This has been the year of less. For me it means less purchases, less work, less money, less time, less family, less people, less reassurance and less patience. Then we live in a society that asks more of us, more of our planet, more of our trust, more of our time, more of our money and more of our sanity.

The adage less is more, well, in my opinion, never a truer word has been said.

Everyday I’m so grateful for my garden because it’s here that less can really become more. You don’t really need much to start a garden. Start small if you want and just add. The beautiful thing about a garden is the more comes back in bountiful supply if you make your garden one of share. Share the produce, share the knowledge and share the seed.

If you’re starting with very little, pay a visit to your local tip shop and supermarket dump area. Here you will find lots of great things to make up your seed raising set up. When it comes to preparing my seeds for the next season, I’m a bit of a bower bird. I collect and store bits and pieces to help with propagating my seeds. Cardboard trays, tip shop finds such as colanders to sieve seed and compost, large spoons or cups for mixing seed raising ingredients, plastic trays for transporting and shelving punnets of seedlings, pieces of mesh or shade sail or umbrella material to line cardboard trays. Old jars for storing seed and jars for storing compost water and camomile tea (please label before storing in beer fridge  or cool spot).

It’s controversial, plastic use I mean. I try not to buy plastic, in fact I work very hard at not buying ‘new plastic’ but what of the plastic already made. I believe in reusing plastic to its enth degree rather than have it go into landfill.

In the pic here, you can see I’ve used plastic milk bottles to make waterproof labels. I’ve also poked holes in the lid of the milk bottle which makes a fine spray for the tiny seedlings and I used the handle part of a 2 litre milk bottle to make a scoop for scooping up the seed raising mix and putting into little pots. All these things can be used over and over. Your local cafe should have lots of milk bottles if you don’t buy milk in plastic.
Cardboard milk containers make great temporary pots for larger seeds such as pumpkin, gourds, luffa, papaw etc.

Egg cartons and toilet rolls are not that great for raising seeds. The cardboard tends to take the goodness out of the seed raising mix and often holds the seedling wet, which brings on issues with rot and mould. I’m experimenting with palm fronds at the moment as a plastic pot alternative. Mostly I buy my pots from the tip shop or do a swap for them.

Among the pictures there is a horrible lump of plastic sheeting. It’s great that we mostly all try to recycle but this stuff comes in reams out of shops backdoors. At my local IGA, they pull this stuff, basically thick gladwrap, off the cartons of canned and packaged groceries. It all goes into landfill. I took a pile home. I’ve cut it into large sheets which I use to lightly cover my seeds once they are planted into their pots. This helps stop the seeds from drying out. I also line the interior of the cardboard boxes to stop the boxes from going soggy.

NB; don’t let your seed trays sit in water, they need to breathe and be ventilated, so just lightly drape the plastic sheet, attach with a couple of pegs if need be…then this little box now provides a humid environment and protects them from cool spring nights and chewing critters.

I’m not advocating for the plastics industry, gosh nooo but take a look around at what is already there and imagine a reUSE for ‘that thing’ before it gets into landfill. And use it over and over.

By the way, the yellow liquid in the bottle in the pics is chamomile tea. I use it as the seedlings grow to protect against dampening off of seedlings. That’s when all is going well and then the seedling gets sick and yellow and drops dead.

So by living less we really can live with more.

Catriona Harding