Friends! Last year saw a wild uptick in the number of regular folks like us who wanted to garden. Maybe you got seeds & started seedlings at home and then put your little green friends into their own gardens come May. Maybe you dug up some of your lawn for that. Maybe you went to a local nursery or outlet and bought seedlings to plant out. Maybe they went into a newly-assembled raised bed or container garden. Maybe you dug a hole and planted a new fruit tree or a shade tree. This is all in all, an amazing and great shift: part of where we need to be going as planetary inhabitants. There are a few lessons learned though from watching that big gardening boom...and the Fall and Winter aftermath of it all. And so, happily, there are some adjustments that can be made this season. Small adjustments we all can make, with cumulative positive impact.
It's about plastic. Sigh
Each of us on the TASC team all worked in commercial greenhouses and taken part in on-going plant research in some form or other: field trials or laboratory-growing.
You can't help but notice that growing flowers, herbs, trees, grass, vegetables is exceptionally plastic-intensive. Mountains of every size plastic pot imaginable inside every Walmart, Hardware Store and Garden Centre in North America. Towers of seed trays and small "in-home" greenhouse kits. Skyscrapers of potting soil, sheep manure, peat moss, triple-mix have appeared outside every Zehr's, Canadian Tire, and Nursery, each one is a high quality plastic bag one rip away from the landfill. Here's an insider secret: You don't need any of those new, often expensive items to have a successful growing season. You need a container + seeds + soil. We'll talk about the last two next time. For today, let's focus on the containers. You can start seeds in just about any plastic or paper "vessel" that would otherwise go into the garbage (recycling!): a cut-open pop bottle, an empty peanut-butter jar, egg cartons, Tim Horton's cups, even coffee bean bags, which are strong, durable and often lined with a waxy water-resistant paper.