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Garden index

Gardening is such a joy. Even more so when it’s plastic free

Don’t have a garden? Nothing to stop you from growing some herbs even a few lettuces on your window sill. Don’t have a window sill? We have found some seed grenades for that derelict bit of land by the canal that has been bugging you for ages.

So no more excuses – come and hang out in our virtual potting shed for a while.

Garden index

Gardening is such a joy. Even more so when it's plastic free Don't have a garden? Nothing to stop you ...
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Seeds in a clay grenade!

Flower Grenades throw a seed bomb for an explosion of flowers in derelict places Take action in the green revolution ...
Read More

Seed – harvested

This one means planning ahead and the packaging may not be plastic free - you will have to check with ...
Read More

Seeds

It is hard to find plastic free seeds. They are usually sold in waterproof plastic lined foil or plastic lined ...
Read More

Seed Compost from Autumn Leaves

Want to make your own plastic-free compost for growing seeds in? Using only this years fallen leaves? OK its not ...
Read More

Pet bowls biodegradable

For the plastic free pooch in your life, a biodegradable plastic food bowl! "Eco-friendly and functional, Becothings are tough and ...
Read More

Dog poop bags and composting waste

This is something I really hate …. plastic bags of dog @*%! hanging from the bushes. But then plastic bags ...
Read More

Secateurs

The  cutters of I use are from Joseph Bently I bought this set from TK Max– steel and wood tools with minimal ...
Read More

Bird Food

Feeding the birds can be a plasticky business but not for us happy Huddersfield folk. Up at Earnshaws saw mill, ...
Read More

Watering Cans for young and old (and rich)

Take a look at this beauty - my  galvanised watering can with removable brass rose. Looks good and lasts forever ...
Read More

Plant Labels

Busy digging over the garden and planting up next years crop in the allotment and I find myself: Turning over ...
Read More

Seed pots homemade

Flimsy plastic seedling trays are an abomination. A couple of uses and the are fit for the bin. What a ...
Read More

Plant Pots Compostable

Took this form a very interesting article here. I will be looking into them more closely in the future Low-‘e’ ...
Read More

Buy

One of the real joys of buying #plasticfree is sourcing the stuff in local shops. The excitement when you see milk in glass bottle in the newsagents is beyond words.

However sometime you have to buy on line. Most of the products featured have an online option to buy. Though we try to link with business we know we cannot always do this. Then we try to find a similar product on Amazon.

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.

Apollo Gardening 9L Traditional Galvanised Metal Watering Can 5L GALVANISED WATERING CAN. 5 LITRE CAPACITY. COMES WITH ROSE. TWO HANDLES. NEW
Apollo Gardening 9L Traditional Galvanised …
£13.75
5L GALVANISED WATERING CAN. 5 LITRE CAPACIT…
£10.70
Haws Metal Watering Can Rose with Screw Thread Haws No 4 Brass Watering Can Rose Garden Angels Children's Watering Can Pink or Blue Retro Metal Can Fast Postage
Haws Metal Watering Can Rose with Screw Thr…
£6.56
Haws No 4 Brass Watering Can Rose
£12.15
Garden Angels Children’s Watering Can Pink …
£7.55
Tongue Depressor, 6-inch, 11/16 No Splinter, Birch, NonSterile (Pack of 100) Karter Scientific 212T2 Paper Pot Maker & Accessories Gift Set - Great Gardeners Gift Giant Paper Potter
Tongue Depressor, 6-inch, 11/16 No Splinter…
£4.99
Paper Pot Maker & Accessories Gift Set …
£11.99
Giant Paper Potter
£11.00
Eco-Bags Products, Produce & Bulk Bags, 3 Bags Spear & Jackson Traditional Children's Spade Garden angels Carbon steel garden hand trowel
Eco-Bags Products, Produce & Bulk Bags,…
£6.07
Spear & Jackson Traditional Children’s …
£15.49
Garden angels Carbon steel garden hand trowel
£5.25
Garden Angels 3 Piece Children\'s Hand Tool Set Seed Pantry Chilli Seeds Starter Pack Seed Trays - Set of 3 Traditional Quality Wooden Seedling Trays - Ideal Gardening Gift
Garden Angels 3 Piece Children\’s Hand Tool… Seed Pantry Chilli Seeds Starter Pack
£24.99
Almost plastic free chills
Seed Trays – Set of 3 Traditional Quality W…
£13.61
Garden XP Biodegradable Flower Pots Blackwall Twin Pack Bokashi Bin Fair Trade Coir Compost Block
Garden XP Biodegradable Flower Pots
£6.23
Blackwall Twin Pack Bokashi Bin
£36.00
Fair Trade Coir Compost Block
£
Draper 45317 210 mm Bypass-Pattern Secateurs with Wooden Handles Bypass secateurs with ash wood handles 8" PROFESSIONAL STAINLESS STEEL,WOODEN HANDLE SECATEUR/PRUINER,CURVED BLADE
Draper 45317 210 mm Bypass-Pattern Secateur…
£13.35
Bypass secateurs with ash wood handles
£13.93
8″ PROFESSIONAL STAINLESS STEEL,WOODEN HAND…
£8.99
Pruning Shears - Titanium Bypass Hand Pruners - Ideal Garden Shears & Clippers for Trimming Branches, Hedges, Orchards, Bushes & General Tree Trimmer - All Metal Forged Professional Secateurs - Quality Ergonomic Gardening Tools Guaranteed. Razorsharp Professional 6959BS Spear and Jackson Heavy Duty Bypass Secateurs with Ergonomic Handles ORGANIC PLANT FOOD MAKER In Stainless Steel by Burgon and Ball
Pruning Shears – Titanium Bypass Hand Prune…
£106.72
Razorsharp Professional 6959BS Spear and Ja…
£25.99
ORGANIC PLANT FOOD MAKER In Stainless Steel…
£30.00
Wildflower Seed Balls - Oxeye Daisy Wildflower Seed Balls - Poppy Wildflower Seed Balls - Bee Mix
Wildflower Seed Balls – Oxeye Daisy
£4.99
Wildflower Seed Balls – Poppy
£4.99
Wildflower Seed Balls – Bee Mix
£4.99
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Seed – harvested

