Resilient gardening expert, Kim Stoddart, co-author of the newly published The Climate Change Garden book by Quarto, told Express.co.uk: “January is never an easy month let’s face it, especially as concerns around our increasingly erratic weather and the cost of living crisis hit an all-time scary high.
“Gardening has become really expensive over the years but actually many money-saving activities are some of the best ways to boost resilience in your garden.
“So hopefully knowing that there are lots of cheap and easy ways to shore up the defences in your outside space can offer some hope for the year ahead.
“So as we look forward to longer, warmer daylight hours, here are some easy ways to put a thrifty but climate change savvy spring back in your step.”
1. Make your own soil improvers
According to the pro, turning waste from the garden and kitchen leftovers into a “wondrous” homemade compost “feels incredibly good”.
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Kim added: “Compost is a fantastic soil improver which helps the ground hold and maintain more water than it would do otherwise. This is important over winter when there’s a lot of rain and during the summer months when you want the ground to hold liquid in for longer to help plants.
“Mulching is also important to help protect soil from extremes of rain, heat, wind and goodness knows what else. It encourages microbial activity in the soil and affords greater resilience overall.”
Gardeners should sprinkle around a centimetre of mulch around the garden which can include wood chip, compost, leafmould, comfrey, nettles and wool.
2. Don’t dig
Kim noted: “There is a lot more awareness thankfully of the benefits of not toiling away with the spade.
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3. Be pesticide, chemical and peat-free
Many gardeners opt to use pesticides to help get rid of pests outside, but this can also damage the wider ecosystem.
The expert explained: “Instead, by welcoming in a wider array of creatures and predators, your outside space becomes more of an eat and be eaten environment, where it is much harder for one pest to proliferate.
“So for example slugs can provide a useful role as food for birds, hedgehogs, frogs, ground beetles and even some spiders.”
Peat compost is also being slowly phased out, with a complete ban by 2024.
This means it is time to get used to the alternatives on the market. Kim recommended Dalefoot, Melcourt, Sylvagrow and Carbon Gold.
4. Think layers
The gardening expert explained: “Within your garden space this can work well on a number of levels. So trees and shrubs rather than fencing can all help soak up an excess of rain, and afford protection against strong winds.
“While planting with some shade in mind is also useful for summertime sun. Be it tall resilient perennial planting like willow or Jerusalem artichoke, or mixed planting of flowers with produce and ground cover like edible salad leaves.”
Gardeners could also opt for herbs in-between to protect the soil from drying out.
5. Grow wild
To provide habitats for a variety of animals and insects as well as provide all-weather protection, there are several options to choose from in the garden.
Kim recommended creating some wild areas where grass can grow long and wildflowers move in.
Gardeners can also create an area with longer grass with some plants such as daisies which can help to stand “firm drought” which the UK saw last summer.
Kim is an award-winning environmental journalist who has been writing about climate change and resilience since 2013. She is editor of The Organic Way magazine and co-author of the new The Climate Change Garden book, and runs a range of resilient grow your own courses in person and online around the UK.