The celebrated personality has returned with a new show, Martha Gets Down and Dirty (opens in new tab), in which she shares the secrets of her 150-acre New York farm. In the first episode, Martha explores the art of growing tomatoes, including a simple yet thoroughly effective tip that will elevate your crop. 

Martha Stewart’s eco container tip

When growing tomatoes, Martha suggests using dissolvable/biodegradable containers to improve the plant’s chance of survival, as these containers are likely to maintain their shape. They also promote ’nice big root balls,’ which can be placed into the ground without worrying about the transfer. And, of course, they’re good for the environment. But is it really that simple? Chief Horticulturist at RHS (opens in new tab), Guy Barter, expands on Martha’s tip and reveals what we need to know about biodegradable pots before making the investment.  ‘There are two kinds of biodegradable pots – firstly ones that need milling followed by industrial composting to dissolve. This can be accomplished by adding the pot to certain waste collection streams,’ Guy begins. However, he urges us to seek advice from local waste services, as not all collection services accept the pots. ‘Here, the tomato is tipped from the pot and planted as you would a plant from a plastic pot,’ Guy adds. The second type of container – the pot most suitable for Martha’s tomato planting tip – is made from paper, miscanthus fiber, or coir, although Guy urges us to avoid choosing pots made of peat. ‘We frown on peat use as being environmentally unsound,’ he shares. ‘Here pots are planted roots and all and rot away in the soil. These are a great idea – there is no “check” from root disturbance, no pots to gather up, and no plastic to dispose of. They are not expensive either. The only drawback is that they are too fragile for use in the garden center trade but very good for home garden use,’ Guy explains.  Of course, using this type of container with tomatoes is just one of the eco-friendly garden ideas to adopt – they are available for other fruit, vegetable and flower varieties, too, and we encourage you to seek them out instead of plastic.