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  • Eleanor Owens

'The Plastics': The mean girls of gardening?

The use of plastic is a huge debate in gardening right now. Us gardeners create wonderful gardens for wildlife and grow our own vegetables to avoid buying too much plastic but we sow our seeds in plastic trays and buy plants in plastic pots? This should change!

Plastic has filled our oceans and landfills. It takes hundreds of years to break down and we use it for the convenience.


Module trays, flower pots, compost bags, seed trays, compost bins… the list continues. I’ve heard that Monty Don has commented on the over-use of plastics however, as he hasn’t mentioned any, here are some alternatives.


I won’t suggest using terracotta pots as they are expensive; they are also heavy; people with limited mobility need lighter materials that can be handled easily. On the other hand, they are worth the money if they are available to you.


  1. Flowerpots:

  • Make your own 9cm pots using a paper pot maker and newspaper

  • Recycle cardboard tubes from toilet/kitchen rolls

  • Buy biodegradable peat-free fibre pots

  • Buy The Hairy Pot Plant Company from local stockists, link here. Great company and great plants! They also sell hairy pots without plants in; look here!

  • Make your own using cement mix, vermiculite and coir. Blog to follow on this soon.


  1. Seed trays:

  • Biodegradable coir seed trays, available here.

  • Wooden seed trays


  1. Plant labels:

  • Try to use plant labels made of slate, bamboo, aluminium, copper or oak. Interestingly, pencil becomes permanent when used on aluminium.


  1. Compost:

  • Best peat-free compost I’ve ever used is Dalefoot; check it here. It does come in plastic bags but these can be used to make your own leaf mould compost.


  1. Compost bins:

  • Make your own using wooden stakes; hammer these into the ground and staple chicken wire to it to create a wire frame

  • Use old pallets for an entirely wooden bin

  • Reuse one-trip bulk bags


  1. Dibbers:

  • Wooden or metal dibbers are available to buy

  • You could whittle your own wooden one (be careful when using sharp knives)!


Thought of anything else? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram @eogardening

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