Buddleja bush trimmings as firelighters

by Value hunter  

We have three different coloured buddleja bushes, dotted around the front yard and no dig garden.

They grow freely, so much so that the two in the front yarded area where we keep the logs, left me with a front room full of butterflies one day, as the heat on the logs caused all the ones I'd missed, to hatch out!

Anyways, I let them grow wild, cutting them down after flowering every September. I chop all the wood into small sticks and place them in an old 25kg dog food bag, which is more of a sack. This then gets put into the recycled greenhouse and left.

Come October time, they are dried out and I have weeks of kindling, for free!

Compost heap, get one!

by Value hunter  

Compost heaps are essential for your garden, whether that's a no-dig garden or a regular garden, the benefits are enormous!
I have two compost heaps, one a frame I built out of an old cot, with a piece of old carpet on the top, kept in the front garden, adjacent to the no-dig area.
The other compost heap is the trusty, back garden & black plastic composter, which provides compost for the fruit trees and tubs in the recycled greenhouse. Think tomato and pepper plants.

First off, compost to buy, is shooting up in price. Most of the time, it's rubbish.
Secondly, I need a way of disposing of uncooked waste, including fruit and veg that's not been used. My plan for say, a couple of old bananas is to bake more, but while the kitchen's all over the place, composting is a way of reusing the waste.
Grass cuttings feed the fruit trees. When the tub is full, then that's where they go.

In the no-dig front garden, a similar story.
Laughing neighbours when I built the rectangle shaped compost heap, weighed down by carpet and bricks, is a bit fiddly to uncover, but is proving to be a much needed booster to feeding the no-dig garden.
I left the front compost heap back in March, moving to the back garden compost.
In June, after laying a huge cardboard box flat, under the covers, I opened it all up to try and put something back into the bed.
I shoveled out one side of the semi-black, garden and food waste compost pile, across on to the no-dig bed.
I got easily approaching a tonne of compost from just one half of the compost heap!

I raked it level, then recovered it over, ready for next year. Loads of worms and ready for just after frost seeds, once it has rotted some more.
Some people say I should bury the waste directly in the ground?
I now know that this is good for unused eggs that are starting to turn.

The remaining half of the no-dig bay now has the onion seedlings I started off in the composted seed trays out the back garden.
I learned that onions are frost resistant. Put month old seedlings into the ground in October and next spring you'll have onions and salad onions (spring onions to you and me.)

The amount of waste now, combined with the log burner to incinerate the packaging, is cutting our waste going to landfill by over half a wheelie bin per week.
The compost is feeding the growing and beds, for free!

Environment experiment.

by Value hunter  

I've heard so much about "Climate change" recently and with the upcoming conference, probably will, a lot more yet!

I'm seeing it in sprog2's homework, it's on all the social media feeds, the news and where I work, etc.
I'm also seeing it in my household bills. £130 increase in electricity and £80 a year extra on the gas bill. Petrol is also on the up.

Now I'm not really interested in "Climate" at all.
I don't see how a single household can affect the Earth spinning on it's axis, sunspots from our nearest star and the Earth moving poles. But many do, each to their own.
Climate has and will always change. It's more about adapting to those changes, whether you believe the changes are mostly natural or not.
Where I have long been concerned, is in the area of waste!

I have a low paid job, refuse to fork out over the top prices for things, don't believe in fashion items (this is probably an age thing).
I recycle more than most. I recycle around the house, I recycle food waste (there's not much) I use our log burner more than central heating where ever possible, I recycle old appliances when I can get away with it.
The driving factor for stingy old me and my poor family, is the need to keep costs down as much as possible.

The reason I started this website years ago, was to reference what I could do to reduce my outgoings. I didn't change things from day one, all changes are gradual. Small changes, going without the latest phone, eating home cooked food, keeping waste and energy use down as much as is physically possible. Reducing my family's costs.

Anyway I've strayed off the theme a bit.

So I was thinking.
Following on from using food and garden waste in my compost and around my plants (fruit & veg), what about my plastic?

Well all this goes into landfill, there probably can be something done about it, even old stingy careful me has plastic in their waste, but the odds of my household plastic waste going into landfill are pretty nailed on I'd guess.

