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Plastic vs. Clay

Posted by fireduck 10a (My Page) on
Mon, May 6, 13 at 9:58

Again, I am sorry if this has been covered a hundred times. I am an "old" grower...but "new" to this forum. I constantly am doing the guessing game as to buying a plastic or clay container/pot.I usually drill additional holes if I buy plastic. It seems to me: the plastic is cheaper, more accessible with choices, lighter, but does not "breathe" and is not as permanent. Thoughts???

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Plastic vs. Clay

If you're thinking only of your plants' well being, then terra cotta (or any material that allows gas exchange) wins hands down. The benefits to growing in plastic are pretty one-sided as far as I can see -- plastic might be preferable for the grower (less expensive, less frequent watering, lightweight, etc.), but there are no obvious benefits for the plants.

RE: Plastic vs. Clay

My main concern with using plastic containers for edibles is the leaching of chemicals into the soil. BPA, for example, has been shown to be taken up by plants. However, I am using some containers made from polypropolene #5, which is supposed to be okay.

Does glazed ceramic still allow a significant amount of oxygen exchange? I've been using large, glazed ceramic pots for blueberries on the assumption that all else being equal, the ceramic keeps the roots cooler than plastic. However, I've been considering moving the bbs to even larger pp #5 pots and wondering if the benefit of the larger size would offset the potential root heat issue. I hadn't considered the oxygen exchange issue though.

I googled "glazed ceramic oxygen exchange" btw and came up with the issue of lead leaching from the glaze used on ceramic pots. Fortunately, it seems that as long as the soil has a high organic content, lead doesn't make it into vegetables themselves. (Hopefully that applies to blueberries too.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lead in Urban-grown Vegetables

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