Plastic Free July: Tips for Sustainable Gardening

With Plastic Free July in progress, gardener and author Louise Boland suggests practical steps for reducing plastic use in garden practices.

Boland, who wrote “The Plastic-Free Gardener,” recommends simple yet effective measures such as growing plants from seeds instead of buying mature ones, composting, and making leaf mold. She emphasizes avoiding products packaged in plastic.

For gardening accessories, bamboo pots and seed trays are favored since they biodegrade over time. Bamboo gardening gloves, if free of plastic resins, are also a good alternative. Hemp pots for tomatoes and potatoes can be reused and composted, though they need frequent watering. Coir and wool pots are natural substitutes for plastic ones, promoting better root growth due to bottom-up watering.

In terms of plant supports, exchanging plastic netting for jute, and using cotton instead of plastic cable ties contribute to sustainability. Jute string and natural rubber ties are effective replacements.

To suppress weeds without plastic membranes, alternatives like cardboard or horticultural wool fleece can be used. Routine weeding, especially in the spring, remains crucial for garden upkeep.

These practical suggestions intend to balance reducing plastic usage while maintaining a functional garden space during Plastic Free July and beyond.