Facebook Pixel
Fast & Secure UK Shipping

Awareness

How do you look after hibernating and non-hibernating animals in Autumn?

The fallen leaves in your garden and the cooler temperatures are the first signs that autumn is well and truly in full swing. It may not be the coldest or harshest of the seasons but it is in these months that some animals start to prepare and wind down for hibernation and winter. This dormant period takes place in the UK from October and finishes around March/April, or when the weather picks up again but does not affect all wild mammals.

The winter in the UK can become quite difficult for small animals to cope with and their preparation in the autumn can make or break the coming months. With dwindling numbers of hazel dormice, bats, hedgehogs and badgers in the UK due to environmental and man-made issues, we need to help these creatures survive whether they are hibernating or simply trying to survive the winter. Every creature has its own set of needs and it is best to understand if the animals visiting your garden hibernate or not.

Hedgehogs


This little ‘gardeners' friend’ eats snails, slugs and other insects that disturb our plant beds but now hedgehogs are an endangered animal, they really need our help. Where best to start than by thoroughly checking gardens, underneath sheds and decking so any animals that have chosen these spots for sleeping are left alone. Don’t forget to let everyone in the household know so they are aware of them. Do this check soon so you do not have a sleeping hedgehog in a dangerous place as these animals should not be moved once they have started hibernating. If you find a hibernating hedgehog that needs to be moved, call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 for professional advice. If you have noticed one trying to make a nest, why not install a hedgehog house for its whole family to come and go as they please. Cover it in leaves to keep the warmth in and encourage them to live there by popping some specialist hedgehog food in.

hedgehog house national trust

Squirrels


There are four types of squirrel living in the UK today; red, black, brown and grey and although some see these as pests, red squirrels' numbers are dwindling and due to rapid building of housing areas with no trees and high fences, squirrels are finding places to live harder to come by and so the colder months are tougher for them to get through. In fact, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust say that these beautiful creatures will be extinct in a decade if we do not help them.

Squirrels store their food during the autumn months so they can access these reserves during the winter, check if any visit your garden during this period and try to not disturb their stores. They sometimes visit bird houses to collect food so make sure yours is well stocked with nuts and seeds for both birds and squirrels to dip into.

Squirrels do not hibernate but can sleep for up to 20 hours a day after a few hours of activity in the early morning (not unlike cats). This is why it may seem that squirrels are absent in the colder seasons but their survival depends on how they cope with winter.

Birds


During autumn and winter the UK plays host to some species of bird who migrate to our shores for different foods and climates.  Some of us are lucky enough to have a garden that bursts back into life again as soon as this migration has ended, but some gardens are not equipped to handle visitors. If you want to set up a long-term goal of looking after birds, you can plant hedges in place of man-made fences and plant berry producing bushes and fruits so you can provide homes and sustenance. In years to come your garden will become a haven for feathered friends and other creatures such as dormice and hedgehogs.

For short term solutions, putting out the right bird food and providing suitable homes for them will encourage life in your garden. Placing a bird bath for fresh drinking water and cleaning will contribute to their stay. If you are short on space, some decorative water butts have planter tops that can be utilised as a bird bath during the colder months if you prefer to us the top to house flowers and plants during the spring/summer period. If you already have a bird bath and bird houses, don’t forget to clean them out to make room for the new season of visitors. Check both once a week for movement and to stock up.

If you start to see more activity in your garden, if may be worth documenting who is visiting for the RSPB Big Garden Watch in January. Get familiar with the breeds and use their handy ‘identify a bird’ guide, too.

Birds, Bees & Bug Hotel

Badgers & Foxes


Whilst some may not see the visitation of a fox or a badger as ‘lucky’, they are protected animals that require help and shelter if you have enough space. As the nights draw in, it is best to drive with caution especially on country roads and pop your high beams on at every opportunity to warn them away from the streets. If you find an injured animal, it is best to get in touch with the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and do not try to help them yourself as they can become upset and bite you if they are in pain. The same response is needed if you find a badger or fox cub and have not seen an adult for 24 hours. If you see a large animal that has sadly died on the side of the road, do contact your local authority as many do not report crashes involving animals.

Badgers do not hibernate but are nocturnal so winter can be especially harsh for them. Largely, they create their dens in the edges of woods and moorlands so it is very rare that a set would use a garden as a home but if you live near a known badger area, you can leave fruit or dried dog food out for them in harsher months. This may also discourage them from hunting small animals such as hedgehogs. Badgers are under threat in the UK, if you would like to help, visit the Badger Trust and get involved.

