You can make your own growing pots for seedlings out of newspaper. This will help to get those veggies growing early. As an alternative to expensive peat pots or plastic containers, try this idea courtesy of the California Garden Clubs' Kids Growing Strong program. Some color inks contain metals that may harm foliage, so choose the black-and-white sections over the colorful inserts. The Sacramento Bee's primary inks are biodegradable and safe for plants.
You need a page of black-and-white newspaper, a half-liter plastic water bottle and tape (cellophane or masking work fine). Cut a 5-inch strip of newspaper lengthwise (that's about 22 inches long).
Use the bottle as a mold. Place the bottle sideways on the sheet with about 1½ inches of paper extending past the bottom of the bottle. Roll the newsprint around the bottle into a cylinder. Secure the end with a little tape.
Fold the edge over the bottle bottom and secure with tape. Slide the newspaper off the bottle and you have a 3½-inch-tall pot. Fill with potting mix and plant a seed. Place pot in a tray or saucer and add water.
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When ready to transplant in the garden, you can put the whole pot in the ground; the newspaper will dissolve, just like the peat pot.
Originally published January 10, 2009
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