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Go ahead, admit it: We’ve all got one of those bags bulging with plastic or paper shopping bags. Over the years, I have amassed a sizable collection of both plastic and kraft paper shopping bags. But, I use them!
Whether I am bagging up cat litter in the bags from cereal boxes, using the plastic grocery sacks to contain and transport give-away plants or employing the paper ones to store dried herbs — I find them all useful. I even use the heavy plastic bags that contain potting soil or other garden supplies to line my compost area to help keep the roots of nearby Norway maples from sapping that supply of nutrients. And, while I understand the problems they do create, I am jealously hoarding my cache of all those bags, because I know their days are numbered.
Biodegradable pots are coming with Proven Winners’ new Eco+Grande that contain nutrients to help the plants grow once they and the pot are in the ground.
But, the disappearance of plastic grocery sacks from many of our favorite stores is not the only difference we gardeners will be experiencing in the days to come.
Millions of plastic nursery pots and six packs end up in landfills every year. Of course, many of us reuse and repurpose some of them. But, fact is those toxic plastics can sit for years in landfills, increasing pollution and harming local soils, eco systems and entire communities. In fact, it takes thousands of years for one plastic planter to break down and decompose all the way.
But, at least one of our major bedding and perennial plant and shrub producers is on the case when it comes to plastic pots. Proven Winners is introducing an “Eco+Grande container. This unique pot is compostable; 100 percent plant product. This innovative new pot has “plant nutrients built into the walls of the pot. That means nutrients are supplied to the plant, directly from its container.
Pull tabs at the bottom edges of the pots can be removed to “facilitate strong root development,” and then the pot can either be removed or planted directly into the soil. Proven Winners says over time the containers “break down and become inert organic compounds and they contain no micro-plastics or additional waste by-products.”
Siam Edible Potted Tomato Kitchen Minis PAS Kieft 2021, Hybrid #DGT13372 Setting, Container, Seed 06.12.19 Venhuizen, Mark Widhalm KitchenMiniSiam_02.JPG TOM19-25645.JPG Photo by PanAmerican Seed.
No space to garden? No problem. Plant developers caught on to the fact a lot of folks want to grow their own foods. They want to experience the independence of gardening and be able to produce organically-grown vegetables for themselves. PanAmerican Seed developed a group of plants — Kitchen Minis — which includes vegetable plants to answer that need to grow. Look for the Sian F1 Tomato, developed to grow and be harvested from inside on a sunny kitchen window, counter or outside on a patio table. Also, in the new collection are pepper varieties.
Last summer, my tomato plants went wild and nearly took over an adjacent bed. The flimsy wire tomato “cages” that seemed so right at the beginning of the season when those seedling plants went into the ground, ended up crashing during a summer rainstorm. I vowed that next time would be different. I’d erect something sturdy right off. It looks as if the answer to my issue has come along. A company called Thriving Design has a line of strong and reusable “C-Bite” garden clips that can transform standard garden stakes into sturdy plant supports. They can be used to construct a variety of plant support systems that can be easily and quickly dismantled for storage at the end of the season. No more struggling with and storing those flimsy and unwieldy tomato cages. (thrivingdesigns.com)
Avoid those little “garden injuries” like scrapes and pokes with these easy to use “Farmers Defense” sleeves which also provide SP 50+ sun protection. Photo by Farmers Defense.
And now, after fall cleanup is done, my arms are mostly healed from all the scrapes and bruises from getting poked with sticks or scraped with thorns. Those “garden injuries” are another thing I have promised myself I will avoid next time. I see a pair of Farmers Defense sleeves in my future. The poly-spandex fabric-blend sleeves are made to protect gardeners and farmers as they work. They also protect from plant irritation or rashes, block harmful UV rays with UPF 50+ protection, and are sweat wicking and cooling.
These new products are creative approaches and helpful solutions for issues important to anyone who gardens. Not simply gimmicks or useless do-dads, they represent thoughtful additions to our arsenal of gardening supplies. And, just in case you needed a nudge, any of these items would make great holiday gifts for your favorite gardener.
Lynette L. Walther is the GardenComm Gold medal winner for writing and a five-time recipient of the GardenComm Silver Medal of Achievement, the National Garden Bureau’s Exemplary Journalism Award. She is a member of GardenComm and the National Garden Bureau. Her gardens are in Camden.
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