Urban and rural foxes also do not hibernate but can become slightly less active during snow and cold rain. If you have foxes tipping over your bins and scavenging for food regularly, it is because there is a shortage of supplies in the local area. It is also worth noting that if they get hold of the processed foods that humans eat, they can become addicted and continue to visit you! Urban foxes are braver but rural foxes are also known to scavenge when desperate neither are aggressive but are inquisitive. Help them to not cause a ruckus in your garden by leaving out tinned dog food, fruit and raw meat. If they feel they can take the food away to cache, they will be less likely to visit again. To learn more about foxes, why not visit the National Fox Welfare Society?

Winter can become very difficult for all animals in the UK, especially with unpredictable temperatures and recent years littered with extended snow storms that many resident creatures are not geared up for. There is a lot we can do to help them by setting up a sanctuary for wildlife in your garden or outdoor space and they can settle and survive.

Explore our full range of gardening and wildlife preservation tools at Original Organics.

Celebrate Recycle Week From 23th To 29th September

Recycle Week was set up 17 years ago and founded by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and has, possibly partly due to its success in 2018, been split with Recycle Now. Compared to previous years, the campaign saw a surge in people taking part and sharing their recycling and composting efforts on social media last year so 2019 can only be bigger and better! This progress could possibly be due to more people becoming aware and familiar with environmental issues and wanting to help and the more ‘normal’ eco issues become, the more we try to take our efforts further. Recycling is widely accessible with most kerbside pick-ups offering a wide range of options, but as local councils expand their efforts and companies make more recyclable products, the general public can become more confused as to what can be picked up and what needs to be taken to a specialist site.

Look through our guide of what can and cannot be easily recycled and what you may need to do to make some items recyclable.

image of carton tetrapak

TetraPak® Recycling


There is a myth surrounding TetraPak® (juice/milk cartons and chopped tomato cartons) that they cannot be recycled due to the plastic outer layer. Luckily, this is not true. Many districts allow this packaging to be recycled kerbside (to be sure check the Local Authority map on the Tetra website to find where you can take items if this hasn’t been rolled out in your area), so if you’re lucky enough to have this facility then you can pop it in your bin safe in the knowledge that it is being looked after.

The sad thing about these cartons is whilst they protect us from harmful bacteria, they are not easy to recycle. In fact, they go through a process of ‘downcycling’ whereby the products that make the cartons are reused as something of a lower quality. The paper used is turned into office paper and the rest is passed down into the cement industry as ‘polymer’. Unfortunately, due to their protective nature, TetraPak®s need to be made from virgin products every time they are produced. Where possible, it is best to buy products contained in glass or cans as they can be recycled back into the same products as before.

Pet Food Sachet & Bag Recycling


These sachets are complex in their materials and can cause confusion when it comes to recycling them. Luckily, Terracycle have launched a scheme in the UK to recycle these. The scheme is in association with Whiskas and James Wellbeloved and has raised over 13k for charity since its inception. The success of this scheme has meant that people can no longer post these items due to high demand but there are hundreds of drop-off points in the UK which can be found on the Terracycle site.

These sachets are recycled and used to make products such as park benches and fence posts which can take a lot of energy to create. Where possible, feed animals with canned food (or home cooked meat) to cut down on your usage of this complex packaging.

image of slatted wooden composters

Composting


Whilst most of us either put our food waste out for kerbside pick-up or use for compost in our gardens but there are a few items that can go on your compost heap that may surprise you.

  • Liquid from canned fruits and veg

  • Hair and nail clippings

  • Feathers and per fur

  • Small scraps of materials made from natural fibres

  • Natural cork from wine bottles

  • Potting soil

  • Hamster bedding

  • Christmas trees (break them down first)

  • Some Cellophane can be composted as it made from plants, check the labels though

  • Wood ash


Composting rule of thumb is that if it’s biodegradable, you can compost it. As more people start composting, more information becomes available and more inventive ways of creating a rich soil for your garden are thought up. Using products such as Bokashi can really speed up your compost creation and can make a really luscious fertiliser.

Terracycle Scheme


The Terracycle scheme in general makes recycling difficult products that are not widely looked after, easy to properly dispose of. Items such as crisp packets and tubes, coffee pods, used pens, air fresheners and toothpaste tubes are all accepted in this scheme.

In 2019 is it easy to recycle most things if you know how and as more information becomes readily available, anyone can make the extra effort especially during Recycle Week. Have you found a scheme near you or have an interesting recycling fact or hack? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

Explore our garden, composting and rainwater harvesting product range on Original Organics.

