The combination of paint and a vegetable garden may leave you frowning. Paint generally does not have an eco-friendly reputation. However, it can sometimes help to actually be more sustainable. A shed, planter or garden cabinet with an environmentally friendly paint or stain will make the wood last longer. Softer types of wood such as spruce, pine and Douglas fir do not have such a long life without protection. In this blog we share inspiration and tips for painting your vegetable garden.
Painting a shed in your vegetable garden
A shed in the vegetable garden is extremely useful for storing materials and garden tools. Hardwood sheds can technically remain unprotected, although they will become gray over time. But garden sheds are often made of softer woods such as pine and spruce. These are types of wood that shrink and expand under the influence of humidity, causing the wood to crack. This is a natural characteristic of the wood.
Choose a paint that ensures that the wood can continue to breathe. The Swedish wood paint from Moose Färg is a good example. This penetrates into the wood like a stain, so that the wood is not only painted, but also well protected. It hardly peels off, which means that you also hardly have any maintenance and environmental impact is minimal.
Does your shed already have a layer of paint on it? Make sure that the surface is clean, dry and free of grease before painting again. Sanding and degreasing everything may take some time, but this allows a new layer of paint to adhere better. Make sure that the sawdust is properly collected. This prevents microplastics to end up in the environment.
In a smaller urban vegetable garden, large planters are useful to make the most of the space. It’s tempting to buy wood that’s already pre-painted, but this isn’t always done with high-quality paint. You regularly see that the – often black – rinse comes off within a year. It is a waste of money and also bad for the environment and for your wood. Painting a wooden planter is not such a tedious job, so when in doubt, opt for untreated wood and choose a (durable) paint.
And if you plan on customizing an entire planter to better suit your garden, consider using Kreg pocket hole jigs to create strong and professional-looking joints.
Buy second-hand garden wood
Did you know that second-hand planters and garden sheds are offered online? It is good to inquire with the seller about the quality of the wood. The wood has been outside for several years and can be affected by this. Inquire about mold and wood rot. Graying of the wood is therefore not a problem. That does not diminish the quality of the wood, and you can simply give it a durable layer of paint.
5 sustainable paint tips
- This will sound obvious, but always read the user manual. Preparation is more than half the battle when you’re painting. Degreasing or sanding can be essential for good adhesion. Once it’s painted, you can’t make up for failing on a good preparation. The processing temperature, drying time and, for example, whether you have to dilute the paint are also important for a sustainable result.
- The biggest waste of paint is having to paint too often. Some discount stores offer paint that looks nice at first, but starts to peel after two years.
- Choosing the right color of paint also ensures that you are less likely to want to paint again. Choosing a color that matches the vegetable garden and your own taste can be difficult at times. Colors look different on a screen than in real life, so don’t rely on online photos to give you an idea of the color. Order a color chart or test jar to make sure you choose the right color.
- Bought a big jar and not sure if you’re going to use all the paint? Then pour some paint into a paint tray and close the jar immediately. This way, no bacteria can get into the paint and you can use the leftover paint later.
- Do not flush paint residue down the sink, even if the paint is water-based. You can often save paint to use for another project. If you still want to throw away paint residues, you can hand them in at the waste station in your municipality.