Mini challenge 2 - reducing plastic

Anita Kundu is talking about growing Beans, Parsnip, Peas, Something else from Auckland

Just starting off...

When I saw the theme for mini challenge two, my heart sank.  I have to be honest.  I have a LOT of plastic in the garden – green trellis for growing peas and beans, hoops for the strawberries, stakes, milk bottles which I use as cloches, punnets, pots, seed raising trays, plastic containers, Sistema crates as mini greenhouses, propagators, bulb baskets for planting bulbs and spray bottles.  Not to mention that all of my fertilisers and garden sprays come in plastic packets, containers and bottles!  However, looking around, I have incorporated some alternatives to plastic in our garden over time.  Things are never quite as bad as they seem!  This challenge made me realise that I need to reduce the amount of plastic in the garden and has given me the impetus for change.  Here are some of my ideas:

·         Use wine barrels as outdoor containers instead of plastic pots.  These are great for growing dwarf fruit trees.  We have a “Blush Babe” apple tree in one, and a couple of Flying Dragon citrus in some others.   Just be sure to drill holes at the bottom for drainage 

·         Use peat pots, toilet rolls and egg cartons for raising seedlings in instead of plastic punnets (see picture of my Hybrid Crown Pumpkin seeds from Yates, which are currently on my heat pad).  I like using both the lid as well as the part for the eggs

·         Use seed tape instead of sowing seeds in punnets where possible.  This dispenses (excuse the pun) with the need to sow seeds in punnets and is biodegradable, making it better for the environment.  It also saves time transplanting seedlings.  I recommend the carrot seed tape “Baby” from Yates, which I sow every spring

·         Instead of using plastic trellis for climbing crops such as peas and beans, use obelisks made of bamboo or metal.  Wire mesh can also be used to create a secure frame.  Another idea is to put up a wooden or metal arch, which provides a focal point in the garden

·         Replace plastic stakes with wooden and bamboo stakes for plant support.  I’ve found wooden stakes to be sturdier for roses and fruit trees.  I place one on either side of the plant and secure them with old stocking as a tie

·         Use ice block sticks for plant labels, which you can find at a $2 shop

·         Old glass bottles (eg ginger beer) can make a quaint vase for flowers from the garden

·         Use string for securing plants to stakes instead of plastic ties

·         Use hanging baskets instead of plastic containers for growing flowers, veggies and herbs.  Even if you don’t hang them, they will look nice on the ground.  We have petunias, polyanthus and pansies in ours at the moment.  In a few weeks, I’m going to plant some tumbling tomatoes in a few more hanging baskets

·         Make a vertical garden using a wooden pallet, instead of multiple plastic pots

·         Instead of plastic garden chairs, find a nice place for a wooden bench so you can pause for a moment and relax in your garden

·         Use cardboard boxes and old tins for storage in your garden shed instead of plastic bags, crates and containers

·         Swap plastic containers for wooden planters

·         If you need to purchase seedlings, try to get them from Awapuni, who wrap them in bundles of newspaper rather than using plastic punnets

·         Look into getting a paper pot maker to raise seedlings in instead of using plastic punnets (Egmont Seeds sell them)