Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jump starts

I try to start as many plants indoors as possible in order to extend the growing season, conserve space, not waste seeds, etc.

Newspaper pots rock. It is a origami type folding that is simple, square shaped (so they fit great in my trays) but a bit time consuming. You can store them flat, so you can make them during the off season when the desire to do something for the garden is not a weather reality.

Single thickness and it is basically a soil block. Double thickness makes them easier to move without need of a spatula. The roots of any plant can go through single and double thickness like a hot knife through butter. If you can fold a paper airplane, you can make these pots.

Peas are one that the success rate can be greatly improved, and the newspaper pots do the trick. They like cold weather, often best germination is when the soil is at 50 degrees, but this time of year wetness can also rot them with the temperature fluctuations. Soaking the peas overnight and planting them in newspaper pots with a touch of bean inoculant just under the pea (the inoculant is a nitrogen fixing bacteria that attaches to the peas' roots), then cover with an inch of soil and keep damp. No grow lights needed because when you see them popping up you can move them right into the garden. Snow is not a bother to these plants and you can gain a week or two of growing time just by doing this. No thinning needed, no gaps from unsprouted seed. The trick is to make sure you fill that little newspaper pot up to the top with pre-dampened soil and then bottom water the tray. When you transplant, make sure the whole pot is under the soil (otherwise it could act like a wick and evaporate the moisture from the soil.

Is it a pain in the butt? You betcha!! Well, only if you don't have pots premade really. Transplant shock is minimal so even squash, beans, leek and other finicky transplanters can be started.

Well, I do it a bit different as I found a couple of tricks to make it more exact and easier, in a few different sizes that fit my trays exactly, but this is essentially it in this video. TY Tiffany for taking the time to make this video. How to make a newspaper pot.

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