With fingers and green thumbs crossed, many gardeners are hoping spring may finally have sprung. Seeds are being sown indoors and out, and favourite varieties were scooped up at last weekend’s Seedy Saturday event at Powell River Recreation Complex. As we think about growing our greens, we can also incorporate doing it in a “greener” fashion.
Here are some seeds we want to plant in your mind, when it comes to alternatives for seeding trays and pots. Before buying new, scan your storage for used ones and ask friends, neighbours, and even nurseries, if they have excess of what you are looking for.
There are also a ton of creative ways to upcycle items from your recycling box into seed trays. How about making small, fully compostable paper pots out of folded newspaper or toilet paper rolls? Paper egg cartons work great for small seedlings, and their roots needn’t be disturbed, as you can transfer them directly into the soil.
Plastic recycling also comes in handy; there is finally a use for all those K-cups from your office. Larger seedlings can be transferred to self-watering systems made from bottles cut in half with the top half inverted. The only limit is your imagination.
Compost can be made at home and outcompete any store-bought fertilizers. Open-sourced plans are available for converting a freezer into a rodent-proof, hot composter (at letstalktrash.ca). Bokashi is a great indoor alternative, and systems can be created at home with old buckets and some thrifty uses of bacterially-rich food waste, such as rice water, kombucha mothers, and yogurt whey, or purchased as kits at Mother Nature.
Or, how about getting 1,000 pets to munch on your kitchen scraps? Worm bins are fun to create and maintain as a family. Get your worms from Carol Engram at 604.489.3176. If you want to go ultra simple, get ahold of a few pallets and make a three-sided box to collect yard waste and non-attractant kitchen scraps.
For the crafty, make biochar, an incredible soil amendment that resembles charcoal; it could be a great early spring project. And don’t forget that a liquid fertilizer can be made from a combination of common “weeds” like dandelion, comfrey, along with kelp and animal manures or castings.
When composting at home, or elsewhere, remember to keep all plastics out of the soil, including food labels, biodegradable or compostable plastic bags and other products, unless you are planning on growing plastic veggies and flowers.
Speaking of plastic, there are effective alternatives to using plastic in the garden that will help keep microplastics out of your soil. Choose to collect yard waste in paper bags. Replace plastic mulch around plants with newspaper, cardboard or a thick bed of leaves.
If a greenhouse is on your list, choose upcycled building materials such as window frames, old glazed doors, old bricks, hay bales, or even glass or plastic bottles.
Have fun in the thawing soils this spring.
Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program.