Not only are milk and juice jugs recycled here at the farm, but nearly every planting container is recycled from something. Yogurt, cottage cheese and ice cream containers are good for seed starts, watering delicate plants, scooping dirt, etc. All other trays and plastic planters have been donated by people who don't need them. And of course, when they crack and fall apart, they go to a recycling pick-up bin. Yogurt containers get brittle after a couple years. The one exception of cups that were purchased are the styrofoam cups I bought for seed starts. Now, before you gasp because styrofoam is so awful for the environment, let me comment that I am still using cups that I bought back in the '90s when I started the farm. They are more durable than anything else, plus, locally, Alliance Recycling, off Webb Road in Alliance, Ohio does take styrofoam. I haven't bought any cups for years, because I have enough other containers to serve my needs. But they sure came in handy in the beginning!
Every fall, I neatly pack away all my containers. The styrofoam cups go in a garbage bag and are hung on the crossbeams of the greenhouse. In 2012, I built hanging shelves, mostly to keep the slugs and mice from eating seeds I just planted, and the baby plants just after germination. But the shelves also serve as a great storage area for supplies during the winter.
Below are styro cups packed in a bag and ready to hang in the the greenhouse through the winter. Shelves along the wall hold larger planting containers.
The shelves are great for storing yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu containers, along with standard agricultural pots..
In the spring, the shelves hold baby plants. Shown left are summer squash, nasturtium, and eggplants. Peppers are planted in the ice cream containers. On the right, cucumbers are nearly ready for transplanting. This shelf is the side of an old dog crate whose bottom rusted out. The advantage here over the plywood shelves is that you can hang more planters below. Here you see freshly planted pepper seed in hanging 12-compartment containers.
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