Seed Starting Indoors with Biodegradable Newspaper Pots… and a Dog Crate

seed starting indoorsBy Trish Holder

Don’t judge.

I know my seed starting configuration is a little….well….unconventional.  But bear in mind I had two goals:  (1) start a large number of flower seeds with a limited amount of sunny indoor surface area (2) avoid buying anything other than seeds and potting soil.  And the seeds are starting to germinate–so nah-nah-nah-boo-boo!

This is what I do to get past those last dreary days of winter.  I plant flower seeds and try to keep them alive until it is warm enough to plant.

I’ve got a long way to go before my pink, yellow, and unusual blue-colored petunias are the envy of the neighborhood.  My cat may still decide to have a go at these silly looking newspaper pots, and who knows if I’ll remember to keep them watered.  But I’m optimistic—moderately optimistic.  Besides, I desperately need to see some signs of spring after one of the dreariest North Carolina winters I can recall.

A Little Newspaper and a LOT of Seed

As tempting as it was to buy some fancy seed starting kit, I was intrigued by the homemade seed starting ideas I’ve seen on the web lately.  I figured, “Why not turn some trash into little biodegradable pots?”  Okay – so the ones I’ve seen on Pinterest are a lot cuter than mine, but I was going for quantity not quality.  I formed these babies as rapidly as I could by molding squares of newspaper around a shot glass.  It took me about two hours, not including the time it took to wash the newsprint off my hands.

Space is always an issue when you start seeds inside.  This year, rather ingeniously, I solved my space problem with a dog crate, which has been sitting in my office, unused, since we adopted our dog.  Not only can I water through it but it protects at least a portion of my crop from my cat who is no doubt agitated that this thing is now sitting in her favorite sunbathing spot.

So, for the cost of some potting soil and a few dollars worth of seeds, which I bought off of eBay (yeah Baby!), I’m about one quarter of the way to some viable seedlings.

It ain’t pretty, but if I can just keep just half of these little seedlings alive until they are big enough to put in the ground, I’ll have a lot of color in my yard for a fraction of what I would spend buying plants.  And I’ll still be bragging about it by this time next year.

Of Course, It Might Not Work…

You’re skeptical; I can feel it.

So what happens, you wonder, if my crudely formed paper pots don’t hold up?  Or what if I do something really stupid like set them out in preparation for planting the next day only to have them blow away?  (Not that I would ever do something so dumb….)

I’ll confess my failure – hurtful as that might be.  We’re all about transparency here at Greenspiration Home.  And whatever painful lesson I learn, I promise I’ll share with you so you don’t end up looking quite as foolish or disappointed as me.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming pink, yellow, and blue.


2 Responses »

  1. I actually have a crappier idea I have used!
    I have used empty toilet paper rolls.
    Just cut some slits in the end of one side, fold them in and paper masking tape them if you need.
    Fill with soil and plant.
    I then place them in old used but cleaned out “take-home” boxes and let them grow.
    Plant the container and all.

    Have also tried paper egg cartons with soil added
    - or -
    with 1/2 egg shells filled with soil and placed back in the cartons (could use Styrofoam container this way). Be sure to crack the egg shells just slightly just before planting to let the roots out.

  2. I also use toilet paper tubes, rolled newspaper tubes by wrapping newspaper around a shampoo bottle and add tape to hold in place. i place about twenty of these tightly in a plastic pan after wetting bottom with water and folding closed. I add live worms, shredded paper, vegetable scrapes, coffee grounds, and old bread and blend all in a blender minus the worms and fill each tube half full of moist soil mixture. When you have happy worms you have great plants. I use leaves, more coffee ground and grass clippings and shredded newspaper to make my soil. Soon you will have thousands of worms growing from now on with no potting soil needed. place the seeds about half way up the tubes and plant level with the top of the tubes when the plants are about 2 Inches high. Don’t worry about how many seed you plant in each tube, they don’t get over crowded.

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