Summer brings with it increased activity in the garden. Not just from the people doing the gardening either – flowers are bursting into bloom, fruit and veg are coming on apace and grass and plants are enjoying a period of accelerated growth. All of that means that more waste is generated while a garden is being cared for. From grass cuttings to dead-headed flowers; tree branches to broken hosepipes, there is always something to clear from a well-maintained garden. That is why it is so important to know how to get rid of garden waste responsibly this summer.
Six Super Clearance Ideas
Gardeners are some of the most resourceful people around. So, getting rid of waste in the most responsible, tidy and efficient way shouldn’t present too much of a problem. Here are six ideas to get you started.
The compost heap may not look particularly glamourous, but it is arguably the most important part of the garden. Looked after correctly, it will process garden cuttings and any household scraps and turn them over time into moist, nutrient-rich compost to spread around the garden to help the plants thrive all summer.
Composting can be a bit of an art, but once you get started, you will be hooked! A great way to recycle clippings, weeds, leaves, vegetable peel and all sorts of organic matter. An even better way to know that you are, quite literally, returning nature’s bounty to the soil. Talk about the circle of life…
Tree branches can be repurposed into natural sculptures or garden features. Twigs can be woven into gifts for nature-loving friends or dried and used for kindling in the fireplace or barbecue. Grass clippings can be turned into natural dyes for fabric making and grass clippings can be left in situ to return nutrients to the soil and protect the delicate new growth underneath from scorching in the hot summer sun.
The broken piece of path, tiles or rockery can be smashed to make smaller stones for drainage in the bottom of pots. We are all being urged to recycle in the home – why not extend that to the garden too?
3. Council Collection
Check what arrangements your local council has for taking organic waste away. You may be able to access special bins just for garden waste, although there may be a charge involved. It could be well worth paying, however, as this is an easy and highly responsible option for many gardeners.
Double-check what you are allowed to put in the bin before adding to it, and make sure you know when the collection day is and where the bin needs to be for the refuse collectors to take it away. Never add hot ashes from a barbecue or garden bonfire, as this can damage the bin and cause a fire to reignite inside it.
4. Caring for Equipment
A lot of garden waste does not come from plants and trees and can take up a huge amount of room. Broken equipment such as leaking hosepipes, broken flower pots and wonky wheelbarrows can be bulky and cumbersome to get rid of. Often, the council will not take it away from the doorstep in their usual refuse collection rotas.
They say that prevention is better than cure, however, so this is a problem that needn’t become quite so difficult with a bit of careful planning. Over the quieter winter and early spring months, do a maintenance check on all garden equipment, Oil wheelbarrows, mend lawnmowers and check hosepipes for kinks. Attach kink-preventing accessories like Kink Out to hosepipes to prolong their useful lives and avoid having to throw them out.
5. Skip to it
If you have loads and loads to get rid of, hire a skip – or a skip bag – to help you work out how to get rid of garden waste in one or two goes. The beauty of this idea is that someone else does the heavy lifting, once the skip is full and it gets taken away. While hiring a skip is not necessarily the cheapest option, it is one of the easiest and can help save on fuel if you don’t have to transport things to the dump by car or van.
Choosing a reputable skip company to work with also ensures that the garden waste doesn’t end up being illegal fly-tipped somewhere – it will be disposed of correctly, ethically and as sustainably as possible.
This idea won’t work for all gardeners, as some areas do not allow bonfires due to pollution or safety concerns. Check with your local authorities where they stand for your area. There may be time restrictions on when you can light one, for example. You must also be careful not to burn anything that will give off toxic fumes.
Bonfires are best kept for organic garden waste, such as grass cuttings, dead-headed flowers and non-chemically-treated wood. Always have a hosepipe nearby, attached to a tap, in case you have to use it to dampen down the fire. The broken pieces with water in an emergency.