Gourmet gardener: down-to-earth ideas


A compost bin

– Tara Kate Linnane –

We are well and truly on our way for the winter season in the garden. The ocher-colored foliage continues to fall, revealing the barren silhouettes of the trees in the landscape. Some take this time to pack their tools and move indoors, others take a head start by sowing spring crops.

Whichever route you take, it’s up to us to make sure that we complete each task in the most sustainable manner possible. Improving even one area of ​​our lives can contribute to the overall cause of sustainability.

Get yourself a box of vegetables

A simple place to start is the food. Many of us lose touch with seasonal foods because almost all fruits and vegetables are available for purchase in supermarkets throughout the year. Eating seasonally requires a change in our thinking and a little effort in the form of meal planning.

If you don’t grow some of your own seasonal produce, the best thing to do is get a local vegetable box. This way, you can eat seasonal food without even thinking about it. If something is in season, you will more than likely find it in the crisper box. Locally grown food doesn’t have air miles, generally less plastic is used for packaging, and supporting local producers is always a good thing.

Making and using compost is the cornerstone of gardening, especially organic gardening. The finished product is rich, dark, crumbly, and full of nutrients. It is made from recycled garden and kitchen waste and can also include paper products.

It is used to nourish and condition the soil and in the manufacture of potting soil. While we should all live by the principle of buying less, in this case, I would recommend getting a compost bin to help you with the process of making garden gold.

Compost piles may be fine in large gardens, but for most of us, that’s unrealistic. An alternative is therefore to buy a compost bin. They are filled from the top and when full, the activity inside will break down the material, allowing you to access the final product from the bottom. There are different sizes and they are widely available at garden centers and hardware stores.

Collecting and reusing rainwater is a great sustainable practice that we should all try to do more of in our gardens. There are many techniques, including diverting rainwater from a shed roof, along a drainage pipe into containers such as a water tank.

Water butts are widely available and you can find them in a range of sizes to suit any area, including the slim fit!

They are basically ships and if you want to save money and save the environment you can convert a wheelie bin into a water tank. Reusing gray water (from baths, showers, dishes) is a great way to reuse water.

I use this method to water my houseplants. Household soaps are not harmful to plants, but if the water has been contaminated with bleach or dish salts, avoid using it on plants.

Small changes make a big difference and these are simple things we can all do. So start by researching where your food comes from and find your local vegetable box (contact me for details on the local Cavan vegetable box).


Tara Kate Linnane is passionate about sustainability and growing everything edible. With her husband Barry, she embarked on a journey of designing edible spaces and introducing others to their gardening adventures.


Gourmet Gardener: From your garden to your glass


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