This one means planning ahead and the packaging may not be plastic free – you will have to check with the company BUT it means years and years of plastic free seed ahead of you. Basically you grow the plant, harvest some but let others go to seed. You then collect the seeds, store them then use them again next year to grow more food, more seed! How good is that?

You can buy real seeds from this company. They have a great selection including veges, herbs and flowers.

The following bits of info were copied directly from their website real seeds

Seed You Can Save Yourself

One of the main aims of the company – written into its deeds – is to educate and encourage home seed saving. All our varieties are real, open-pollinated seed (non-hybrid), so you can save your own seed for the future, using instructions we supply. We have written freely-copyable seed-saving guides, and we sell a more detailed seed-saving book at a subsidised price. There’s really no need to buy new seed every year – you can just save your own.

Hybrid (“F1”) seed is the result of a cross between two different , but heavily inbred parents. Seed you save from these plants will either be sterile or a give a whole mix of shapes and types, usually producing a poor crop.

Only the seed company knows what the parents are, thus only they can produce that particular variety. If you want to grow it, you have no other source – good for the seed companies but not for you! Small growers should be able to keep their own seeds, selecting each year the best plants most suitable for their own land and conditions.

Yes, there are a few exceptions, but in general, the hybrid seed business has been a public relations victory over the small grower. For example, you will soon see more and more hybrid leek seed offered to you. This is because the supermarkets have set incredibly rigid limits on leek size, and the only way to achieve this is through hybridising two inbred varieties, so all leek seed production is switching to hybrids.

You will be told that these new leeks are ‘more uniform’, ‘straighter’ and so on. But what about flavour and adaptability? People seem to forget that we want to eat & enjoy these things – food is not just a commodity!

Despite common urban myths, there is no magic about hybrids. So-called “hybrid vigour” is the simple fact that good hybrid seed is better than bad real seed, and that sadly much of the real seed you get now has been badly maintained. But good real seed – which admittedly requires time, care and patience to produce and maintain – must, by virtue of the genetics of these things, be just as good, and in fact much more adaptable to different soils.

The key here is that it takes less manpower to make the hybrid seed, so the wholesale seed growers are much happier to let the old varieties fade away.

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Seeds

It is hard to find plastic free seeds. They are usually sold in waterproof plastic lined foil or plastic lined paper sachets. It’s not much but it is there. If you want to be a real purist you can try these.

Seedcell 

“The SEEDCELL is a waste free seed package alternative, that acts as a seed delivery system designed to have both functional and environmental benefits. The paper pulp based seed wheel snaps from the main backing card and is broken up into individual pods which are pushed into the ground without the need for use of tools, the shape acts as a dibber and helps to push through the lose earth or soil.

The pods absorb water and deliver it straight to the seed without drowning it, and uses less water than conventional methods of growing from seed. The warm and moist environment helps to aide root growth and helps the seed to break through the pod once the pod begins to decompose.The paper pulp is 100% recycled and the whole product is biodegradable and 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly.”

