If you are a gardener and you haven't started seeds yet, you need to get a move on. Clearly, I am just getting my seeds started, but I can afford to be a little late thanks to the chilly PNW springtime.
I got some heirloom tomato seeds in the mail yesterday which I am so excited to grow (San Marzano tomatoes in my own backyard!) and I called the local nursery just to make sure my timing was okay and the helpful garden guru said that it's absolutely not too late to get started.
Why start your seeds inside? Your tender little seeds will have a better chance of germinating and producing strong early growth in the warm, consistent environment of your home. Why not give your seeds the best start they can get? In the long run, you'll have a better chance of growing stronger, healthier plants that produce more edibles. And more, quality edibles are what we're going for, right?
Here's a quick, easy way to make your own seed starting pots with supplies you probably already have laying around.
a day or two of newspapers
seed starting soil
leak-proof container for holding pots
1. Take one full sheet of newspaper with a vertical fold (so essentially the huge piece that is the first and last page folded book-style) and fold the crease side up about 2 1/2 inches along the long side of the paper. Keep folding until you can't make any more folds, there should be about 1/2 inch left sticking out.
2. Use a glue stick on the edge that's sticking out and fold it up to adhere to the main part of the paper. Since the original piece of newspaper was folded in half, you're going to have to use the glue stick again on the second layer of the edge sticking out. You now have one long flat tube.
3. Mark 2 1/2 to 3 inch segments down the length of the paper tube and cut at those points.
4. Take each cut piece and open it up, folding it the other way to make a square.
5. Put lots of squares next to each other in a container, fill with seed starting soil, add seeds, and water. Put in a sunny spot and wait for your seedlings to start appearing.
To find a leak-proof container for holding my pots, I went through the recycle bin and found a styrofoam egg carton, a short-sided cardboard box, and a Costco apple container. I lined the cardboard box with a plastic grocery sack and sealed a couple holes in the egg carton with tape, easy peasy. You could also use an aluminum baking pan (or a regular baking pan you don't use much) or those seed-starting specific trays from the hardware store. The goal is to find something that won't leak water and has low sides that won't block light from getting to your seedlings.
Down the road, you should see something like this. And I'll be honest, these aren't mine. These baby zinnias belong to my grandma and she is the one who taught me how to make these newspaper seed starting pots. Once the plants get bigger, you can take the whole thing, newspaper and all, and put it right in your garden. The root system should have developed enough to hold all the dirt in during transfer and having an open bottom will prevent your plant from becoming root-bound. This is a great project because in addition to getting some plants started, you are doing some recycling and building up your soil. Super!
I want to know: have you already planted seeds? Do you start seeds indoors or put them straight in the ground? What are you planning to grow this year?
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