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De-Plasticize For a Healthy Garden

06.03.11 De-Plasticize For a Healthy Garden

organic garden

We are all excited about vegetable gardening here at MightyNest and feel our efforts to replace plastic in our homes with safer alternatives like glass, wood and stainless steel should also apply to the garden. We're still learning and would welcome any knowledge our readers would like to share in this area!

Planting an edible garden can be unbelievably rewarding but it also can feel quite daunting. There's a lot of work that goes into planning, the building of beds and planting of seedlings, not to mention the work to actually maintain a garden. So, of course you'd want to do it right and ultimately reap the benefits of a garden that flourishes! A garden grown organically without the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. However, some people still find the need to rely heavily on plastic while planting a garden. We know that plastics contain many chemicals, some of which are soluable in water and therefore able to leach out into the soil and contaminate the vegetables grown there. So it certainly seems like a good plan to avoid plastic as much as possible, right? Alternatives to plastic products in the garden keep questionable chemicals out of your soil and the possibility of toxins off of your food. Now that tastes better.

Here are a few ways to avoid plastics in your garden:

  • Choose something other than plastic coated wire equipment--this stretchy coating is usually made of vinyl (PVC) which is typically called the "poison plastic". Instead, build natural borders with stone, brick and wood.
  • Instead of a plastic trellis and netting, use sisal twine, naturally replenshing bamboo and wood for vine-growing vegetables.
  • Avoid garden hoses made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC),which use lead as a stabilizer. When water sits in a PVC hose, lead can leach into the water. Also the hoses sold as antimicrobial, moss-inhibiting, or Microban. These likely contain the dangerous chemical triclosan, an ingredient linked to hormone disruption, similar to BPA. Drinking water directly from PVC hoses is certainly to be avoided! Choose a nickel-plated lead-free/PVC free hose. Also try to store your hose in the shade, if possible.
  • Get creative with plant labels, using something other than the plastic ones. Wooden popsicle sticks? Stainless steel stakes?
  • For container gardening, use the gorgeous, un-glazed, trusty clay pots. The clay is porous and absorbs excess water into the walls of the pot. Another good choice are also biodegradeable pots.
  • Make your own compost with kitchen scraps. Collect ad store them for easy transport in this safe, non-toxic container: Stainless steel compost pail.
  • Reuse newspapers and eggshells for seedling pots.
  • Opt for natural gloves instead of ones made with vinyl. Hemp garden gloves are sturdy and practical and free of toxins!

Most importantly, ELIMINATE PVC in the garden.  If there are no plastic-free alternatives, at least avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products, which may contain lead, phthalates, and other unsafe chemicals.

Read our plastic guide in our LEARN section for more information on plastics. For more information on organic gardening, we like reading Rodale Organic Gardening news.

Do you have any tips for avoiding plastic or chemicals in your garden?

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