Autumn is well and truly here! Soaking up the rich and vibrant colours of autumn leaves is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable parts of the season. As the days grow shorter and the air becomes crisp, we begin to spend more time inside again, and with that comes adapting our habits. We can certainly be eco-conscious in our choices and the activities we partake in at these times, so if you are looking for inspiration, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some ideas to try for an eco-friendly autumn!
Try your hand at some no-waste crafts
The vast array of colourful organic materials available this season are perfect for decorating the house and fun projects for kids! Going for a walk in nature is a great way to appreciate the beauty around you, as well as being an opportunity to gather natural materials that can be used to craft wreaths or centrepieces for your table. Why not take it a step further and collect any rubbish you see while you’re out?
For candle lovers, autumn and winter months are our time to shine! The sweet scent of apple, cinnamon, and clove is comforting and homely on colder days. Thankfully, if you’re not into candles, there are still ways to fill your home with these scents to enjoy the cosiness of autumn. For a short lasting burst of fragrance, cloves, citrus fruit, cinnamon sticks and cloves can be boiled in water. If you want a longer lasting craft, try your hand at making Clove Pomanders, apples or oranges studded with cloves that can be left in the house to release a lovely fragrant scent.
Tip: Roll your apple or orange in allspice and leave it to dry in the spices for a few days to make it last even longer!
Get on board with local, seasonal produce
Why not check out what your local farmer’s market has to offer? Buying locally grown produce is kinder to the planet by cutting down on the transport footprint and is healthier for us too! Food that grows and ripens during its natural season is more nutritious and tends to taste even better. Investing money in local producers serves the community and the environment. Some fruits and vegetables that are in season and cheap this season are apples, grapes, cantaloupes, tomatoes, pumpkins, butternut squash, beetroot, swiss chard, aubergine, cauliflower, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
Autumn is soup season, so make sure to save up your veg scrap to make your own vegetable stock. Scraps such as onion skins, carrot peel, potato peel, and celery stems are among the ingredients that can be used to make a tasty and nutritious stock as a base for your soups. Look for recipes that centre your fresh produce to make it the star of the dish and to get the most out of those lovely farm fresh flavours!
Make the most of your garden
With all the fallen leaves on garden floors and leftover supplies from nature-based craft projects, as well as peels from the fruit and vegetables used for warming soups and pies, autumn is a great time to get involved in composting.
Successful composting can be achieved by maintaining a balance of about two thirds carbon (brown) materials to one third nitrogen (green) materials. Autumn is an ideal time to source carbon materials for your compost, such as leaves, dried garden waste, straw, vines, which can be added along with things such as shredded paper and sawdust.
Other gardening projects for this time of year can include setting up homes for wildlife in your garden, such as insect hotels and houses for hedgehogs, providing various types of bird feed in a few different locations, and installing rain tanks to prepare for the upcoming rains.
Counteract indoor air pollution with house plants
Keeping house plants is a great way to improve air quality in your home, and for those of us with gardens, bringing in the plants that aren’t as well suited to harsh weather will add some life to the home! Why not try growing some herbs indoors to add to autumn cooking!
Not green thumbed? No problem! The following plants are great for beginners or those who seem to have bad luck keeping plants alive: Aloe vera, donkey’s tail plant, pothos, cast iron plant, jade plant, snake plant, and peace lily.
For animal lovers, some indoors plants that are pet safe and good at improving your air quality include the spider plant, snake plant, rubber plant, bamboo palm, chinese money plant, Gerbera dais, prayer plant, and boston fern.
Tip: If you have a cat that likes to eat some of the plants you keep indoors, try growing cat grass for your feline friend as it is safe, tasty and enriching for them, and will help keep your other plants untouched!