Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seed Starting with Recyclables

Garden season is nearing, and with it the time for seed starting! In fact, at the Hub, we've already started some of our cold-hardy and 100 day crops, including leeks, onions, kale and spinach. While traditional plastic seed start containers and flats can be useful for this task in some ways, they can also be pesky. Popping transplants out of them can lead to root damage, and purchasing new trays or replacing broken ones can be expensive. 

Luckily there are other options - and you need look no further than your recycling bin to find them! 
Old lettuce containers, milk cartons, plastic bottles, and newspaper can take on a new life holding your seedlings while they germinate and grow ready to move outside. 

For cans, bottles, or containers, simply clean them well, make sure there are several, small drainage holes in the bottom, fill with potting soil, and plant your seeds! 

For easy transplanting (great for plants with fragile root systems, like peas!) try newspaper pots. Once the seedlings are ready for transplant, newspaper pots can be planted directly into the soil. Over time, the newspaper will break down in the soil, and your plant's root system will be able to push through and continue growing. Just make sure to use only non-glossy newspaper, as glossy ads will not break down as easily.

To make your own newspaper pots, follow these simple instructions...

You will need:
-       Newspaper sheets (one sheet = one seed starting pot)
-       A 10-15 oz. can or small mason jar
-       Potting soil and seed
1.  Fold a sheet of newspaper lengthwise to create a strip. Press along the folded edge. 
2. Set the can on its side at one end of the strip, with the base of the can about 2 inches up from the edge. Roll the newspaper around the can to create a cylinder.
3. Starting at the outer seam, fold the free end of the cylinder inward. Make three more folds inward to create the base of the pot, pressing firmly to make the folds as flat as possible.
4. Slip the pot off of the can or bottle. Starting at the outer seam, fold the top 1/2 to 1 inch of the pot inward to create a stable rim.
5.  Hold the pot with one hand, with some of your fingers on the bottom to keep it closed, and fill the finished pot to the top with moistened potting soil. Plant a seed into each pot, and if desired, place the pot onto a tray to catch any leaks that may happen during watering.
6.  Once your seeds have sprouted and are ready to be planted, simply place the entire newspaper pot into the ground! The newspaper will break down quickly, leaving your plant’s roots free to grow!

No comments:

Post a Comment