Posts tagged ‘gardening in bags’
In eight used tires, eight shopping bags, and one pair of shoes, I’ve planted several dozen veg, herbs, and flowers. Some have bit the dust…plucked, thinned, eaten, dehydrated, over-shaded, out-competed, drowned, killed. Such is life in the urban jungle.
Most of the plants started from seeds…gourmet types from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine, finds from the racks at Ocean State Job Lot, or leftovers (aka heirlooms) from last year’s garden. This spring, Rich Pederson from Southside Community Land Trust kindly tended a flat full at the City Farm greenhouse: poppies, red russian kale, green leafy kale, scarlet runner beans, mini-sunflowers, morning glories, ornamental gourds. I started another batch in a sunny basement window at home: lettuce, turnips, basil, bachelor’s button, arugula.
Radish seeds were planted directly into the tires…those puppies pop up quickly and won’t endure transplanting. I transplanted spares from my home garden…johnny jump-ups, dill, oregano, lemon balm, broccoli…and traded with friends for some marigolds and mint.
Some of the plants are doing better in Green Zone than in my raised beds at home. And sometimes a scarlet runner bean or gourd in one tire is outperforming the same plant two tires away. They get the same temperatures, the same soil, the same sun, the same water, the same company. Talk about microclimates–a world of difference, just a tire away!
The gardening industry is just that…an industry. The number of gardening products grows exponentially, even though the key ingredients–soil, compost, containers, water, sun, seeds, mulch, pest control, fertilizer stakes–come for cheap or free.
Take containers. Spare tires, kiddie pools, plastic bottles, shoes, and shopping bags work well. Check out these online photo albums from Sampath Jagannathan, a gardener in the UK who experimented with growing veg in plastic shopping bags. He also has a page on You Grow Girl with directions that read like poetry. Sorta.
The benefits of gardening in used plastic bags are similar to gardening in tires: bags retain heat and moisture; bags are portable; planting gardens in bags means fewer bags in the landfill or getting caught in trees. But if you buy designer “planting bags,” you’re not really reducing consumer waste.
For artist Judith Selby Lang, you don’t plant a garden in plastic bags; you plant plastic bags in the shape of a garden. She created “ReCycle Ryoan-ji,” a replica of Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji Garden made entirely out of recycled materials. Her installation went up in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza in April 2007, one month after San Francisco became the first city in the US to ban plastic shopping bags.