Waste Pot – Want Pot?

By Bernie Bell

potting plants Bernie Bell

You might be wondering what this picture is about?  It’s not my entry for an exhibition at the Tate Modern, or even for the Pier Arts Centre Christmas Exhibition!  It’s – an empty ice cream tub, an empty supermarket mushroom tray, and one of Gavin-At-The–Bayleaf’s compostable tubs, with a primrose/primula in it – not sure which -will have to wait and see what happens in the spring!

The idea is – single use plastic tubs, of all shapes and sizes, getting a second use.

At this time of year, Mike harvests and clears the veg patch and this year’s fallow patch, and there are always lots of plants there, which we don’t need, but would be reluctant to just pull up and throw away.  I’ve mentioned this before, in this piece…..  https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/08/14/bernie-bell-i-can-hear-the-grass-grow/

Our garden is now nicely mature, and we don’t need the gleanings of the veg patch, as much as we did, so, we pot them up and give them away.  The trouble is, this uses up a lot of flower pots, and so we need some more flower pots, as we’ve given away most of the ones we had.

This year, the folk at Arcadia Park  https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/03/28/the-arcadia-park-project-launch-weekend-6th-7th-april/    put out a call for any ‘spare’ plants , as they have a large area to fill, and, the sooner they fill it, the sooner the weeds will be suppressed.  They’ll have a fight on their hands, with the dockens, but so does any Orkney gardener, and, as my Mum used to say “Time and Patience, Time and Patience”. Eventually, even the dockens might be in retreat!

If you have any ‘spare’ plants from sorting out your garden this autumn, please contact Bob MacKenzie of OACAS,  either on 01856 874738 or by email at bobm@oacas.org.uk  , who will be delighted to take them off your hands!

And, if you don’t have lots of flower pots to put the plants in, or don’t like to use the single use plastic ones – the answer could be, get just about any kind of tub, punch a hole in the bottom, et Viola! You have a flower-pot.

The tubs from The Bayleaf delicatessen  https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/07/22/the-bayleaf-stromness/   are even better, as they are compostable!  They’re made from a new substance, which can replace plastic, and which means they can either be re-used as pots or – put in the compost heap.  A win-win situation.

And if anyone implies that our thrifty ways are due to Mike being of Scots descent, and me growing up in Yorkshire – there might well be something to that – but, also, it all helps to stem the tide of single-use plastic – the pots are used to grow plants in  – and, if you then donate the plants to Arcadia Park, you are helping to produce a community garden, which is A VERY GOOD THING!

Oh – nearly forgot – and how do we transport all these little pots of plants?  In old fishboxes found on beaches, which also means one less piece of plastic in the sea.

Get potting, people!

[Ed’s Note: there are many plastic plant pots at the Orkney Zerowaste yard in Stromness.]


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  1. Another handy hint…….
    Instead of buying plastic cane toppers for your garden canes – you can use the corks from bottles of wine. Make a hole in one end, and you have a cane topper which looks more natural than the plastic ones, and will, eventually, decompose naturally.
    Of course, availability can depend on how much wine you drink!

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