20190320_mom_paperpots

Start seeds in "green" pots made from newspapers Kiley Cruse/The World-Herald

I get some of my most creative ideas while working in my garden. Like using origami paper folding techniques to make seed starter pots for the Master Gardener Speakers Bureau at the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. Seeds for your own project can be found at area garden shops, hardware stores, grocery stores, online and through the Omaha Public Library Common Soil seed library.

THE BASICS

A seed packet typically has the following information: germination (how soon the seed will sprout), how deep to plant the seed, days to maturity, sunlight requirements, watering requirements and transplanting recommendations. It also should tell you whether the plant is an annual, a perennial or a biennial.

Most first-time gardeners enjoy a flower that will sprout fairly fast, such as an annual, which will last for one season. Annuals such as sweet alyssum, celosia, cornflower or bachelor button, marigold and cosmos sprout within five to seven days. Nasturtium typically sprouts in 10 to 12 days. Starting vegetables from seed is easy for inexperienced gardeners as well. Arugula, spinach, baby carrots and radishes sprout quite fast.

WHAT YOU DO

1. Start with a single sheet of newspaper, about 22 inches by 11 inches. Fold into box according to the instructions found in the video above.

2. Using a waterproof marker, write the name of the plant and the date the seeds were planted on each newspaper pot.

3. Plant seeds according to packet directions. Note: Soil-less mixes provide a great medium for seed starting as they are porous and harbor fewer diseases than ones that contain garden soil.

4. Place your pots on an old cookie sheet and set indoors in a warm, sunny area or under a grow light on a seed starting warming mat.

5. Water gently and keep the mix moist, not soggy.

6. Resist touching the seedlings as they sprout. They are very delicate. The initial set of green leaves are from the seed not the plant. Once you see the second set of green leaves, the plant is off to a good start.

7. When the seedlings are about 5 inches tall, transplant them outside. Get the seeds used to being outdoors first by putting them in a semi-sunny place against the wall of the house or patio for about a week. This step is called hardening.

8. Dig a 5-inch-by-5-inch hole, about 3 inches deep, and gently set the seedling pot in the ground using an old spatula. Gently tear open or cut the outer corners of the box to allow room for the plant’s roots to establish themselves. Water regularly and watch your seedlings thrive!

Source: “DIY: Newspaper Pots for Seed Starting/Cuttings” by Crouton Crackerjacks, 2014.

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This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of the Momaha Magazine. 

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