Plastic free seed is  good. As yet the range is rather limited – mostly herbs but it  would make a nice gift.

you can buy them here.

Seeds In Tins

You can get these wildflower seeds in tins though the tins will almost certainly be lined with epoxy resin.

These are sold on Amazon

Wildflower Seed Balls - Oxeye Daisy Wildflower Seed Balls - Poppy Wildflower Seed Balls - Bee Mix
Wildflower Seed Balls – Oxeye Daisy
£4.99
Wildflower Seed Balls – Poppy
£4.99
Wildflower Seed Balls – Bee Mix
£4.99

Harvest

You can harvest your own seed. You can find out more here.

The Plastic Free Garden

You can find other plastic free garden products here.

Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue. of independent sellers operating through Amazon.

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead…..

If you do decide to buy through Amazon we do get an affiliation fee, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

 

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Seed Compost from Autumn Leaves

Want to make your own plastic-free compost for growing seeds in? Using only this years fallen leaves?

OK its not a quick process, you are planning 2 years ahead here, but it is free – cash free as well as plastic free.

Gather up the  fallen leaves and put them in a plastic bag and leave them for 2 years.

I have also used a reusable bucket.

Keep them dark and dry for a while

The result is a fine crumbly mould that can be used for your seedlings. Really it’s as simple as that – but for those of you who like know more there are detailed instructions here and here

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Pet bowls biodegradable

For the plastic free pooch in your life, a biodegradable plastic food bowl!

becobowl

“Eco-friendly and functional, Becothings are tough and durable. The Becobowl is dishwasher safe and will last for years in the home – when you are done, simply drill a few holes in the bottom and bury it in a flowerbed! Because Becothings are made from waste waste rice husks and sustainably grown bamboo, land is not being taken away from food production to make them (phew!). They are made from 80% plant material and the rest is amino-acid resin – they will break down in a few years once they are underground”


They also do scoops, hoops and bones in the same material.

you can buy them and loads more ethical pet supplies from Ethical Pets, a locally owned, on-line company run by Joey and Anna.

Check out the mission statement…

We sell Recyclable & Recycled; Vegan & Vegetarian; Biodegradable & Degradable; Non-tested; Non Toxic; Certified Organic & non-GM; High-Welfare; Fairly Traded & Made in the UK, Low Carbon & Sustainable pet products.

We make ethical shopping easy and enjoyable.

We always provide balanced and honest information about the products that we sell.

We want to raise the profile of ethical pet products.

We will always try and provide the best possible customer service.

Whats not to like? I almost want to get a pet…

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Dog poop bags and composting waste

This is something I really hate …. plastic bags of dog @*%! hanging from the bushes.

But then plastic bags of dog poop anywhere are a bad idea and a big problem!

According to PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) the dog population of the U.K., in 2014, stood at 9 million. The average dog according to Streetkleen produces 340g of fecal matter per day x 9,000,000 dog population = 3,060 tonnes of poo per day x 365 days per year =1,111,900 tonnes of dog poo annually.

Why Not Landfill?

Putting plastic bags of poop in landfill is problematic for the following reasons

  • Biodegradable waste does not do well in the unnatural conditions of landfill. It bubbles away producing methane another more potent greenhouse gas.
  • The non biodegradable waste, plastic, is there for ever.
  • As of April 2016 Landfill Tax is £84.40 per tonne . At over a million tons that poop costs a lot.
  • we are running out of holes

What to do?

But how do you dispose of dog poop  responsibly and environmentally?

This might be an answer –use compostable plastic bags such as  BioBag dog bags and get a pet poop composter. You can read more about compostable plastics here and you can find cheaper than Biobags by Googling.

Pet poop composter

I believe that composting is the future. A household that can turn its own waste into food for the plants is truly sustainable and delightfully green. And who wouldn’t want to be any of those?  I have a number of compost bins BUT I don’t have a pet so cannot try this. I thought of getting a puppy but apparently  they are for life, not just for composting.

How they work…

Now as I understand it, the pet waste composter is a bin set in the ground. Chuck the pop in and nature will deal with it naturally. It will compost away. Just to reiterate, the resulting material is left in place. It is not meant to be used as compost, rather that the composting process is used to naturally dispose of dog poop!

Have a look at these ready made dog waste composters. You bury it in the back garden and drop in the poop.

Here is an Australian product called Yard Art in action

Here is a home made one

And an  article,  you can read on the subject.
Using the Compost…nooooooooo

MATT SULLIVAN writes a thoughtful and informative piece about the joys and perils of pet poop composting. As he says “several writers discourage pet owners from the practice at all. Others gave specific warnings of not using the final composted product in any edible gardens. A handful wrote that the compost from domestic animals was safe and could be used in vegetable crops.”

