May is Fairtrade month which is a great time to reflect on how our food gets to our plates, and our role in that process. Fairtrade efforts are directed at supporting responsible community growers around the world. Whether you have an entire garden or a tiny windowsill to work with, planting, potting, and tending to your own green things is a great way to connect with how much care it takes to grow things—and with how rewarding it can be when done in a way that's good for the world.
Gardening and cultivating plants can also be a fantastic opportunity to get creative and practice some DIY up-cycling when it comes to the places your little green friends grow! It's really fun to go to the garden centre and pick out new plant pots, but the costs can add up pretty quickly and it's always worth checking in with yourself to see if you really need another new thing. If your kitchen cupboards have been feeling cluttered with pots and pans, or even glasses and mugs, that you find you really aren't using, what you may actually have is a great selection of pot plants. A mug can nurture a marigold. A larger saucepan could become a mini herb or succulent garden. An old colander can become a hanging basket with superb drainage. You save money on plant pots, your cupboards are more organised and roomy, and you have some totally unique and beautiful container garden happening!
If you’re up for putting a bit more elbow grease into things, you can look beyond your cupboards to your recycling bins for some good old tin cans, or to any construction/reno salvage you might have access to for old palettes. With a quick coat of paint you can make what might otherwise be waste look amazing. Depending on what paint shades you choose the feel can be anything from vibrant and playful, to minimal and sophisticated. The final upcycled growing idea we have for you here is, we think, probably the most adorable: using eggshells to sprout your seedlings. Again, it's a bit of work, but that's part of the fun, and they really are lovely to look at not to mention a refreshing and far more eco-friendly change from those plastic trays. This method is so entirely biodegradable, in fact, that when it's time you can plant them right in the ground, shell and all! If you'd like to try it, we recommend the tutorial available on the blog 17 Apart—it's fun, comprehensive, and has really nice photos.
Happy growing, friends!