Bio-degradable Pots

I can be incredibly naive at times.  It was ok, I’m guessing, to believe at the age of five that when someone asked you if you were full up, I visualised myself as a hollow vessel filling from my feet to the top of my head.  I am slightly more embarrassed to admit that it was only a year ago I discovered that post boxes weren’t similarly hollow, but contained within them a more boring grey metal box.  (They have tummies?) 

I was reminded of my naivety when discussing with a friend all the plastic pots I had collected from garden centres.  Why can’t they be put with the rest of the plastic recycling?  Why can’t garden centres take them back and use them again?  Well, she told me, because the pots need to be of a uniform rigidity and size for the machines to fill them.  It would be a huge and costly undertaking for the producers to sort and reuse.  Machines?!!!  There was I thinking there were dedicated nursery folk up and down our green isle filling and planting by hand.  (Please, there is no need to leave comments telling me how stupid I am. Doh!)  


It does pain me to think that the gardening industry can be far from sustainable in its practices.     Anyway I have washed out all my existing pots and have sworn to put them to good use.  As you can see I have also been recycling stuff to make my own bio-degradable pots for veg seedlings.  Loo roll inners are, of course, great for peas and beans, and I know people who like to train carrots in them because they can transplant them in the inners without risk of attracting carrot-fly.  I was delighted to get my hands on one of these paper potters, I borrowed mine from a toy library (one of the advantages of entertaining small people!) There’s a bit of a knack to making them, but they do seem sturdy enough to support small seedlings long enough until they can be planted out.  I’m definitely going to use mine for tomato and basil seedlings.

This is great for growing your own seeds, but what about buying mature plants?  How can you guarantee doing this doesn’t impact negatively on resources?  I was toying with the idea of stocking our garden with plants grown from seeds, cuttings and divisions when The Man from Salford got there before me and declared we should only have plants we’ve propagated ourselves.  Coming from someone who has always professed to wanting nothing more than a paved garden full of motorbikes I was pleasantly surprised and now feel I definitely have to take up this gauntlet.  I don’t know if buying bare-rooted stock counts, but I don’t see how else we’re going to get fruit trees, so that’s a concession I’m going to make.  Similarly, I do not think I can be held to account should friends and family irresponsibly decide to buy, as presents for me, large, mature specimens in 20ltr pots.  Hint! 

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