Sunday, 3 March 2019

On broad beans and plastic pots

Yesterday was the allotment's turn for some attention before Storm Freya landed and made all outside work inadvisable for a couple of days.

Slightly cloudy but still unseasonably mild we popped up to deliver more card ready to lay as new beds and to plant out the first sowing of Aquadulce Claudia broad beans. These have been growing on in a covered propagator in the back garden for the last month or so. The aim was to get them growing just enough to make them unattractive for the mice and voles but not so big that they were leggy and hard to transplant. The plan seems to have worked and we ended up with about 20 healthy little plants that are now in their new home. We've covered them in an old plastic tunnel just to give them a bit of protection from the expected heavy rains and the pigeons/pheasants/deer etc that all like to nibble on fresh green growth.  The cardboard is for creating more potato beds - you can just see the first early bed in the second and third photo below - card on top of a roughly weeded bed with manure and compost on top in the no-dig style that works well for us.

Make do row spacer!

All planted out

Safe from the pigeons-we hope

Plastic pots ready for re-use

Eagle-eyed folk will notice plastic still being used here despite our low-impact ethos - all the pots and plastic tunnels we use are ones we have had for many years and will continue to use until they fall apart and then if necessary we'll buy new non-plastic or, in the case of pots, more likely use second-hand plastic ones. Despite the hype and all the adverts for brand new eco-friendly this, that and the other I think it's far better to use what you have and keep them out of land-fill for as long as possible rather than ditch all your perfectly serviceable long-life plastic and replace with brand new non-plastic items. However, a caveat if you will, if something is breaking up please make sure you gather as many of the bits as possible and put them in the bin rather than let them fall into the soil and create a hazard for the wildlife. If you are starting from scratch and really need to buy something, then yes please go for a more earth friendly option but bear in mind if the plastic pots are already out there, lurking in your shed or even your granny's shed then they will be out there for several human life-times so it's best to use, then hand down or pass along, things that already exist rather than use yet more of the Earth's precious resources creating new things. Oh and when it's empty the chicken manure tub you can see in the picture makes a great kitchen compost caddy as it's lightweight but strong and the lid seals nice and tightly to keep any smells at bay...

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