GARDENING WITH NATURE IN MIND
Kitchen Garden|June 2021
This month we meet Sandy Lipo of Good Roots Barn, who is so passionate about reducing plastic use in the garden she’s made a business out of it
Sandy Lipo

Sandy is inspired by nature and gardening allows her to connect with that ethos. Her website and blog are very much about growing her own but integrated with the natural world and ideas on how to embrace and protect it.

Have you always loved gardening and growing your own veg?

I only really started gardening when I moved into a house in my mid-20s. That was bigger than the gardens I’d previously had and it became very clear that it would need some maintenance. But quite quickly I realised that just maintaining it was not enough and I became interested in growing my own vegetables.

It really all started on a window ledge with coriander seeds and I was hooked.

Now I grow as much as I possibly can, vegetables, herbs, flowers, all from seed. And this year I began propagation of my houseplants which I give away to family and friends when they visit.

What are your views on recycling?

I have been a keen recycler although sitting in on some webinars during this lockdown period has really opened my eyes to the fact that we really don’t have a reliable infrastructure to cope with the extensive amount of waste households produce. So now I don’t rely completely on recycling as I’m convinced this should be a last resort; today I try to practise a zero waste lifestyle where possible. It can be tricky but it is achievable if you become a conscious consumer and acknowledge that all your waste has to go ‘somewhere’. It’s about asking yourself, what am I going to do with it once it’s served its purpose.

I think TerraCycle is a fantastic organisation that is doing great things but people can find these places locally. Here in West Devon we have an organisation called ProperJob, which is a charity-run organisation that gives all your unwanted goods a second chance in life and it also has a brilliant compost service, where garden waste is taken and turned into the most beautiful, rich, organic compost.

You still encourage recycling and greener gardening if possible. Do you have a top tip you can share?

Compost is the key. The composter is the engine room of the garden. Every home should have a composter and every garden needs rich organic matter. And making your own compost can be achieved in the smallest of gardens and in a variety of different ways, either in the form of bins (and there are many to choose from) or wormeries.

We are at a stage where we need to be more conscious of the waste that we are producing and where it’s going. Producing your own homemade compost is such an easy process, you keep food scraps out of landfill and you save money by not having to purchase compost in plastic bags! For me it’s a win-win scenario.

You love to ‘skip dip’ and visit reclamation yards. What’s your best find?

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