My Square Metre


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Thank-you Wildlife Warriors

Hello all of you lovely wildlife warriors out there, if you have been following our campaign over the past couple of months then you will know that we are running My Square Metre as part of a University project. If, on the other hand, you’re a new face around these parts then click this link here to find out about us, and this link here to find out about the campaign.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in our campaign, whether you’ve liked us on Facebook, followed us on Twitter or sent in your pictures, we’re delighted to have helped you to help the wildlife in your garden.

This project has seen us create activity sheets, adorn University buildings with flowers, build a little flower pot man, write lots of blog posts and interact with all of you on our social media feeds. We’ve had a lot of fun and we hope you have too!

We chose to create a campaign around wildlife conservation not just because we’re passionate about it, but because it really is fun and easy and it makes a huge difference too. By doing something as simple as planting a packet of wild flower seeds, you have grown flowers which provide pollen for bees and butterflies, food for all sorts of wildlife, homes for insects and oxygen for you! All of that from just one good wildlife deed!

We wanted to show you that with just one square metre you can make a difference, and hopefully we have inspired you to take your wildlife crusading beyond your square metre and into the rest of your garden and local area.

This will be the last regular update on this blog, but we intend to keep updating you with our wildlife ponderings for a little while longer, so check out our social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to download our fun activity sheets to have fun whilst making a difference.

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Why you should love creepy crawlies

A lot of people squirm at the mention of insects, but did you know that creepy crawlies are actually your secret weapon when it comes  to growing a successful garden? From spiders and worms to bees and butterflies, there are so many reasons why you should welcome insects into your garden. We’ve made a run down of the top three reasons why you should welcome insects into your garden with open arms…

 

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Aphid Eaters

Lady birds are avid eaters of aphids which would normally nibble holes in your plants. Most people wouldn’t begrudge a lady bird a space in their garden, but how about a spider? Yes, for all of their scary qualities, spiders just want to lend a helping hand by gobbling up the naughty aphids who are a particular pest in the vegetable garden. So next time you’re about to squish a spider with your slipper, spare a thought for your cabbages and pop him outside instead.

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Plant Pollinators

Butterflies and bees are well known for polinating plants, but did you know that one third of our food needs to be pollinated by insects? Butterflies are often considered pretty but bees are a little harder to love with their scary stings. However, a bee will only sting you if it feels threatend as it will die soon after, so if you’re kind to him then he’ll be kind to you. To keep your garden in glorious bloom, leave out sugar water to help nourish bees and butterflies, check out our blog post here.

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Soil Cultivator

A lot of you who are reading this may have childhood memories of being chased by siblings with wriggly worms. But earth worms are actually the gardeners friend, often known as natures plough, they help roots to grow by creating tunnels which inject air and water into the soil. They also excrete dark, granular castings which are rich in nutrients and an excellent fertilizer. So next time you dig up a worm, pop it back into the soil, he’ll reward you with healthy, happy plants!


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Planting your own fruit seeds

When you’re eating a piece of fruit like an apple, orange or pear, picking out the seeds can be very annoying. So why not take advantage of this tedious task and plant the seeds to grow your very own fruit trees? In this easy to follow tutorial, we show you how to save your fruit seeds and plant them so that you one day have your own mini orchard. For this tutorial we have used Grapfruit seeds, but you can use anything you like.

Step1: First of all, extract the seeds from your fruit and place them into a bowl, cover completely with water and leave to soak for seven days. Remember to change the water every day.

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Step 2: After soaking for seven days, carefully peel the skin from the seeds. The skin should come off easily, but you may want to use a small knife if you have a few stubborn seeds.

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Step 3: Fill a small container with soil and place the seeds in an upright position in the bowl as pictured. Cover them with fine gravel or pebbles and water. Place them in a sunny spot on a windowsill or balcony.

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Step 4: For the next three weeks you will need to water the seeds every two days. As the days go by you will see the seeds beginning to sprout, as pictured below.

You are now well on your way to having your own mini-orchard! Don’t forget to send pictures of your sprouting seeds to mysquaremetre@live.co.uk and we may even feature them on the blog!




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Helping your local wildlife in the community

So by now we hope that you’ve got a taste for helping your local wildlife and you’re just as enthusiastic as we are! If that’s the case then you might be thinking of ways that you can help the wildlife in your local area outside of your garden. There are lots of different ways in which you can do this, and it doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Whether it’s visiting or volunteering at your local widlife reserve or starting a community project, getting out and about to care for your local wildlife and environment can be oodles of fun.

