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Monday, March 7, 2016

Leaving Your Plants

Hi guys, I had to go out of town this week, somewhat unexpectedly. I expect to be back by the end of the week, so I started some more seeds before I left: Dyer's Chamomile, German Chamomile, Lemon Mint, Pansies, and Johnny Jump-Ups. I don't think they'll germinate before I get home, so as long as they stay wet, they should be fine in their little greenhouse trays until I get home. I watered my other seedlings well before I left, and I'll ask my husband to check on them tomorrow. He's not interested in plants, so I may ask him to show me the seed trays via video conference or send photos so I can see if they need water - what a great use for modern technology!

When you're going out of town, you can keep your plants watered in a few ways. If you have a sunny bathroom, you can put all your plants in there, fill the bathtub partway, and close the door. The water will evaporate and keep the bathroom humid, which will help your plants survive your absence. 

For seeds or tiny seedlings, you can water them well and then put a clear plastic cover on top to create a mini greenhouse. You might be able to use plastic wrap on top, or put a clear plastic bag over the top of the pot, depending on how tall the plants are. Leave room for seedlings to grow up! If they have to bend over, your plants might be misshapen forever.

For larger pots, you can make a hole in the soil next to the plant, fill a small-mouthed bottle with water and stick it upside down in the hole. The water should come out gradually, as the soil is ready to absorb it. Here are some self-waterers you can buy for larger pots or for outside:

If you live somewhere really humid, you'll probably need to water less than I do! If you're using greenhouse trays or a cover to keep the water in, you can put them on most of the way, but leave a little space for air flow. That will help to prevent mold from growing. 

How are your seedlings growing? We'd love to hear.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Make Your Own Seed Starting Pots

Hi everybody, how are your seeds coming along? I'll update on mine soon (so far, so good!) Where I live (Zone 5, Colorado), it's time to do a lot more indoor planting. I'd love to do it right now! But we're having our 3-year old's birthday party this weekend, so I should probably be cleaning, hiding away everything we don't want our tiny guests to get into, and putting together favor bags. But soon, seeds, I'm coming for you!

If you're getting ready to plant and you don't want to buy seed starting pots, or just want to do a fun little project, you can make some out of newspaper. Here's the video tutorial I followed to make some origami pots:

Use regular newsprint, not the shiny ads. Newspaper pots are great because you can plant the whole pots right in the garden this spring. The roots will push through the deteriorating newspaper and the pots will break down, becoming part of the soil.  

I recommend using four layers of newspaper to start with. I only used two layers for some of my pots and they are already breaking down. We want them to decompose once they're planted in the garden, but not yet!

Here's another method, but it uses tape, which won't break down quickly in the garden. Before you plant the pots, just tear away the tape and throw it away. 


Gather some newspapers and cut or tear rectangles about 9 x 12 inches. Use  four layers of paper. 

Wrap the paper around a cup or can and tape the seam. 

Fold up the bottom edges so that they overlap and tape them to create the bottom. 

Now you can fill the newspaper pots with seed starting soil and place them in a tray or on a plate. Add some water to pre-moisten the soil. Wait at least an hour so the soil can absorb the water. Then you'll be ready to plant seeds.