There's plastic everywhere we look. As someone trying to sew and sell alternatives to plastic, I find it impressive how much plastic still ends up in my everyday life. One place that seems counter-intuitive is in my organic garden.
For whatever reason, so many crafty types also seem to be gardeners. Maybe the appreciation for handmade spills over into the kitchen as an overarching back-to-basics movement. Or maybe artisans just like to eat good food.
My gardening itch began as a child helping in the family garden growing more tomatoes than we could possibly eat. As I grew older and became more of a foodie, famer's markets were the best place to buy GOOD food. I started growing some vegetables of my own about 10 years ago and have expanded my garden more each year since.
A book that forever changed the way I see food and gardening is Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. What was I doing using Miracle Gro on my tomatoes?!?!?! Never again. Not only do I grow as much food as I can organically, but I preserve whatever we don't eat right at harvest time, belong to a CSA program at the wonderful Simmons Organic Farm here on Aquidneck Island, I frequent the farmer's markets, and while we don't eat exclusively local and seasonal (I buy bananas year round and blueberries in February to round out our diet), we do immerse ourselves in whatever is fresh right-this-very-moment.
So why would I use plastic to garden? Frankly, it's nearly unavoidable. Even the organic farms use plastic sheeting for weed control. The scene below was an eye opener for me when starting seeds this past March.
Seed starting trays made of plastic and Styrofoam. They are used year after year and even several times through the growing season, but they're still plastic.
Plastic spray bottle for getting the starting mix damp.
Plastic shovel to fill the trays.
Gallon jug for filling the water reservoirs of the seed trays.
Plastic-coated warming mat to help germination in the cool basement.
Plastic bag holding the seed starting mix.
Ziplock bag holding dried lavender from last year's garden.
Plastic sleeves for some seeds (most are paper envelopes, but many growers are now packaging seeds in plastic zip top envelopes).
How do we minimize the plastic in organic gardening?? I'm not quite sure, but I'm paying closer attention to future garden-related purchases. Do you have any suggestions?
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.