But, despite doom laden warnings, he goes ahead and uses worms to compost his dog dirt. It’s a success and he concludes that “even if you have no desire to add compost to your garden, I believe it makes sense to be a good steward of your animals. You feel good, help out the environment, and have an excuse to spend time outside.”

Wise words.

English: A worm composting bin. Worms are eati...

A worm composting bin. Worms are eating the newspaper bedding and producing compost. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

More

You can find hundreds of different composting methods here  including links to worm bins and underground composers.

This is an interesting idea – biogas from dog poo. 

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Secateurs

The  cutters of I use are from Joseph Bently
I bought this set from TK Max– steel and wood tools with minimal packaging.
 Yes there are some irritating bits of plastic – they are attached to the cardboard/ plastic covered board with all plastic ties but that is as reduced as you can get.
However try as I might I cannot find them anywhere else,  not even on Amazon. So I have had a trawl  round to see what is available out there instead.  All secateurs in the shops seem to have plastic handles and come packed with at least the blades covered by a plastic blister. Some come completely enclosed.

However I came across these on line PR2000023812_card4_lg

Made in Japan from high carbon steel, these secateurs are extremely high quality.
Presented in a beautifully authentic gift box.
Preserving traditional forging and grinding techniques crucial for manufacturing high quality sheers, the company incorporates modern technology such as a numerical control grinding system and industrial machinery.
From Waitrose On line – a company we like.
Obviously I cannot say how they will be sent to you i.e. what kind of packaging but of course you could enquire.
Monty Don likes Japanese secateurs!

Ebay
You can get  vintage secateurs on ebay.

Amazon

Failing that you could try these from Amazon. I don’t know what the packaging is like but the tools at least look to be plastic free.  Please do read our disclaimer for more info about buying from Amazon

Draper 45317 210 mm Bypass-Pattern Secateurs with Wooden Handles Bypass secateurs with ash wood handles 8" PROFESSIONAL STAINLESS STEEL,WOODEN HANDLE SECATEUR/PRUINER,CURVED BLADE
Draper 45317 210 mm Bypass-Pattern Secateur…
£13.35
Bypass secateurs with ash wood handles
£13.91
8″ PROFESSIONAL STAINLESS STEEL,WOODEN HAND…
£8.99
Pruning Shears - Titanium Bypass Hand Pruners - Ideal Garden Shears & Clippers for Trimming Branches, Hedges, Orchards, Bushes & General Tree Trimmer - All Metal Forged Professional Secateurs - Quality Ergonomic Gardening Tools Guaranteed. Razorsharp Professional 6959BS Spear and Jackson Heavy Duty Bypass Secateurs with Ergonomic Handles
Pruning Shears – Titanium Bypass Hand Prune…
£106.72
Razorsharp Professional 6959BS Spear and Ja…
£25.99
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Bird Food

bird food featuredFeeding the birds can be a plasticky business but not for us happy Huddersfield folk. Up at Earnshaws saw mill, a place better known for their damn fine timber products, they sell a whole range of bird seeds loose – everything from nigra seed to peanuts. If you don’t know your linseed from your sunflower they  have a chart telling you what seed will attract which bird.

After that its really easy.

Take your own plastic free bags (and I find biobags are the best for bird seed because you can knot them – some of those seeds are tiny), fill em up and take them home.

happy birdies all round.

And this was seen up on Facebook

B&M are doing a great deal on Fat Balls for birds – £8 for a box of 150 balls, no netting and no plastic! Made in Britain.

Wiggly Wigglers do different kinds of birdseed, packed in a thick paper sack which can be composted. The seed is very good quality.
RSPB do 12.5kg paper sacks delivered with 20% off at the moment. Expensive though.

What to feed when

Advice on how to feed birds when and on what can be found (along with the expensive bird seed), at the RSPB web site.

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Watering Cans for young and old (and rich)

Take a look at this beauty – my  galvanised watering can with removable brass rose. Looks good and lasts forever. Comes with absolutely no plastic bits and no packaging at all. It holds 9 litres – 2 gallons which is big enough to matter but light enough to carry when filled with water.

Rose

The brass rose can be unscrewed and this is a very important feature. Put the rose on and water can be sprinkled over seedlings or delicate plants a necessary but slow process. Take the rose off and water can be poured in a stream which is great for soaking plants at the roots. A removable rose means it can be cleaned when bits of soil and residue block the holes. Without this feature your can will eventually clog up.

