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ZERO WASTE GARDENING

How to compost

Compost Safely

Emptying your Bin

To turn or not to turn?

Worms and Wormeries

Topical Composting

Kitchen Waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and Weeds

Too much grass?

Leaves for leafmould

Troubleshooting

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Composting demonstrated

SCHOOL WORMERIES

Zero Waste Gardening

Plant Supports

Many of our garden plants need staking or supporting to stop them blowing over in the wind or to give them a frame to climb up. Instead of buying often expensive devices we can use the twigs and branches we have pruned off trees and shrubs.

So – use that heap of prunings as an asset to help your other plants grow well.

Zero Waste Gardening plant supportsYou don’t need to prepare twigs and branches that are already bare of leaves, just trim them to the size you want and stick them as far into the ground as possible, so they’ll make firm supports.

Twiggy, fan shaped branches are best for floppy herbaceous plants like aquilegias, scabious or campanulas and of course they make wonderful pea sticks for a row of tasty garden peas. You will find that plants readily cling on to the slightly rough bark of natural twigs and branches, in fact they prefer it to smooth plastic or bamboo.

Straightish sticks or poles are good for delphiniums, lilies, climbing beans and tomatoes. If the plant does not naturally twist or twine up the pole, tie it gently with soft string to keep it in place.

Always push the butt end of the branch or twig firmly into the ground as close to the plant as possible without damaging the roots or bulb.

It is best to put in the support before it is needed and to let a plant grow through the support, this way you won’t damage your prize specimen as you scoop up the floppy leaves and flower stems.

Conifer branches, like old Christmas tree branches, make good plant supports but you need to dry them for a few weeks to allow the needles to drop, if they haven’t already done so all over your carpet.
Allow any evergreen or leafy branch to wither so that you can remove the leaves. Not only would the leaves shade your plants but they look very unsightly as they go brown.

If you are using willow or cornus wands remember that they root very easily so will start to grow if you push them into the ground immediately after cutting. Allow them to die for at least 3 or 4 weeks before using them.
However you can weave pliable stems like willow into very attractive plant supports. Make cylindrical structures with 4 or 6 uprights and a narrow band of woven horizontals every 20 cm or so.

Prunings that are not the right shape or size to reuse in any of these ways can be shredded and used as a mulch or chopped up and added to the compost heap.
They can also be left to dry and used as kindling for your fire, barbecue or chimenea.

If you have a lot of prickly prunings or awkward woody stuff you could make a dead hedge in an out of the way bit of the garden; not only does this solve your waste problem but it makes a wonderful shelter for small birds and beneficial insects.

For even more ideas see Prickly Prunings