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Daneshill Lakes nature reserve, Nottinghamshire

Visiting your local reserve

Nature reserves come in a variety of types, ranging from woodlands to wetlands, no two are ever the same. They are great places to take kids to learn about wildlife and the environment or just for a Sunday morning stroll. Visiting and supporting your local nature reserve means that they can stay open and continue to preserve the local wildlife which lives there for years to come. There are always lots of fun, practical and educational workshops or events going on at your local reserve, often happening at a weekend. Follow the links to find your local RSPB reserve here, or your local Wildlife Trust reserve here.

Volunteering at your local reserve

Your local nature reserve is most likely always looking for volunteers to help them in all kinds of ways, from getting mucky planting trees to helping plan events, there’s a place for you. Volunteers are vital to the smooth running of a nature reserve and most couldn’t survive without them. Volunteering is flexible, rewarding and fun, not to mention the impressed looks coming your way when you slip your volunteering habits into conversation. Once you’ve found your local nature reserve using the links above, pop in or check on their website to see what volunteering opportunities they have.

Flowers in Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire

Flowers in Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire

Community projects

Does your village always have pretty displays of flowers in the spring time? Who put them there? Most likely there will be a group in your local area who organise things like this, so why not get involved? Or if you think your local area is lacking in the nature department, why not organise something yourself? It doesn’t have to be expensive, and if you get a good group together, it doesn’t need to be time consuming either because you can share the workload. There are lots of different funding options to start your own community gardening project, check out this list here for some ideas. You can be as creative as you like, why not plant up some wildflowers, start an allotment or adorn trees with nesting boxes? The possibilities are endless!

We hope that’s given you some food for thought and inspired you to expand your wildlife warrior efforts even further than your back garden. We love to hear your stories and see your pictures so don’t forget to email us at mysquaremetre@live.co.uk with any pictures or stories you have.


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Thank-you Wildlife Warriors

Our campaign has been running for almost two months now and we’ve had a great reaction. The importance of helping to conserve the wildlife in your garden cannot be underestimated because as you may have noticed, the ecosystem is a handy little thing and helping just one species in your garden has a knock on effect to all sorts of other wildlife.

For example, by providing sugar syrup, (as mentioned here) you are energising bees and butterflies which in turn pollinates flowers, which means even more flowers and plants will grow, which produces more oxygen, which means you and I have cleaner air to breath. Phew! I think we all get the picture now; even the tiniest bit of wildlife conservation is invaluable and you should be extremely proud of yourself for taking action.

You’ve sent in some fabulous pictures of your efforts to conserve the wildlife in your garden, we love getting these photos and would like to share them with you all on the blog to see the difference you guys are making.

 


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Grow Your Own Garlic

Garlic is used in almost any recipe you find, not only is it tasty, it’s also great for boosting your immune system! Our very own Sunny Feng has put together a tutorial teaching you how to grow your  own garlic using just water. This is  a widely used technique in China  and we can see why; it’s easy, it’s cheap and you can pop your garlic plants on your kitchen window sill and grab a clove or two whenever you’re cooking.

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Garlic plants would be a fantastic addition to your square metre and you’ll save a few pennies in the process – just one garlic clove will grow into a whole bulb of garlic! So if you like a bit of flavour in your cooking, or just want to ward off vampires, then click the link at the bottom of the page to download Sunny’s tutorial.

Sunny's Garlic 2

Growing Garlic in Water Thumbnail

 

 

 

We would love to see how you get on with your garlic cloves, email us your pictures to mysquaremetre@live.co.uk or click here to find us on social media – we may even feature your pictures on the blog!

 

 

 

Click this link for your garlic growing tutorial!

Growing Garlic in Water


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Surprise Gardening

Spring is just around the corner and the tell tale signs are here to prove it; cheery Daffodils on the roadside, lambs playing in the fields and sunny blue skies have certainly got the team here at My Square Metre HQ excited for the season ahead! With all of this going on outdoors, it sure does seem a shame having to traipse back into offices and classrooms, so we came up with a plan to bring the outside in at Teesside University.

We may not have been able to manage lambs (cute but messy) but we did come up with a plan to sneak onto the 5th floor of Middlesbrough Tower, home of Teesside University’s School of Arts and Media, on a Sunday and adorn the place with lots of cheerful plants ready to brighten up everyones Monday morning.

If you’re looking for inspiration for a creative square metre then have a look here, we used ornaments, small vases and tea cups to create our display.

So was it a success? Take a look at the video below to see what everyone thought and a peek at the slide show to see what our display looked like.

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