounds between rows of carrots will help to prevent carrot rust.

8. Rhubarb leaves make an effective organic pest spray which is harmless to bees and biodegrades very quickly. Boil 1lb of rhubarb leaves in a litre of water for 20 minutes using an old pan (the leaves will stain and contaminate the pot). Leave to cool, strain and then dissolve 1oz of soap flakes into the solution. Pour into a spray bottle for use.

9. Deter trunk-climbing caterpillars and insects by placing a piece of sticky tape around the trunk about 20" from the base.

10. Spray mildew with a 9:1 solution of water and semi-skimmed milk.

11. Relax, you don't need a perfect lawn. Enjoy such pants as trefoil, clover and daisies, just cut out the broad leaves with a knife.

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