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Make Your Own Biodegradable Seed-Starting Pots

| 3/16/2012 11:31:45 AM

'Tis the season to start garden seeds indoors! We can save tons of money by starting garden seeds indoors to transplant into our spring gardens. Most seeds require a few weeks to grow before it's time to set them out. Considering we're a few weeks out from the last spring frost date in many parts of the country, now's the time to start those early seeds.

Seed StartingThis morning I went on the news here at one of our local stations (you can watch the video here) to talk about starting a spring garden. I shared the information about starting seeds indoors from the current issue of Natural Home and Garden — which provides a planting guide worksheet that will tell you when to start seeds and plant seedlings all season long (read the article to learn how to use it). On the news show, I also talked about using biodegradable seed-starting pots. I didn't have time to discuss or demonstrate this in the 3-minute news segment, but another very cheap and easy way to use biodegradable seed-starting pots is to make them yourself out of newspaper.

Making a newspaper seed-starting pot is unbelievably easy. Essentially, you just fold a piece of newspaper in half, roll it around a soda can and then tuck in the ends on one side to form a bottom. Voila! Instant, plantable seed-starting pot. Blogger Mr. Brown Thumb gives more detailed instructions on his blog here, as well as instructions to create seed-starting pots out of old cardboard toilet paper rolls.

If you want to make a bit more sophisticated newspaper pots, you can buy the handy dandy seed-pot maker from Uncommon Goods, which is pictured.   

Need another adorable seed-starting pot option (and one that's a great craft to do with kids and will also provide you with omelet makings)? Make eggshell starter pots we featured a few years ago. We wrote the article about growing herbs, but you can start any seeds in eggshells then plant them directly into the ground.

4/1/2012 8:07:00 PM

The resins & tar in the newsprint paper are carcinogens- if exposure is way higher than you can get from the paper. We're exposed to naturally occurring carcinogens more frequently than to man-made carcinogens. Celery, for instance, is loaded with psoralens- highly toxic ( in high concentrations) but isn't celery a "health food"? Water and oxygen are toxic in high concentrations. There are no poisons, only poisonous doses.

Gaynell Belloni
4/1/2012 5:17:09 PM

In our area, the newspaper ink is made from soy so guess we're lucky, you might want to check it out in your locale. I use newspaper to line all of my planting pots to help retain moisture. The newspaper pots are a great idea, and one I will try, but like the toilet paper tubes idea too. My mother always used toilet paper tubes for appliance electrical cords when storing. Just loop up the cord and stick it in the tube.

3/21/2012 11:38:02 PM

Try this instead...take a cardboard toilet paper tube, lay it down and perforate it with several holes with an ice pick (for drainage and root exits)...on one end make a slice about 1/2 inch deep on four sides...fold down the four tabs and interlock (like closing a cardboard box)...this makes the bottom. Stand it up, fill with soil, plant your seed and water. The cardboard will wick the water from the soil so keep an eye on it to see it stays damp. When the seedlings sprout undo the tabs and plant the entire biodegradable tube in the garden. Voila, a seed pot with no chemicals. :-)

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