So I started a small experiment.
I took a large cardboard box, put in all the old paperwork as per, threw in teabag outers (over 400 a month from my composting experiment), all the crisp packets, outer wrappers, inserts, milk tubs and lids and various old clothing that's full of holes and not even good for scraps, etc. You get the picture.

I saved up three weeks worth, I have to say, there was a lot!
Even as careful and buying fresh as we do, even old meat went into a tub at the bottom of the fridge, the amount of rubbish was huge!
So, alongside the logs, into the burner it all went over three days, even the old out of date meat and waste fat.
The result?
About a fifth of a black bin liner of ash.
Straight on to the compost heap!
Amount of waste going into the general waste wheelie bin?
Almost nothing!
Our general waste bin wasn't even half full after two weeks.

Reduced the landfill - reduced our contribution to gas leaving the landfill - reduced our waste further (improving our compost heap in the process) - heated the home without using gas (saved on bills).
Happy days!

One pack of tea bags waste

by Value hunter  

Using just one single 240 bag of teabags, I recycled them in my compost heap.
Over two weeks, I've used the teabags to make brews, left them on a tray to dry out a bit (usually a couple of days), then ripped them open and tipped the internal contents into the empty packet (re-sealed).

Then I've put the empty teabag "rappers" into a paper towel and burnt them along with wood on the log burner.

The sheer weight of the used tea is staggering, all spread on the compost.
Why burn the teabag outer wrappers?
This is because most teabag wrappings/outside, contain plastic.
If you put used teabags on your compost heap, they go mouldy and take ages to break down.
If you burn them (along with wood) then the ash can be put on the compost heap also.

Loose tea (so to speak) breaks down much quicker, the ash also helps and the empty packet that you can reseal can be used as a mini compost collector in the kitchen, time and time again.

Total waste = nil, nothing, zilch, nowt.

Ash of bags and loose tea = great.

I wondered then, as I noticed the sheer weight of loose tea and we use two packs per month, this is 24 packs of teabags per year, that enriches my compost heap and doesn't go into landfill.
Better compost for my garden next year, better for the environment, heat from burning, which breaks down the plastics in the wrappers.

Now imagine how many households use teabags every week, month and year?
That's some saving of landfill on one product line!

Two essentials for your garden...

by Value hunter  

Starting a new garden or taking one over, throws up many things to consider.

Do you grow veg or flowers or both?
Put trees in? Have a lawn?
Raised beds? Fencing?
The list is endless.

Two questions, for me, stand out by a country mile.
1, How will I feed it?
2, How will I get rid of the rubbish?

How will I feed my garden?

Luckily, mother nature has many solutions.
Comfrey (knitbone), nettles, etc. can provide ample ingredients for the soil and feeding your plants.
They are numerous and free, simple root pieces for comfrey, and nettles are abundant.
Pull off some leaves, leave on top of your beds where you want feeding, they will rot down and feed your soil.

How will I get rid of the rubbish?

Once again, frugal ways to get rid of garden rubbish and waste comes in. The good old compost heap!
Grass cuttings: A compost heap can be started anywhere, on grass, soil, even cardboard.
My favourite way of disposing of grass cuttings is to dig a small hole in your garden, mine is in between a young plum tree and a weedy rhubarb plant, fill in with grass cuttings and leave it. The following year, the rhubarb that was struggling is now growing like a good 'un!

Using the compost heap, green on top of brown remember to mix it up, is working wonders.

Household food waste: Uncooked fruit and veg, weeds, grass cuttings, cut tree wood, etc. are all very good for the compost, but add in household waste and the heap really takes off.
Eggshells, used tea (ripped open from used teabags), potato peelings, carrot scrapings, even old out of date fridge veg, cut into small pieces, all work.
Then we have plain brown paper bags (given out with fresh veg from a proper greengrocer), cardboard (corrugated), newspaper (ripped up), ash from the log burner, packing paper, etc.

Pile it all on, cover over, let it go.

Many areas have the "Brown" bins, but councils are now charging for them to be emptied (£35 a year here), why give your perfectly good waste away, when it can be turned into food for your garden with very little effort?

Not only have I now got a place to put garden waste, but also removing lots of household waste and feeding my garden for free into the bargain, it's a win/win!

Happy gardening...

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