22 October 2011
For years the process that I followed to produce my veggie seedlings was to put the seeds into punnets, then once they were at the four leaf stage I would fill cardboard tubes with the same home made mix we used to state the seedlings off and then pot on the seedlings into the tubes. I got the tubes from work, they were 800mm long and 60mm wide so I used my band saw to cut them into 100mm long planting tubes. Unfortunately, about 12 months ago, I was retrenched from that particular job so the supply dried up. It took me the 12 months to burn through the tubes I had in storage but all of a sudden i had to come up with something new.
I have been aware of the old newspaper pot trick for years and never had to use it, but with my tubes all gone, the newspaper pot seemed like the answer to a maiden’s prayer, or at least mine anyway. I was concerned that they would not stand up to the task of being moist and full of growing medium for weeks at a time, but they have surprised me! Another surprise has been that the seedlings actually seem to hold better for longer and are happier in the newspaper pots rather than the old tube style, so if you want to follow my ideas give it a go.
So now I suppose you want me to tell you how you can make your own..........and if I wasn’t going to do that the title of this article would be different!
There are apparatuses that you can buy to help you make the pots that consist of a plunger and a base (OK so it is a hopeless description......just look at the photo!) but you can achieve the same thing with a straight sided drinking glass or jar. For the purposed of making the pots to take out seedlings to grow them on before planting out, a base size of 60mm to 80mm would be best.
1. Get hold of some newspaper and cut it into strips 10 to 12 cm wide by about 60cm long (ie the length of an open newspaper page). If the glass you are using is bigger than the recommended 6 to 8cm the strips will need to be proportionally larger.
2. Wind the strip around the open end of the glass with about half the diameter of the glass or a bit more overhanging the edge.
3. Fold the free edge over into the open end of the glass so that it is lying along the inside surface of the glass. Then slide the paper off the open end of the glass.
4. Place the bottom end of the pot on a flat surface and fold down the inner flap of paper to form the base of the pot then reverse the glass and push it into the pot bottom first so you can push down and flatten out the bottom of the pot. This is easier to do if you are working on a firm, flat surface like a table.
5. Job done!
The pot can now be filled with the seedling raising/potting mix and a seedling. Making the pots is easy; you can make a stack while sitting in front of the TV at night and then plant them out as needed.