Over the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in the availability of biodegradable plant pots, and I’m finding them everywhere from my beloved Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens (which sells locally grown, organic veggie seedlings and THE most gorgeous annuals and perennials) to the embarrassed-that-I-shop-there-occasionally Home Depot. If you have a green thumb, and want to avoid a heap of plastic where your garden is supposed to be, read on to check out some of the biodegradable pots that are available; and be sure to tell give your local nursery a thumbs-up if you notice they are using some of these options (consumer praise – and criticism – works!)
Photo © Steven Depolo
I don’t know about you, but after seeing first-hand the plastic that washes up on beaches on recent trips to Costa Rica and Aruba, one too many pictures of plastic found in bird bellies, and, oh yeah, the GIANT Pacific Garbage Gyre (actually there is a plastic gyre in every major ocean now), I have made it a personal goal to use as little plastic as humanly possible — from buying my bath products in bulk, to forgoing plastic wrap in my kitchen. (Check out Inhabitat blogger Brit Liggett’s voyage to the South Sea to document the science behind ocean plastics pollution.)
I also compost, take public transportation, and grow a bunch of veggies every Summer. And the last couple years, my gardening side (which I do for mental health reasons as much as environmental ones) has come into conflict with my plastic-eschewing one. As a (lazy) gardener, you see, I usually buy small plants to pop in my well-composted beds as opposed to growing from seed. I don’t have great windows to start seeds in front of, and frankly, the extra steps involved in growing from seed are enough to keep me from planting at all. And in Connecticut, my short growing season means that if I wait until it’s safe to plant seeds outside, I won’t have veggies to enjoy until way late in the season.
But often, the baby cucumber, pepper, heirloom tomato, and eggplant seedlings come in plastic pots, which I’m able to recycle, but it seems like such a waste to introduce plastic into the whole cycle, especially since there are such great alternatives.