Friday, March 25, 2011

Paper Pots & Indoor Seeds

We don't need to spend the better part of a twenty dollar bill on one of these to make a paper pot for your seedlings.  They're cute, but are you going to start seeds again next year?  Are you going to be able to find the parts to it, when you need it,  and at the same time?  Wouldn't you really rather spend that money on your garden?

Paper pot maker
There are some great thrifty alternative ideas online.  You could also call them "green!"  I bumped into my first "discovery" on Cottage Hill, which triggered another research assignment.  Hence today's timely post. 

Robert Gatz, the Chicago Gardener and Lindy from Cottage Hill had the same idea  Lindy uses soup cans while Robert uses a spice jar. 

Nettle's Notes and Bonzai Aphrodite both use toilet paper tubes.  This is a quick and easy paper pot that the kids can help out with.

First, be sure you're choosing seeds that really need to have a head start.  I can only speak up as a zone 4 gardener.  I know that there is no need for me to go through all the effort for spring crops such as:

Brussels sprouts

Backyard Gardener has some good information to help you determine and learn about your zone.

Start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.
For us, that's right now.

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Your seeds will want:

southern sunlight or cool-white florescent bulbs

80-85°F soil temp

clean containers with good drainage

a tray in which to keep your seeds

soiless mix = peat 4 parts, vermiclite 4 parts, perlite 1 part - 4:4:1

 * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your seedlings will need it warm and moist, but not wet.

Place a few seeds in each container.

Follow directions on seed packet for depth of planting.

Cover with plastic wrap to help keep from drying out.

Check twice daily and use a mister to gently moisten with warm water.

Do not fertilize.

 * * * * * * * * * * * *

Less heat and more light as seedling emerge and first leaves begin to open.

Now you may mist with half-strength fertilizer.

Remove the weakest seedlings from each pot.

Begin "hardening off" in April.  Gradually let sit outdoors, a couple hours each day.

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!