The Spring Equinox took place two days ago on March 20 and ushered in many reasons for celebration. If you're an avid gardener like myself you know that its high time to celebrate sprouting vegetables. The time has come if you are planning to grow Tomatoes, Peppers, Broccoli, or Celery (amongst others) from seed. The next batch includes such favourites as Lettuce, Squash and Melons. Here in my Northern climate (zone 4) it's important to sprout certain plants in order to ensure they have a sufficiently long growing season and to circumvent the final frost of the year (May 13). This year I debated about how I was going to equip myself. Even though I've been gardening in varying degrees for many years I don't have a full kit of trays and pots. Since I'm keeping to a budget and I don't want to purchase plastic trays I could eventually salvage I decided to try paper pots. In two separate gardening catalogues and subsequent websites I saw paper pot makers for sale. Since I own a lathe and love wood-turning I decided to make my own. I used scrap wood and firewood to make two models (55mm & 35mm) based on the sizes I saw in the catalogues.
Making the pots proved quite easy. It a perfect activity to do while watching a movie on the couch. Wrapping the paper strips twice around the wooden form seems to ensure they will hold their shape. When the two wooden pieces are pressed into one another the paper is folded to conform to the mating profiles of the wood. It's this fold that creates the structural integrity.
I've used a potting mix of coir (a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut) and perlite (naturally occurring volcanic glass). Coir is a wonderful alternative to Peat Moss. Since neither of these materials contain any nutrients I'm going to have to enhance my water once the sprouts gain their true leaves. I will either make a compost tea or invest in some sea kelp.
As it is, 5 days after seeding, the pots have held up well. Since I have them trapped in a mini "Greenhouse" they are entirely wet all the time. I really do hope they continue hold up well - I've entrusted my entire crop to this method. Fingers Crossed!