The Community In Allotments

The Community In Allotments

Allotments or organised community growing patches have been in existence in the UK since Anglo-Saxon times where villagers would cultivate fruit and vegetables for their families. As time went on into the nineteenth century, small parts of land were given to the labouring poor to produce food when areas previously used for cultivation were turned into factories and houses.

Read more

HOW TO MAKE YOUR GARDEN SUSTAINABLE

main image

Topics surrounding the environment have become popular in social conversations in recent years and people have started to notice the levels of their waste and consumption. Globally, we have seen huge differences to the way companies use resources (compostable wrapping on magazines, banning plastic straws etc) and how much information the media give to the public on this subject. Although with all this information, we can find ourselves sifting through a lot of advice and not knowing what to do with it. The bombardment of messages showing us the state of our eco-system can leave us feeling helpless and upset. So, what if you could make a few simple changes in your home today?

The Kitchen

We are all aware of plastic bag charges and most of us have ‘bag for life’s’ stacked up somewhere in the kitchen. One of the issues with these is that they are still made from plastic and they don’t fold nicely into handbags or rucksacks, so we often forget them. Investing in cotton bag that will bio-degrade, are easily washed and do not put fibrous materials into our water system is crucial. They can also be used instead of thin plastic bags used for produce, which often get tossed away.

It can feel frustrating to know that you are throwing food or plastic away, but we can find our way back to living more naturally. Many of us in the UK have a compost pick-up service from our local council. This is a fantastic initiative that has revolutionised most people’s thoughts on waste. So, instead of throwing away vegetables, egg shells and tea bags, we now put it in our compost bin and send it away. But composting at home could be the start to what you can do. By creating compost from your own food waste, you could make growing vegetables easier and more efficient.

Look through our vast range of composters and wormeries to start this today. We even have wooden composters that give you double eco-points! Unsure how to compost? Here are our hints and tips on composting, and our updated wormery guide and read through our how to build a pet poo wormery guide in case you wish to set one up.

The Garden

The garden is one of the most natural places to take your sustainability project further. Compost is great for fruit and vegetable plants and could be a fuss-free way of becoming eco-friendlier. Organic produce can be better for your wallet and your health so put your compost to good use and reap the benefits. Also, if you end up with a large harvest that you’re unable to get through, you can share it with friends and family.

garden picture

Creating wild patches of grass and weeds is very good for pollinating insects and can encourage them to pollinate fruits like strawberries. You could use the wilder parts of your garden to encourage creepy crawlies to live, hopefully this may discourage them from invading your fruit and veg patches. You can also take another step and use non-harmful and non-polluting ways of discouraging insects. We have a veg patch protector that does not kill bees, slugs or any other unwanted visitors. We also have this handy bundle that only repels creepy crawlies away from certain areas of your garden.

The Gutters


Every summer we live in threat of a hose-pipe ban which is a real testament to the low rainfall in some areas of the world. What can seem even more frustrating is that we do have days and days of rain in other months, so it can leave one wondering how we run out of water! If you find it hard to manage through hose pipe bans make sure you have a store of water by installing a water butt. You will be able to water plants regularly in any month with this one simple change. Also, if you collect excess water, you can use this to flush toilets! A water butt will help you cut down on water waste and usage. To minimise the risk of having foreign bodies such as leaves enter your water butt (especially if you’re using the water for flushing toilets or washing fruit and veg), you may want to invest in Hedgehog Brush to protect your harvested water (and cut back on cleaning guttering!).

gutters image

To create a sustainable garden and to live in an eco-friendlier way is a lot easier than you may think. Just making a few changes can completely overhaul not just your garden but your way of life. Composting waste, growing organic food and harvesting rainwater are some of the more accessible ways of starting, naturally you will use less single use products and cut down on plastic consumption because of making these changes.

Interested in other ways you can make sustainable changes? Explore our website for more

Gardening for World Wellbeing Week

World Wellbeing Week is from 24th until 28th June 2019 and highlights how we focus on ourselves and how we look after out mental and physical health. The awareness week was created to encourage large companies and governments to look at how they promote wellbeing at work and in society. It also attempts to promote efforts from charitable organisations. Gardening and growing plants has recently been heralded as a fantastic way of staying mindful and helping with mental health issues and so, could benefit mental and physical wellbeing.

zen

Urban Gardening

With people in inner cities finding it hard to make ends meet and spaces being cemented over, community groups have taken to gardening to help residents grow their own fruit and veg and create green spaces. Councils in London have given communities the tools to make areas dedicated to working together and providing food. These initiatives not only bring people together but also help the air quality, reduce flooding and support biodiversity. They have seen great successes in area such as Lambeth and Brixton.

