We supplement feed to our chickens, pigs and goats...so, that means bags and more bags. We do not want those to go to landfill so we try to utilize them in some way.
We have a mixture of gardening methods. We use some traditional rows, raised beds, greenhouse, small poly tunnels and no dig methods (including HugelKultur). Because of the effects of climate change we have to be as diversified in our gardening plans as in our crop choices.
Don't Buy Plastic — Use Feed BagsWhen growing melons, cucumbers and squash we like to put those on some type of weed barrier. Black plastic is expensive and also tends to be very drying to the soil. We can cut the feed bags open (we turn the printed side down) and lay down in rows. We cover with soil or rocks to hold the feed bags in place. Sometimes we hill the rows before laying the bags down. After completing a row, we go through and make "slits" in the feed bags and plant. Space plants depending on what you're planting.
Make Your Own 'Grow Bags'
Space is limited for some gardeners. The solution to that problem is container gardening. There is a product out called "grow bags". Why not make your own? These feed bags are great for growing potatoes in.
Just put soil and/or compost into a feed bag (you can put a few small holes in the bottom for drainage). You can plant potatoes into this using a small potato or a couple of pieces with "eyes". I roll the top down some so it doesn't cause the leaves to overheat or burn when they start growing. This also helps if you need to move the plants. Note: These need to be watched, as any container plant, for watering needs.
Poly Tunnel Covers
You can cut these bags and then "sew" them together to make covers for small poly tunnels.
So, look at your farm and/or homestead and see where you could re-use or recycle your trash!
Susan Tipton-Fox continues the farming and preserving practices that have been passed down to her by her family. She presents on-farm workshops in Yancey County, North Carolina, and growing her on-farm agritourism by promoting "workshop stays" on the farm (extending the farm experience). Find all of her Mother Earth News posts here.
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