I’ve been a little delinquent in writing articles lately, but I haven’t been sitting around. One of the projects that I have been working on was to make planting pots to start my garden seedlings. I know that you can buy planting pots, but then what would be the fun in that? Besides that, I had the grandkids help me make them and we had lots of fun getting dirty.
First, I had the grandkids sort through the newspaper and pick out the non-glossy pages and discard them. I wanted to use just the regular newsprint and stay away from the shiny advertisements. I then had them tear the full sheets into quarters.
After getting everything assembled (thin biodegradable twine, a soup can, scissors, the quartered paper and potting soil), we set to work. I have found that the easiest way to make the potting cups is to set the can in the center of the paper and bring the paper up around it creating a paper cup. (I find that it is best to use a full can because it helps to have the weight in it while bringing the paper up around the can.) Take a length of twine and tie it tight around the paper near the top of the can. Trim the top of the paper before lifting the cans out. Of course trimming the paper isn’t necessary, but it does make it look a little neater and makes it easier to fill.
Once you have lifted the can out, the paper cup is very fragile. Start to fill it immediately – nearly to the top – with the potting soil, but be very careful not to distort the cup. I found that if I held the cups while the grandkids used a small garden hand shovel to fill the pots that it worked quite well. Using a large kitchen spoon would also be very effective.
Once you have finished assembling these little pots, you can plant your seeds and start watering them so that they will be sprouted and ready to plant after the last frost.
The wonderful thing about these pots is that they are cheap and easy to make, they degrade very quickly and by the time they are ready to set in the ground they will already have started to decompose somewhat and they won’t restrict the root growth.
The twine is also degradable, but if you think your twine choice might be a little tough, just clip it before setting them in the ground. Using the newspaper will also add mulch to the soil and you will also be recycling something that you might have been tempted to throw away.
A wonderful way to dispose of the rest of the paper you didn’t use is to crumple it up and use it to start a little fire in your back yard. This is the perfect way to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” – and to make S’mores at the same time. While you are eating the S’mores you can be cooking tinfoil dinners or hot dogs (remember – eating dessert first is the best way to start your outside dining.) At least that is what we used our extra paper for.
For ease of transportation in and out of the house until the threat of frost is over, I like to use the disposable aluminum turkey roasting pans; they are easy to carry and don’t leak. You can also rinse them out and save them for the next years seedlings.