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Home made Mulch and Natural Fertiliser

Updated: Mar 13, 2022


Here at Single Hill Flowers, we aspire towards a zero waste attitude in our garden, meaning that we try to make use of our waste and feed it back into the garden. One of our main projects is making our own quick-turn-around mulch/compost to feed the soil and enhance the ground for growing, as well as making our own nettle tea to fertilise the plants.

What do we put in our mulch/compost bin?

Here are some of the core ingredients that make it into our mulch/compost bin; grass cuttings, fallen leaves, soft stems from spent plants, vegetable and fruit peelings, tea bags, egg shells, wood ash and toilet roll cardboard. We also add other recyclable paper and cardboard without the glossy bits. (We tried adding cereal boxes and other coloured cardboard in the past but have found that when preparing the ground the following season these colours were still very much present in the soil.)

So what do we do with all these ingredients?

Firstly we break them down by running over the leaves with the lawn mower, and cutting up the fruit and vegetable peelings into tiny pieces. We don't have room to host a lot of mulch sitting in the garden over long periods of time so breaking down the individual elements in advance enables the mulch to decompose quicker thus promoting a quicker turn around of finished product.

We then add these ingredients to the compost bin (an old fashioned black dustbin with lid) over the period of some weeks until it is full. We try to keep the lid off when it rains to keep the organic matter moist and enable it to decompose. We also empty it, turn it well and return it to the bin on a weekly basis to allow the oxygen to flow inside.

When the mulch has broken down enough to no longer be able to identify the individual elements, we either mix it into the soil in prepared beds and let it sit for some weeks before planting, or we use it to mulch around existing plants.

Using nettles to make natural fertiliser

We are lucky, or unlucky enough to have a large supply of nettles in our garden so we capitalise on this by using them to make nettle tea for our plants. We do this by collecting as many nettles as we can, putting them in a large container and filling it up with water. We then cover it and leave it for 2-3 weeks, stirring every few days. Once the concoction smells so bad you can hardly bear to go near it, it is ready! We subsequently sieve out the nettles and collect the juice which we use to fill a watering can with approximately 1 tenth nettle tea and the rest water. We then use it to water the plants throughout the growing season every few weeks.

These are some of the methods we implement in our garden which allow us to use our natural environment and household waste to our advantage, and at the same time do our own recycling and bit for the planet. We hope you have found this useful. If you have any of your own tips on how to implement zero waste in your garden please let us know!

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