Friday, March 30, 2012

Paper Towel Roll "Peat" Pots

 By: Jessica S. Herwick

                                                                               This is a great trick that gardeners have been passing down for generations.  Don’t buy tons of peat pots, or biodegradable seed pots that claim you can bury them in the garden when transplanting.
Repurposing your empty paper towel rolls (or toilet paper rolls) to make seed starting pots is a quick and easy task that requires nothing more than a pair of scissors, a little water, and some fine motor skills.  An added bonus - just like the big name biodegradable seed pots, this seed starting method is one-stop-planting.  You start the seed in your homemade paper pot, and when the time comes to transplant the seedlings, you can plant                
                                                                                    the whole thing directly in the ground.  Try it out!

How To Make the Paper Pot ~
If using paper towel rolls, start by cutting them in half.
Toilet paper rolls are the perfect size already.
Make four 1/2 inch cuts to create 4 flaps at the bottom of the roll.
Make sure the flaps reach each other across the bottom.  You might have to make
the cuts longer than 1/2 inch to create a secure bottom for your paper towel pot.

Make four additional cuts, 1/4 inch long, one in the center of each flap.
Fold the opposing flaps into each other and secure in the center using the 1/4" slits.

Complete the bottom of your pot by folding the remaining flaps into each other and
securing them in place using the 1/4" slits.
Run the newly formed paper pot under the faucet to dampen the flaps at the
bottom. While the cardboard is still wet, sit the bottoms on a flat surface and use
a spoon to push the inside flaps down.  As the cardboard dries, the wet paper
will stick to itself and create a sturdy bottom for your paper pot. Allow to
air dry for 12 hours, or until all dampness has gone from the paper.

How To Start Your Seeds ~
Use a spoon to fill your paper pot with your preferred seed starting medium.  Check
the instructions on your seed packets for sowing depth if you're not sure how
much medium to put into the pot. Do not over pack the soil! It should be fluffy with
lots of room for the roots and stalk of the plants to do their thing!

Add your seed (one to a pot is best) and push down into the medium.  Note your seed
pack for depth!  Cover with a small sprinkling of medium and push down gently.
Do not over pack!  It should be fluffy with lots of room for the roots
and stalk of the plants to do their thing as they germinate.

Wet the medium so the water slightly dampens the cardboard of the paper pot.
Note that some water will drain from the bottom of the pot upon watering!
Note also that the paper pots are less sturdy from the bottom when they are wet.  I
recommend using a small plastic or terra cotta container (or clean yogurt cup!) to
prop and support the pots when planting.

Transfer planted pots into freezer bags with zip tops and label.
Seal top to create a warm, moise environment for your seed to germinate.
Note that three paper pots fit well into a sandwich bag.
Set above the fridge or in a quiet, sunny corner to germinate your seeds.
Open bag when seedlings emerge.
Hint: If writing directly on the plastic bag to label, do this before you
fill the bags.  It makes things much easier, and is the one step I often forget!

This Method Is Especially Effective With ~

* Pole Beans
* Bush Beans
* Any variety of Pea
* Tomato
* Cucumbers 
    (Transplanting is super easy - make your mound, dig a central space for the cylinder pots, and insert!)

For more information and ideas for repurposing your recycled goods to benefit your garden ~

No comments:

Post a Comment