vegetables

Adding green spaces to urbanised areas can also help with depression and anxiety. Many of us now live in rather built-up areas and can find it hard to grow our own fruit and veg, let alone plants and trees. If you live in accommodation with no garden and limited space, size and practicality are key. Window planters for herbs and succulents will add a hint of green and will break your view up. If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, you could invest in a balcony planter. With both window and balcony planters, you could grow your own fruit and vegetables, which could help your purse strings, too. Many of us live near allotments and they can be inexpensive to rent. These spaces are perfect for growing food, if you’re just getting started or need extra tools to expand your project, we have a large area dedicated to growing your own fruit and veg that could help you.

Gardening and the NHS

A garden can be like a sanctuary for the mind. The NHS have taken advantage of this and have started gardening initiatives centered at aiming to help with certain mental health issues such as stress around the country. Working hard on a plot can be rather therapeutic and the results are easy to see. Fruit, vegetables and beautiful flowers can bloom quickly if a project is started properly and with the right guidance. The blend of physical and mental activity that gardening commands can be the best therapy for some. The transformation of bare patch to working garden could be perfect for anyone needing to employ some mindfulness to their lives.

balance

As we are entering the month of July, plants and food plants can grow quicker than in other months which can feel more rewarding. In addition, the physical aspect to digging and planting could center the mind and improve physical health. Try to plant flowers that attract butterflies and bees, knowing that you’re helping the environment around you will give you a great sense of purpose and watching these insects is extremely pleasing. Gardening in summer months is great way of bonding with family and friends, as well. See if you can connect with others on a project and make it fun.

Even if you do not suffer from mental health issues, gardening can help with overall wellbeing and when you love your environment, you feel better. With the NHS rolling out ‘prescription gardening’, it is little wonder that there is attention towards gardening over Wellbeing Week. Although, it’s not just mental health that is benefitted from gardening, physical health from the labour involved in gardening and digestive health from consuming organic vegetables and fruit are also impacted. Creating green spaces in urbanised areas can also help reduce flooding, bio emissions and air quality. Issues that affect all of us.

To find out more about starting a gardening project, explore our website https://www.originalorganics.co.uk/

National Children’s Gardening Week

National Children’s Gardening Week

It is National Children’s Gardening Week from 25th May-2nd June 2019 and to help you join in the fun, here are some ideas to get little ones exploring and learning in the great outdoors.

Bug Hotel

This can be made on a large or small scale and is great way of recycling dry waste. For a large-scale bug hotel, gather 3 or 4 wooden pallets and stack them on top of each other. Make sure there is space between each ‘floor’. Have little ones gather twigs, bamboo canes, pine cones, grass and any other natural waste. Place and stuff the materials into the holes so that some is hanging out, this will help bugs and insects crawl in. If you want to, pop some plants or turf on top of the pallet to make sure this hotel gets 5 stars!

For a smaller option, take the ends off tin cans or plastic water bottles, fill them up with sticks, twigs, grass etc and wrap some twine around them so they can hang up. Alternatively, you can leave them on the floor near plants to get crawlies that need a rest.

Check in your guests every so often and ensure they are having a lovely stay. Kid’s love creepy crawlies and this could be a prime chance to teach them about the importance of them.

bug hotel

Recycle some wellies

Children can grow rather fast and we can feel conscious of our waste when chucking out old clothes and shoes. So turn those old wellies into something fun! Due to the materials they are made from, most wellies are waterproof on the outside and are pretty resilient, this makes them a perfect place to plant flowers in! Drill a couple of small holes into the bottom of each boot for drainage and fill up the boot with compost and soil. You could replant some growing flowers or sow some seeds in the top. Why not also paint them fun colours to extend playtime!

Make a terrarium

This project will be great for older kids and younger ones alike. If you have any old jars or glass bowls, line them with pebbles, stones (great if you have any leftover decorative aggregates from another project!) or broken crockery. This will help with soil drainage. Then fill ¼ of the jar with potting soil and a few more decorative stones. Cactuses and succulents work well for this so pop one or two into the habitat (depending on space). Also, these types of plants need less attention, great if the small person wants it in their bedroom!

