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If There Are No More Plastic Bags…

May 27, 2011
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I read recently that  the EU is considering banning plastic bags. I’ve got surprisingly conflicting feelings about this.

On one hand, I’m all for protecting the environment, and I hardly ever use plastic bags. I always bring my own canvas bag/bike basket/rucksack to transport my purchases in. I even reuse the flimsy little bags you get for vegetables and fruit at the grocery store – I always carry a few of them in the little side pocket on my rucksack that was meant for a mobile phone. (I never use that pocket for its original purpose – I hardly ever take my phone with me, and when I do, why would I put it where it can easily be stolen? Not that my shabby, second-hand phone is very likely to be stolen…)

And yet, on the other hand, I remember those childhood winters, sliding down snowy hills on plastic bags, sometimes with a pillow in it and sometimes without, and I don’t like the thought that my hypothetical future children might never experience this butt-bruising but funny ‘Sackerlrutschen‘ (‘bag sliding’).

OK, I know it’s totally the wrong season for this kind of considerations. But there is another thing I need plastic bags for – what would I plant my tomatoes in?

About two and a half weeks ago, I decided I needed to do something about those incredibly tall and leggy ‘Minibel’ tomatoes – I’d been planning to give them away, so I had no more room in my planters for them, but I simply couldn’t wait until I had time to meet with someone who would ‘adopt’ them – this was during the worst of the May Madness at work, when I had just no energy left for phone calls, let alone meeting up with anyone. And keeping them in their little pots wasn’t an option – they were impossible to water, and growing taller and thinner every day.

So, I took a freezer bag (which, I assume, shouldn’t give off any unpleasant chemicals), and stuck one tomato plant into it:

Filled it up with potting mix and cut some drainage holes in the bottom:

Then – and this is where the plastic bags come into play, since I doubt the freezer bags will get banned – I put the freezer bag into a bookshop bag… which I have no idea where that came from. I always walk up to the counter, put down my books and say, ‘I won’t be needing a bag.’ – so how come I had not one, but three of those bags lying around? Puzzling as that is, they’re nice and sturdy, and they have handles.

Temporarily tying the bag(s) closed so the potting mix wouldn’t fall out, I put it on its side and cut a slit in it, to squeeze in one of the nasturtiums I also needed to get rid of:

This was inspired by the grow bags with violas we sell at work. Afterwards, I stapled the slit shut as well as possible, cut some more drainage holes in the outer bag and went to hang the bags. I’d put some screws in the wall plugs already in one of the walls of the loggia and tied my bean trellis to it with wire – now used that same pieces of wire to hang my two bookshop bag planters.

Here are both my passions, books and plants, the Letters and the Leaves, united in one project.

I had doubts about how well it’d work – but two and a half weeks later, they’re still looking perfectly happy – happier than before I planted them, even. And what a difference two weeks make!

That picture is actually from five days ago, and they’re even bigger now. Won’t be long until you can’t even see the bookshop bags any more!

The one big problem with them is watering – I’m too short to properly see whether I’m pouring the water into the freezer bag, and sometimes it just runs out between the two bags. Oh well… at least any spilled water goes into the big planters underneath.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2011 06:37

    I wish our stores had plastic bags as nice as those…

    • May 30, 2011 22:03

      In my experience, the more common/freely available* plastic bags are in a country, the more cheaply made they tend to be.

      *most stores only give them out on request here, and it’s not uncommon to have to pay for them, either. Bookshops are one of the exceptions (or it might just be that chain, I don’t know). I’m still wondering why I had three of these bags… maybe they were left by my Dutch friends when they visited me in February, several of them did buy something at Thalia…

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  1. Balcony Garden Update « Letters & Leaves
  2. Balcony Garden Update « Letters & Leaves

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