01 November 2019 By Tash Ellens
Our friends at Arundel Castle are great ambassadors for gardening ecologically. They’ve helped us gather some of the best advice about how you can nurture your soil and protect your plants with a sustainable outlook.
There is a lot more to ecological friendly gardening than avoiding chemicals, it is a way of living and becoming more sustainable with your growing. Gardening organically is about using only organic material and natural minerals that will respect the environment and are non-polluting.
If you have the space for a compost heap, use it to help feed your soil and improve its nutrients.
Seaweed is a fabulous source of nitrogen. At Arundel Castle they use a liquid feed but it also comes as a dry form for soil improvement. (Please note it’s illegal to collect from the beach unless you have a license).
Well-rotted manure will enhance your soil and restore its natural properties.
Green manure are crops grown on bare soil to prevent nutrients washing out bare soil, they also act as a suppressant for weeds.
Arundel cut their wildflowers around September when they have dry seed heads, this is harvested and used in other areas needing wildflowers. It’s an excellent way of not having to constantly mow lawns and waste fuel, and continues to encourage insects and wildlife.
Controlling Pests Organically
Encouraging the right balance of predators and beneficial insects will help play a part in nature.
Many flowers can be planted amongst vegetables to create a companion planting scheme. This will help deter pests away from when paired with the right ‘companion’. For example, growing onions between rows of carrots deters fruit fly because the scent is masked and hidden.
Verbena bonarienses requires insects and bees to help them fruit – by planting them near pea and bean beds this will help attract more wildlife.
Nasturtiums distract cabbage whites from their incessant egg laying on the brussel sprouts throughout summer.
Marigolds deter whitefly and attract hoverflies, the larvae of which eat aphids. By under planting your tomatoes with marigolds you’ll be helping to protect their growth plants.
If you are looking for further inspiration on eco-friendly gardening, we definitely recommend a trip to Arundel Castle. Gardening ecologically is it at the heart of Arundel Castle’s ethos, they use their techniques across the beautiful gardens and glasshouses. You can find out more about their visiting times on their website arundelcastle.org/.