Norman Winter is also the horticulturist. He is the former director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens. Follow him on Facebook at Norman Winter “The Garden Guy.” See more columns by Norman at SavannahNow.com/lifestyle/home-garden/.
No longer will trays of flower transplants create a mess, a sore back from picking them up and cluttering the garden shed with thoughts of future use. Thanks to the Eco+ Grande Pots that caught most of us by surprise at the garden center this year we can now simply pull four tabs and plant them and the pot in the hole, a true ecological wonder.
Son James alerted me to the fact that racks of beautiful bedding plants were showing up for sale and on display at the major garden centers, and what did I know about these new plantable Eco+ Grande containers? My first thought was why doesn’t The Garden Guy already know about this?
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It was several hours before I could get to the garden center to check them out. When I arrived, every plant had been sold. How could this be? Did the customers know they were buying the latest in science, technology and environmentally friendly containers or was it the beautiful flowers? Unbelievably, this scenario was repeated twice before we both got out hands on some bedding plants in these new pots.
You are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, first you would swear these pots were plastic but they are not. They are plant-based, developed from corn, sugar beets and switchgrass; without getting too scientific, a biopolymer is made that resembles plastic.
These Proven Winners Eco+ Grande containers have nutrients built into the walls of the containers. These organic nutrients are rich in phosphorus, calcium and nitrogen. As the containers which are planted directly into the soil break down, nutrients are released to the roots all season long.
The process is simple, you peel off four tabs on the bottom of the pot placing them in the planting hole. Removing the tabs is essential for roots to be properly exposed to the soil and begin growth. These containers and removed tabs can be planted in landscape beds or your favorite mixed containers. Water your plants well after planting. The Eco+ Grande containers will gradually disintegrate over time, helping to feed the plant’s roots.
By planting the entire container into the soil, you minimize root disturbance, you don’t have to fret about weekly feeding or worry about fertilizer run-off. Because climates and environmental conditions differ over a long growing season and across the country, the size of pieces left in the soil may vary and can simply be tilled in for the next growing season.
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Son James planted a couple of flats of Blue My Mind evolvulus grown in the Eco+ Grande containers. He used a Proven Winners Twist n’ Plant Original Gardening Auger with a cordless drill. This made the project rapid as the container slipped perfectly in the hole. The Garden Guy was relegated to planting with a shovel or trowel.
One way to look at Eco+ Grande is like power in a package. We have all planted trays of flowers and then moaned with the effort it takes to go pick up the little plastic pots. Then we think maybe we save and use them, maybe we will recycle. The next thing we know we have crossed the line to the cluttered garden shed.
If for some reason you elect not to plant your Eco+ Grande in the ground know they are environmentally friendly and compostable, whether it is the city compost system or your own. Proven Winners was involved in years of research on the new Eco+ Grande and, as they say, they didn’t have to drill for oil to produce them.
You have to admit that with award-winning flowers grown in an Eco+ Grande it is a great time to be a gardener. If you see them for sale, I hope you will give them a try.