Being green is serious business at Ploughshares!

We grow our vegetables and bare-root fruit trees with organic soil and fertilizer.  Pests and disease which nature brings on occasion are dealt with using less toxic and I.P.M. methods and organic remedies. But for the most part we handle problems of this sort the old fashioned way, we pick the bugs off with our hands and grow plants in conditions which minimize disease transmission.  We strive to avoid applying even ‘less toxic chemicals’ to our nursery stock because so much of it is excellent ‘habitat’ material for animals and bees …. even organic and ‘safer’ chemicals are detrimental to beneficial critters. This means you’ll sometimes find bug eaten leaves and evidence of past aphid visitors on some of our container plants, that’s the price of being good stewards of nature.  We do not grow GMO plants or offer plants which have been determined to be invasive in the East Bay Area.  If you see an old Home Depot label on a pot, that’s because its a recycled reused pot donated to the nursery.  When we have to purchase containers we buy in pots which have been manufactured from recycled plastic whenever possible.  Ploughshares composts its old plants and uses the compost in the demonstration garden.

We accept donations of the garden materials listed below, but please call first, sometimes space is limited

  • Cat food for our feral cat colony
  • Pots  (especially six-packs and four-inch starter pots), ceramic, terracotta, wood are all acceptable!
    (a terrible disease which devastates California Native plants is easily transmitted through donated plastic pots, we are looking into an expensive machine and process to properly clean donated pots but prospects for purchasing this equipment in the near future are very poor)
  • Lumber
  • garden hose
  • Sand, rocks and river-pebbles as well as concrete pieces
  • Chicken wire
  • Barrels (to collect rain water)
  • Old composting units and worm-bins
  • Garden soil
  • Cat food
  • Corrugated metal
  • Hose hangers
  • PVC pipe
  • Used tools – shovels, rakes, saws, pruners, hammers and stand-up weeders in mostly working condition.
  • Power tools which still can be powered.
  • Cinder blocks and bricks, in any state of repair
  • Plants, indoors and outdoors
  • Old art projects
  • Old pond liners
  • Cat food


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