January 12, 2023
Happy 2023. January is a time for new beginnings, and it presents opportunities for sustainable changes in the garden and landscape. I am making a few gardening resolutions and you are welcome to join in along with me. My city has been piloting a successful compost waste pickup program. I am thrilled to bring my kitchen waste for weekly curbside pickup, but I also miss feeding my own compost pile. For 2023 I am going to keep my compost pile more active so I can use finished compost as a soil amendment for my landscape plants. Compost increases organic material in our sandy soils which improves the soil's capacity to retain water and nutrients.
I am planning on saving more seeds and propagating more plant cuttings so I can buy fewer plants and share more of my garden with friends and neighbors. Often when you share plants with neighbors and fellow gardening enthusiasts, they quickly become friends. Even if people claim that they aren't gardeners you can spark a little horticultural interest in them with a shared easy-care, beautiful plant.
My final resolution is one that is a little more serious to me. When I look in my garden shed I am struck by how much plastic I possess in the name of gardening. I am going to reduce the amount of plastic in my gardening efforts in 2023. Of course, I don't have plastic plants, but I do have a huge pile of plastic nursery pots, trays, and liners that needs to be reduced.
In fact, plastic plays a huge role in nursery production, from seed trays to irrigation hoses and of course the pots. Most of this material ends up in landfills where it can take at least 500 years to break down. Municipalities rarely take plastic pots for recycling so we are stuck with finding a way to deal with them. Reusing is the best way to handle them, but finding a nursery or garden center to take them back for reuse is challenging. I have found a few spots by asking my nurserymen and local Master Gardener Volunteers if they will take them. When buying containers there are other options like metal, ceramic, and coir. I plan on using more of these types of pots and just not bringing the plastic into the garden if at all possible.
The top six ways to avoid plastic waste in the garden:
- Start plants from seeds or cuttings and use paper or recycled containers to grow the plant.
- Reuse plastic pots whenever possible.
- Switch to wood or metal plant markers.
- Purchase soil and mulch in bulk.
- Use metal watering cans instead of plastic ones.
- Use reusable spray bottles for oil sprays and biorational pesticides.
I plan on implementing these methods to keep my 2023 an "unplastic" garden year. Join me if you can and have a happy and healthy 2023 filled with loads of flowers, fruits, and new growth.
-- Wendy Wilber