Old Junk Garden

Like the wellie project, this is good for old waste such as old bread bins, sets of drawers and unused bins. Drill holes into the bottoms of the new planters to allow for drainage and pop some plants in the way you normally would. You can arrange this ‘junk’ to be its own little area in the garden and like the wellies, you could paint them and really bring it all to life.

picture planting

Pond Life

If you have a pond or a water feature, the chances are it will require a clean and any fish you have will need to be checked on. Take this opportunity to involved younger and older children to get involved and learn about the environment they live in. If you’re thinking of introducing fish to your pond, have the kids pick the fish and make them feel part of the process.

landscape childrens gardening

We have so much more on our website for children including growing kits made for kids and garden games for when the sun is out. For nature orientated little ones, we have a large range of wildlife food and bird care, you could encourage them to make notes and keep up to date with the animals that visit the garden. If your space is limited, we have these balcony planters in stock.

Explore our gardening range on Original Organics.

Who needs the gym? Lose weight in the garden.

As our lives become busier, we look for more ways to make the most of our time. Large numbers of us get our shopping delivered to home and drive to work so we are outsourcing a lot of the tasks we used to do ourselves and missing out on valuable daily exercise. Many of us are time poor due to work or family commitments and may find it hard to make time for the gym or to go for a run. So how can we get that much needed physical activity and make the most of our time? Gardening could be the answer.

With most tasks in the garden burning over 200 calories an hour, this could be the perfect solution to being double productive with your time.

According to MyFitnessPal;

  • An 11 stone person raking the lawn for 30 minutes burns 136 calories

  • An 11 stone person taking part in general gardening for 60 minutes burns 272 calories

  • An 11 stone person shovelling dirt/compost for 60 minutes burns 422 calories!


Also, Web MD states that raking and bagging leaves can burn 350-400 calories an hour and mowing the lawn burns 250-300 calories an hour. These activities are necessities for garden upkeep and can be done all year round so are usually done regularly.

woman using wheelbarrow

If you want to boost these activities and burn even more calories another options would be to invest in a push lawnmower – not only is it better for the environment but you will get even fitter. Plus, the push-pull movement is great for your upper arm muscles, getting you toned at the same time!

Why not bring your plants to your garden from the car one by one instead of using a wheelbarrow? You could even try to get each one to the garden quicker than the next by racing yourself (or the kids) and you will use more steps and get more cardio exercise this way. Using hedge shears instead of an automatic hedge trimmer will not only burn calories but will also use all important back and core muscles.  If you find it hard to kneel for too long but still want the exercise we have a great range of kneelers and planters that are at a higher level so that you can save your back and knees.

Make the most of your time by doubling exercise with gardening and help weed away any stresses! Gardening is also said to help with stress, depression and anxiety as it is physical, and you can literally see your project grow. So, help your mental and physical health by getting out into the garden – let’s just hope the weather stays clear!

Start your garden project today at Original Organics

International Compost Awareness Week 2019

International Compost Awareness Week is a significant event in the calendars of a lot of gardeners and allotment connoisseurs.  This year it runs from Sunday 5th May to Saturday 10th May 2019.  It was set up to boost awareness to the natural and exciting world of composting and this year it is even more significant. The media has been rife with programs detailing the issues affecting our planet and people are thinking about eco-friendly approaches and their carbon footprint. As we are more conscious of our impact on the planet, it could be a great time to start considering composting at home.

Composting is a cheap and environmentally friendly way of feeding your garden naturally and can help reduce the release of nitrous oxide. Currently, most UK councils take your food waste away, but this can prove exhaustive and uses fuel to collect. If most of the people in your neighbourhood composted imagine how you could reduce emissions! In addition to the eco-friendly aspect, composting is a great project for the whole family. Kids can get involved and learn so much about gardening and the environment, maybe they will grow up to cultivate their own patch! It also provides a fantastic foundation for growing your own veg and herbs which could cut your food bills.

Green Composting Waste

If you haven’t already started to use your garden and food waste to feed your plants, browse some of our articles on composting to find out how you can get started.  A good one to get you started is ‘How composting can help your garden and your bank account’.  We also have books on composting to help you.

Or if you want to take a more practical approach, look through some of our best compost bins and accessories for beginners:

Already a dab hand at composting? Have you considered adding a wormery to your gardening arsenal? It is the perfect add-on to a thriving garden. We have a large range of wormery’s and we have a Wormery FAQ area if you need some help setting up.

Alternatively, have you given Bokashi composting a whirl? Check out another level of composting here with our Bokashi bins and buckets.

Happy composting!
©Copyright 2020 - Original Organics is a trading name of GM8 Group Ltd. A company registered in England & Wales (company number 4414980) with Magento eCommerce by Screen Pages