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Paper or Plastic?

While I almost always ask for paper, plastic does have its uses. For items such as chicken and other products that may leak or contaminate other products, plastic is superior. But paper is my favorite for several reasons.

We use paper bags for a good deal more than carting the groceries home. When we’ve unloaded the bags, we use them as trash bags, kids’ costumes, book covers, coloring books and many garden uses. Though a fully reusable cloth or canvas bag would be the most environmentally preferred choice, paper is a close second.

But there’s one wonderful use for those white plastic grocery bags that I’ve just discovered: I use them as an Air Farm greenhouse top!

When germinating plants and for the early growth, a typical plastic grocery bag fits perfectly over the top of an Air Farm. I tried it recently to germinate some gladiolis bulbs in our new Ultimate Air Farm. I wanted to be able to keep the moisture on the bulbs without having to water them over and over.

So I slipped a white plastic bag over the top of the Air Farm and slid it down most of the way. The translucent bag transmitted enough light through to the emerging plants and allowed moisture to condense and keep the air around the plants moist as well as keep evaporative drying to a minimum. Within 24 hours, every bulb had sprouted and sent out a dozen and a half root sprouts each. The longest was well over an inch long!

There was no need to cinch the bag closed, as it fit nicely over the Air Farm.

A few words of warning: The bag will collect moisture and it will condense. Once enough has condensed, it will begin to drip. Some of this will drip all of the way down the outside of the Air Farm and make it to the floor. I have put the Air Farm in a closed bottom agricultural flat to collect the water and keep my air pump away from this setup in a safe place.

Also, your bag will likely have the following warning printed on it, so please be careful!

WARNING! To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children!

Copyright 2002

Glenn Rice

Air Farms

New Tool Co.

Reprinted with permission.

Growing Ideas

Fabric Workshop - Hydroponics - Cryan Studio
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