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To line or not to line, that is the question... (with plastic, that is)


By Raquel


So here I am trying to be all eco-friendly when I get a suggestion that I line my clay pots with plastic (gasp!) to help keep the soil moist in Houston’s heat and humidity…I wrestled with it but finally decided to try it with my strawberries (my conscience burned but in the end the desire to see the strawberries live won out! sigh…)

And here they are, in their plastic coccoon within their strawberry pot:

I also hesitated to use plastic because I wondered if it would REALLY help keep the soil moist…I imagined that maybe it would speed up the evaporation process…but I have to say, I have been proven wrong – it really does help! The strawberries do dry out – but not as much as they would without the plastic. Now that I’ve added the saucer at the bottom (with H20), it works even better. The proof is in the pudding, and all the plants have new green shoots!

And just so they won’t feel left out, here is a picture of my petunias – a little scraggly but hopefully they’ll fill out after being fed Rose Food! =)

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Good for you, Raquel - I don't think that you have stopped being organic, you are just helping things along a bit. :-)

17 Jul, 2008


i agree with spritz, least now there is another use for plastic. the strawberry plants certainly look like they are doing well.
we have a tax on our plastic bags over here, you now have to pay for them. have to say its worked great, gone are all the horrible plastic bags tangled up in bushes and along the roadways, people now dont tend to throw them away anymore because they have paid for them. place is a lot cleaner now.

17 Jul, 2008


Hi Spritz: well, that's the idea...since I never thought they'd sprout from seed, just the fact they're alive is an accomplishment...LOL

Hi Irish: in some places you have to buy them now, and a LOT of stores are pushing reusable bags...I have three and I do use them - so I agree with you it's a good idea - but I have to say I've always recycled the plastic bags, I use them as trash bags.

Hi Marguerite: yep, I thought of that too but then I figured out - you have to open a hole in the plastic so the water can drain! The one I made is right over the hole in the strawberry pot. I am scraed of the water rotting to roots, not just for the strawberries, but for all my plants - but the heat and humidity are so extreme here (I don't know how hot it gets in Australia to compare) that I don't think mulch alone would do it. I do have some on top, but it does dry out quickly. I've never heard of wetting agents? What are they? Well, I'll keep y'all updated on the berries, if they survive, and definitely if I get any berries at ALL GOY will see a PICTURE because you have no idea how I've worked so that these little plants are still alive!! That would be a triumph!

17 Jul, 2008


I used to grow strawberries, herbs and flowers in containers like yours, and always lined them with black plastic, mainly to keep the compost in when watering - it would wash out through the planting holes otherwise, coz the holes are pretty big. I just thought that the plastic was a necessity. I used the empty bags from bought compost and turned them inside out to reveal the black side, so I suppose I was recycling/re-using? Your plants seem to be coming on nicely, too.

17 Jul, 2008


Earlier this year I read a post on here about using disposable nappies in hanging baskets, so I tried it out and it has worked well. Both compost and water are retained but roots are not subject to rotting.

18 Jul, 2008


Hi David: yes, the 'berries seem to have liked it - the green shoots are now new leaves, giving me hope they'll survive the summer! (I always heard that strawberries can only be grown in cool weather - in El Salvador, for example, the strawberries we get come from Guatemala, which has higher elevations). And you were most definitely recycling!

Hi Xela: I thought of that, but in the end I thought it would just be too weird for me to be buying disposable diapers without having a baby, so I never tried it...Glad it worked out for you!

21 Jul, 2008


Everyone joined in the banter at the checkout when I bought mine, and some even though it a good enough idea to consider copying :-)

22 Jul, 2008


Well, I'll have to keep it in mind then...what a cute dog in your pic, what kind is it?

22 Jul, 2008


Aaah, if only we knew.
I call him my 'Battersea Special' because we found him at Battersea Dogs' Home. He is a mixture and seems to have characteristics ranging from those of a lurcher to terrier, but he most closely fits the characteristics of a Patterdale.
He is probably a one off, and I love him dearly.

23 Jul, 2008


He's adorable! I bet he's smart, too. =)

Spritz's dog is also very cute.

I'd like to get a dog, probably will adopt one but have to get a car first...I'm thinking a Westie, or Westie-like dog...I love bigger dogs - labs, german shepherds, golden retrievers...but they don't fit in an apt!

23 Jul, 2008

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