Tackling our environmental impact

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Tracey Jones from the Stacey Centre gives some tips on how people can be more environmentally-friendly

The Stacey Community Orchard entered the Portsmouth in Bloom competition earlier in the year.

We were very pleased to be awarded gold for the Sustainable Garden category.

We also won an award for our water saving devices and were given a cash prize from Portsmouth Water which we will put to very good use!

Sustainability is all about how we live our lives and the environmental impact of what we do.

This can include our food, clothing, energy, transport and building materials. The sustainable things we have in our orchard include:

1. Our fruit trees. Trees help to prevent climate change. Excess carbon dioxide(co2) is building up in our atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Trees absorb this and store it while releasing oxygen. Even if you only plant one small tree it can help our environment.

2. Growing vegetables. If we all grew some of our own food less would need to be imported from other countries which means less transport pollution.

3. Compost bins. If we make our own compost it can reduce the need to buy peat based compost. The cutting of peat involves the destruction of valuable habitats for wildlife.

4. Growing Organically. Pesticides can be very harmful to our environment and wildlife. We don’t need to use pesticides and artificial fertilisers, there are other environmentally friendly alternatives.

5. Wildlife friendly plants. We grow a variety of herbs and wildflowers, this means we attract lots of beneficial bugs such as bees, ladybirds and hoverflies. Four really good plants for bees are lavender, echiums, sedum and borage. We also have wildlife areas made up of logs.

6. Water Butts. We have three very large water butts. These are attached to our shed to collect the rainwater.

Anyone is welcome to visit us and get advice on any of the above or just come and relax in the orchard.

We have a volunteer group which meets on Wednesday mornings 10am till 1pm.

We are having a Halloween event on Wednesday, October 28 10.30am-1.30pm.

There will be pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, sowing winter vegetables and making miniature gardens.

Some of these activities will be taking place outside so please come prepared and please feel free to come in fancy dress!!

The Stacey centre is on Walsall Road, PO3 6DN. For more information about any of the above please either drop in or call (023) 9261 7890.