Top tips for making your home greener and wilder
More and more of us are moving into urban areas and a whopping 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. We’re seeing a similar trend here in the UK with London’s population expected to increase from 8.7 million to 11 million by 2050.
This puts a lot of pressure on green spaces in cities, which make us feel good, support wildlife and help mitigate the effects of climate change. The good news is that we can all be part of making the places we live greener and wilder, whatever space or experience we have.
Get ready to #GiveItAGrow with our top tips for making your home greener and wilder.
These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and how your actions add up.
Start by doing some research to find the right plant for your space: plants are as individual as people so make sure you choose one that has a good chance at surviving.
If growing indoors, “cut and grow” lettuce, microleaves or fast-growing herbs like thyme or parsley is a great place to start. These can be grown indoors, year-round.If you have a garden, windowsill or balcony, go for nectar-rich plants filled with yummy food for pollinators, friendly insects that help plants reproduce by moving pollen from one plant to another. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful blooms which will attract birds to your garden too – win win!
If you’re not quite ready for growing your own, then filling your home with houseplants is a great alternative. Here’s a great guide to finding the right match for your patch.
So, your plant is rooted and seems to be doing alright (nice job!), the trick now is to keep it alive. The secret is to listen to your plant (that’s right): plants communicate through their leaves so keep a close eye and your plant will tell you whether it’s getting too little light, too much water, or if it needs more fresh air. Not fluent in plant-speak? Here’s a quick guide to what your plant is telling you.
Plant pots, garden decorations and planters can be expensive and are often made from plastic. Make your garden unique by making your own! You’ll save money and reduce waste at the same time.
You can turn pretty much any can, tin, pot, container or carton into a perfect home for your plants. Simply, wash and drain well, add drainage holes, and decorate with paint, ribbons, buttons and more.
More and more of us are choosing to pave over our gardens or replace natural grass with plastic grass (known as astroturf), which a major cause of microplastic pollution. Natural grass not only looks, smells and feels lovely, it’s also great for soaking up heat and water, helping reduce flash flooding and cool our city, so keeping the green stuff around is key for a happy, healthy city.
Compost heaps are a great way to make use of any leftover vegetables and garden waste as well as saving you money in the long run. If you follow some simple rules, you shouldn’t have to worry about any bad smells or unwanted pests. Thinking about getting started? Check out how.
Not ready to start a compost pile yet? Make sure the compost you buy is labelled as “peat-free”. Not sure who or what peat is? Most store-bought composts contain between 60-90% peat, a product sourced from living peat bogs which have formed over thousands of years. A peat bog grows 1mm on average each year meaning 1 metre has taken over 1,000 years to form. Peat bogs are important wildlife habitats and carbon sinks so make sure the compost you take home is labelled peat-free.
One of the easiest, and most rewarding things you can do in your garden is encourage local wildlife to visit. Pollinators like bees and butterflies are a great sign that your garden is producing lots of nectar and pollen (food that pollinators depend on to continue to help plants reproduce). Erysium, Geranium and Oregano are drought-tolerant, easy to grow plants that are busy with pollinators as soon as they start to bloom.
Or go a step further and build a bug hotel for solitary insects in need of a temporary home.
Besides the occasional rain-dance and picking less thirsty plants, there’s lots we can do around the garden to make water go further.
Adding compost or manure (organic matter) acts as a soil conditioner, can improve nutrients and also help soil keep hold of moisture for longer. A 10cm layer of mulch, like bark or chippings, can also help reduce evaporation and boost water retention.
Rain water butts come in all shapes and sizes and can help avoid turning the tap on. You can also reuse 'grey' water from around the home, from your sink or shower, but avoid water with any bleach or disinfectant in.
Lastly, water plants early in the morning or late at night to avoid evaporation in the heat of the day.
Combining these tips together will make sure your garden stays healthy while spending less time watering and more time enjoying your garden – winning.
Growing your own herbs, salads, fruits or vegetables can be incredibly satisfying, reduces food waste, food miles, saves you money and reduces unnecessary plastic packaging. It can also be a great activity for children and adults alike to see how some of our produce is grown before they reach our shelves. You may not produce enough to be completely self-sufficient (at first) but the reward of home-grown greens you’ve nurtured from seed can uplift the taste of any meal. Find out how you can grow your own at home here.
Want to nurture nature?
We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for you to reconnect with nature and make your homes that bit greener
Get greener together.
Find out how a community united to create a greener, cleaner local space in Newham as part of ‘Breaking Ground’