Feb 8, 2011

Plastics - not the phony money credit card kind either

1967- The Graduate
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
To reiterate my premise-   using PVC and plastic to create "hoop greenhouses" is like fighting for peace.
Let me spell that out- Poly Vinyl Chloride - eiuw- that doesn't sound as cute, now, does it?
Nor do I care for the sound of Poly Ethylene. They put that in our food! PolyEthyleneGlycol
The manufacture of plastics has wreaked havoc in our ecosystem with toxins spewed into our air, earth and water by unregulated factories around the world. Google dioxins, for instance-
The movement behind reusing grocery store plastic bags is grounded -not only in the fact that the bags blow around - looking trashy, but the manufacture of plastics is dirty and uses oil. Plastics=oil consumption.
"Peak Oil"..."limited resources"....these notions seem to have made into public consciousness to a certain degree.
But I am appalled at proliferation of plastic hoop greenhouses based on plastic and PVC! 
People who are "green" are espousing this practice because 99 monkeys before them did it!
By the way, an animal behavior note: dogs also mimic other behaviors of people and dogs, so we are not the only species to "monkey see/monkey do".
Now, wasn't that a fun fact to find, amidst the sad commentary I make?
Modern day humankind tends not to look ahead or even look out for, the seventh generation out from today. Nor do we as primates with opposable thumbs tend to look beyond the facade of our modern day global economy/society/culture.  A growing (burgeoning) global society based on oil consumption is not sustainable.
Unrest is growing at a faster rate as our world neighbors scramble for control of arable land and other scarce resources.
Here's something to ponder....we all know that China is the largest consumer of oil, right?
Well, that doesn't mean all those people are driving around in Ferraris- the oil is used in the Made in China manufacturing industry of PLASTICS. China consumes iron for steel manufacturing as well. 
The resources exported to China are used in their industries, in turn, polluting that land. 
I digress for a moment. 
What is the point of taking your eco-friendly shopping bags to market if you are purchasing PVC and plastic to outfit your organic garden? It is not so much about the tiny flakes of degraded plastic that will find its way into the garden that should concern you (thought it will). It is the by product of the manufacture of plastic that has already polluted our drinking water more insidiously than DDT in the Silent Spring.
When people started complaining about industrial pollution in the USA, companies retreated to foreign soils to pollute there. 
Out- of- sight - out- of- mind. Out of time.
People don't think of plastic as "oil" or "pesticide"....
What are alternatives for PVC frames?
Again- check it out- most chicken wire and fencing in "Made in China" these days...
What ever happened to glass cloches and bell jars?
I prefer bamboo! Grow your own. Not all bamboo will take over your yard...learn how to control it by planting in ground in large recycled plastic pots from Big Box nurseries or old coffee cans.
Of course hemp stalks would also work nicely, but I doubt if that will catch on among gardeners.
Did you realize many floating row covers are made of....plastics?  Usually a polyethylene-
I hate to say this- using plastics for gardening is like using oil-based fertilizer, since the manufacture of plastics use oil and contribute horrible toxins.
An old-fashioned way would be to build a solid wood frame to support a light cotton cover that you would roll back on sunny days and cover on cold nights...


Pests of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower's Guide to Using Less Pesticide ...

 By Mary Louise Flint
All I am saying is give the earth a break.
What may seem convenient has hidden costs.
What about burlap? Cotton gauze weave? Muslin?
I would avoid plastic at all costs.
Of course it is nearly impossible to avoid Made in China, oil guzzling plastics.
We need more grow- your- own backyard gardeners to help our green planet.

It just seems so out of place to use nasty, nasty plastice in a garden meant to replenish our earth.
I have also seen non-plastic greenhouses made out of recycled windows....simple to construct if you do need to extend your growing season...
Mother Earth News had some plans for those.
I think anything is better than PVC and Plastic hoops.
To Native Americans, hoops are sacred objects with deep symbolism of our relationship with Earth Mother.
Hence, hoop dances....may the circle be unbroken...etc.
However in this instance, help me break the circle of the use of plastic hoop gardening! 
Keep on growing!

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