Plastic Free July: Gardening

Today I’m sharing about how to reduce plastic use in our garden – gardening containers, packaging, and garden accessories are all areas where plastics can sneak up on us. In this post, we will explore the concept of plastic free gardening and discover practical tips to create an eco-friendly garden that nurtures both plants and the planet.

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Starting seeds

Traditional seed starting often involves the use of plastic pots or trays, but there are several eco-friendly alternatives. Opt for biodegradable options such as peat pots, coconut coir pots, or even homemade seedling pots made from recycled newspaper, or even eggshells! These alternatives can be directly planted into the ground, reducing transplant shock and eliminating plastic waste.

Sunflower seedling in cardboard pot


Composting is a fantastic way to reduce organic waste and provide nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Instead of buying bags of compost material, consider creating your own! My city provides composters at a reduced rate, maybe yours provides a similar benefit. You could also simply just create a compost pile in your yard, no fancy equipment required! There are many online resources about how to get started.

Sunflower seedling now blooming!

Natural mulching

Mulching is essential for moisture retention, weed control, and soil health. Instead of relying on plastic mulch films, explore natural alternatives like straw, wood chips, shredded leaves, or grass clippings. These materials not only break down over time, enriching the soil, but also create a more aesthetically pleasing and sustainable garden.

Plant support systems

Many gardeners use plastic trellises, stakes, and ties to support their plants. Explore creative solutions like bamboo stakes, twine made from natural fibers, or repurposed materials such as old branches or wire.

Natural pest control

Chemical pesticides often come in plastic containers and can harm the environment. Embrace natural pest control methods instead. Introduce beneficial insects, like ladybugs and praying mantises, to control pests, and use organic sprays made from neem oil, garlic, or soap to deter unwanted visitors. This way, you can protect your plants without relying on plastic-packaged solutions.

Upcycling and repurposing

One of the best ways to reduce plastic waste in gardening is by upcycling and repurposing materials. Get creative and transform everyday items like old buckets, wooden crates, or tin cans into planters, herb gardens, or decorative elements. I love clay pots, but they’re so expensive! Consider purchasing secondhand, high-quality items on local seller sites or sourcing from freecycling groups.

Gardening accessories

As with anything there are a range of options for items such as gardening gloves, watering cans, and equipment such as shovels. Consider purchasing products that are metal or higher quality so as to be more durable and last longer rather than replacing plastic items more frequently – or look second hand! Scout a few garage sales for garden tools and you may just find a great quality item for a bargain.

The final product

Ultimately, the goal of gardening is to produce items that don’t need to be purchased from the store and so are not wrapped in any packaging! Below are the refrigerator pickles I made using a recycled jar and home grown cucumbers, garlic, and dill…and some help from the kids.

Gardening without plastic is not only possible but also beneficial for the environment. By making small changes in our gardening practices, we can reduce plastic waste and create a more sustainable and eco-friendly garden. Embrace natural alternatives, upcycle and repurpose materials, and adopt environmentally friendly practices to nurture both your plants and the planet!

Homemade pickles!

Click on the following links to get the latest updates on Alison and Krista’s gardens this year!

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  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    This year I got a late start planting my tomato seeds so I ended up having to buy them. I did, however, make my own planter pots with a combination of plants I started myself and seedlings I bought from the garden centre. It’s a work in progress.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!