Guest post by Kevin Jameson
Hi. I’m Kevin Jameson, an allotment gardener for nearly 30 years together with my lovely wife Angela. I’ve been interested in gardening all my life thanks to my Mum. She’s 90 and is still as keen as ever. Once you have the bug it seldom leaves you.
We try to garden in a sustainable way using organic methods. Mostly with very good results and a steady supply of produce but as any seasoned gardener will say, you never stop learning. That’s part of the joy of it. I’m very pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to the blog and share some of our gardening experiences with you.
With the Big Beach Clean 2023 coming up I have some ideas to share on converting your finds to garden and allotment uses.
Along with gardening, one of our other big loves is visiting the beach. We are lucky to have always lived near the sea and spend a lot of time there doing all sorts of things including gathering seaweed for the garden and organized beach cleans.
Regular beach goers can hardly have failed to notice the negative impact of human activity on coastlines. In particular, industrial and domestic plastic waste and coastal erosion due to climate change.
Having said that I’ve always loved beachcombing and must confess that our house is full of little treasures. Mementos of happy times in special seaside places.
My first reuseable object is a large heavy duty plastic fish box. I’ve regularly come across these on beaches and salvaged a couple.
It can be used as a simple cold frame covered with scrap clear polythene. The one below housed young strawberry plants over the winter months before planting out.
It presently houses bedding plants raised off the ground to deter slugs.
A fish box filled with compost can also be employed as a useful space saving high density vegetable and herb planter provided their roots are not too deep eg spring onions, radish, lettuce. Alternatively, a plastic bread crate would work almost as well.
Another frequent and more unpleasant beach find is discarded nylon fishing net. It is particularly destructive to the marine environment but happily is incredibly versatile when growing vegetables and fruit. It is very tough but reasonably easy to cut to suitable size.
We have 2 main uses for these nets across a range of plants.
– As a deterrent to birds damaging young plants or eating fruit
The 80mm mesh net pictured below is laid over young celeriac plants to discourage the local blackbirds from scattering the grass clipping mulch. I have never known birds to become trapped in his type of net.
– As a plant support. It is great for using to train peas particularly as it is much stronger and less fiddly than finer pea mesh. Even better, this net can be easily pegged out with canes over bean plants at around 30 cm height. The beans grow through the wide mesh and then have their stems supported.
I shall feature other waste items turned into useful gardening equipment in future articles.
Lastly, finding interesting Driftwood on the beach may be an added reward during the beach clean up. Here are a couple of ornamental examples from our garden: