Tag Archive for: biodiversity

Confessions of a Reformed Lawn Addict

Confessions of a reformed Lawn Addict.  Oh, the swelling ambition with which I greeted my first lawn! (it was tiny). How I would nurture it!  Feed it. Weed it, ruthlessly. Mow it close, until its stripes looked like the No 1 Court at Wimbledon.

Reality was very different. Inconvenient patches of muddy brown forever reappeared, worsening as my mower’s wheels tore into the damp sward. Which remained stubbornly uneven and tufty. Meanwhile, pesky “weeds” as I called them, just kept coming back. Not only had I committed myself to a futile task, I was looking in the wrong direction altogether. Was it all worth it? Read more

Transition Horsham seed swap

How to Grow in Harmony with Nature

Transition Horsham seed swapDid you know that farming more in harmony with nature can not only replenish the soil (without the need for manufacturing and transporting factory-made chemicals long distances in plastic bags) but can also produce crops throughout the year because different foods can be grown together, in the same way as they are on an allotment?

By planting a variety of a different crops each month, and especially by planting crops amongst fruit or nut trees, even more food can be grown in a small area.

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Rainforest

The Importance of Rainforests (First Published in West Sussex County Times)

RainforestI have been blessed to spend 20 years working in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Choco cloud forest, a world away from my home in Pulborough.

It has been like having parallel lives.

The UK has one of lowest levels of tree cover in Europe at 13%, globally ranking 136th out of 189 countries. Looking down from a plane over our green desert fields, we can see how few trees there really are with only tiny patches of ancient woodland remaining, maybe unaware that here in England our level of biodiversity is painfully low.  Although the woodland cover has doubled in the last 100 years this is mainly with non-native conifer plantations, where very little diversity can exist.

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Lily's cottage stall

For all our sakes – Stop using Peat (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Peat-free Compost

No doubt you have heard that for a healthy planet, we should use peat-free compost, but do you know why, or what exactly is peat?

Peat is soil made up of organic matter that has only partially rotted down. The lack of oxygen and the acidic nature of waterlogged peat bogs prevent bacteria and fungi from breaking down the dead plant material.  It is formed over millions of years, at a rate of only 1mm thickness per year, but we are currently extracting it at a rate much, much faster than that!  By ‘mining’ peat we are both damaging the ecology and adding to climate change.

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