Finally the rose can be replaced when knackered. Interchangeable roses can also be bought resulting in ever finer sprays.

Haws Cans

Haws also do a metal watering. It is the Rolls Royce of metal watering cans with a price tag to match. These too have interchangeable roses

Kiddies Cans £5.25  

Made by Garden Angels these cans are as classy as you would expect from these guys. They are metal watering can with enamelled finish and will last much longer than plastic counterparts. They don’t have removable roses but in all fairness they are more for fun then real work. They come in pink or blue – I don’t know why. Plastic and packaging free they

Sadly they have plastic handles and come wrapped in a plastic bag.

Buy

All the above can be bought on line or from local hard wear shops and some B&Q stores.

If you have trouble finding them,  you can get them here (along with a lot of other plastic free garden supplies), from  Amazon  You can read our Amazon policy here.

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Plant Labels

Busy digging over the garden and planting up next years crop in the allotment and I find myself:

  • Turning over a new seed bed to find ugly plastic markers polluting the soil:
  • Uncovering plastic plant markers relating to some kind of plant but all the text has disappeared:
  • Hoeing away and cut through another perennial;
  • Plant up some lettuces in lovely rustic pot which I don’t want to sully with nasty looking plastic plant markers
  • Planting up rows of seedlings and not wanting to use plastic markers because of – well -all of the above:

So I have bought some wooden monster-size, lolly-pop stick. NB The normal size lolly pop sticks are too small. I tried them but couldn’t read them.  Actually I couldn’t even see them and so another peony died.
These big boys come in at 150mm length x 19mm width x 1.8mm giving me plenty of room to write on and if I use a permanent writer, the writing lasts as long as the marker.

I can also use pencil which doesnt last as long but is plastic free.

If they get dug into the soil no problem they will biodegrade and feed next years spuds.

They look much nicer in my pots and allotment.

Where to get them?

You can buy these from craft stores on-line but they often come in little plastic bags. To ensure I got these plastic free I had to buy in bulk so they came in a box rather than a bag. I searched for medical spatulas on ebay.

If you have trouble finding them,  you can get them here (along with a lot of other plastic free garden supplies), from  Amazon.  

One of the real joys of buying #plasticfree is sourcing the stuff in local shops. However sometime you have to buy on line and if I don’t know of anywhere else I tend to end up recommending Amazon. I know and I don’t like what they do either but t I have always found Amazons service to be good, the recommendations are for second party sellers and the packaging usually compostable.

You can read our full policy here

Tongue Depressor, 6-inch, 11/16 No Splinter, Birch, NonSterile (Pack of 100) Karter Scientific 212T2 Paper Pot Maker & Accessories Gift Set - Great Gardeners Gift Giant Paper Potter
Tongue Depressor, 6-inch, 11/16 No Splinter…
£4.99
Paper Pot Maker & Accessories Gift Set …
£11.99
Giant Paper Potter
£11.00

 

 

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Seed pots homemade

Flimsy plastic seedling trays are an abomination. A couple of uses and the are fit for the bin. What a waste. So don’t use them. Make your own pots out of newspaper instead. Fill them with home-made compost and plant your seed.

Once the seedlings have grown, plant pot and seed in the ground.Its so much easier than trying to empty those silly plastic pot and the plant roots are less disturbed.

The square pots featured above  are made from folding newspaper. Find out how, here.

These are really easy to make and I really like them. They are strong enough to take  a lot of watering.

Or you can make round ones.I don’t like these as much – the square ones sit neatly in a tray . However there is certainly less folding and so they are quicker

What to do…

paper seed pots1 Take a drinking glass or can and a sheet of newspaper.

2 Fold the newspaper into a strip about 15 cm wide, so that the strip has several layers to it.

3 Lay the strip on a work surface. Take the glass or can and place the end of the glass so that it is 5cm in from the edge of the paper. Roll the strip of paper around the glass, you may want to use a small piece of masking tape to stick the remaining flap of paper down.

4 Fold in the overlapping paper so that the end of the glass is covered.

5 Stand the glass on it’s end pushing down the paper from within the pot. You may also use a small piece of tape to secure the bottom.

Once you have made your pots, fill with peat free compost and plant your seeds. For extra
stability stand your pots together in a tray. Once the seedling has sprouted two sets of leaves,make a few holes in the sides of the container and then plant it into the ground.

With thanks to recyle for Hampshire and the Makers of the Homestead

paper potterYou can  buy a special kit for making these but why bother? However if you insist you can get them here(along with a lot of other plastic free garden supplies), from  Amazon  You can read our Amazon policy here.

You can also use toilet roll inners.