Thursday, January 24, 2013

Seed Starter Containers

as seen in this blog under Seed Start
     I like to re use and repurpose as much as I can, as often as I can.  For starting seeds I have already posted pictures of my Christmas chocolate covered cherry trays.  Any Candy tray is a good seed pot for starting small seeds like tomatoes or pepper plants.  The Russell Stover Assorted candy I received as a gift lasted about two days and now the tray is repurposed for tomatoes.
     Toilet paper rolls are nice for larger seeds like the beans and squash.  Hold the toilet paper roll in one hand about two inches from the end and press inward with the thumb.  This fold reaches about halfway.  Fold in the other side and turn upright.  Fill with seed starting soil to 1/2" from the top.  Plant seed, moisten it but don't soak the tube and cover with a layer of soil to the top.  Stand the rolls in a shoe box or any box about the same height as the rolls.  mist occasionally with water and watch them grow.  The rolls provide more soil for the roots to establish themselves than a candy tray could.  When ready to transplant, fill the box with water to soak the toilet paper roll and soften it, dig a hole, pull the bottom flaps open and insert the plant in the roll.   This photo will lead you to a fun cost cutting site that is one of my new favorites.

     You may also want to cut toilet paper rolls in half or thirds and set them on a cookie sheet that has seen its last day in the kitchen. Another note:  by the use of the term toilet paper roll, I also mean paper towel tube and gift wrap tube.

     I also went to and cruised their garden section for some new ideas and found the instructions for this newsprint pot.  I plan on making come tomorrow.  I don't always have the toilet paper rolls in the number I need and making my own starter pots is appealing.  I also understand that these can go directly into the ground when transplanting, but like the toilet paper rolls, I will open the bottom when planting.

     What I know does not work well are the disposable drinking cups often used in kindergarten or grade school science experiments.  Some brands have a wax coating that will not degrade at the speed needed and can cause the plant's roots to form tight and then be unable to break free of the cup thus, strangling the plants.  Paper cups need to have there bottoms cut out or be torn off at transplant time if the soil isn't wet enough to slip the plant out.  You also run the risk of roots attaching to the paper and ripping as you slip them out.  At this point you are traumatizing the young plant and frustrating yourself.  
     And don't even get the die hard hippie in me started about the number of bean plants brought home in a Styrofoam cup!  The sooner the world ends and takes out the makers of Styrofoam the better!  I said, don't get me started.  Plants pretty, Styrofoam bad.  bad for plants and other living things!
     If your ground is ready but Mother Nature is not and you anticipate a cold snap after transplanting seedlings, you can use those leftover Super Bowl party cups as wind breaks or mini green houses.  As a wind break, cut the bottom out of the cup and gently screw it into the ground around your plant.  Just don't let it interfere with the growth of the root system.
     This method of seed starting is only one step more difficult than any other.  Cut the plastic bottle about one quarter of the way up from the bottom.  Plant the bottom and place the top of bottle down over the planter till all chance of frost or damaging cold passes.



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