Are you planning this year’s garden? Do you want to get your kids involved? This is a great time to get your seeds ready for transplanting – and your kids can help! Make your own plant pots out of newspapers.
It’s a fun and easy way to up-cycle newspaper. Plants thrive in the D-I-Y pots. When the plant start is ready to move outside, simply plant the pot right into the soil. No need to disturb roots. The newspaper will decompose in the soil, providing more nutrients to your plants.
Here is what you need to get growing in your own newspaper pots.
- Newspapers or paper grocery bags
- An empty container about 2-3 inches diameter. (Jam or spice jars work great.)
- Potting soil
- Tray to set pots on
- Cut strips of newspaper 6 inches wide and at least 12 inches long. Newspaper is great because it decomposes quickly, but you can use other types of paper, such as grocery store bags. The thicker the paper, the longer it will take to decompose in the ground.
- Lay a strip of paper on your working surface. A table or hard floor works great.
- Place the jar on its side with the opening of the jar three inches in from the edge of the paper running lengthwise. The top of the jar will actually be where you form the paper for the bottom of the pot.
- Wrap the newspaper tightly around as you roll the jar.
- Fold the newspaper into the open end of the jar to close off the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the jar and the pot should hold. It might take a couple of tries to get the technique, but once they get the hang of it, kids love to do this themselves.
- Immediately fill with potting soil and place on a tray that you will use to grow the young plant “starts” until they are big enough to go outside. Ask your local garden center for the right type of soil mix for starting the type of seeds you are growing.
- Plant seeds according to directions on packet.
- Water gently. The paper should not get too wet and fall apart before it’s time to plant outdoors. A spritz bottle works great for slowly delivering the right amount of water. Kids like the responsibility of this ongoing task.
- Loosely tie several pots together to help them hold their shape.
That’s it! Many vegetables seeds take a week or two to germinate. To care for the seeds as they sprout, simply keep the soil moist, but not too wet. Use the spritz bottle.
Before transplanting seedlings outside, you need to harden them off. For a few days before you plant them outside, slowly introduce the seedlings to the outside elements. In the morning, place them in a sheltered location with dappled sunlight. Bring them back indoors the evening. When your seedlings have at least two true leaves, you can transplant them outdoors. Water the newly planting seedlings with a liquid fertilizer to reduce transplanting shock.
Your kids will be thrilled to enjoy the harvest from plants they grew, in pots they made.
Do your kids enjoy gardening? Tell us how you involve them in the comments or on our Facebook page!
This piece originally appeared on the KATU Celebrate Oregon Agriculture website. Used with permission.