Making your own Biodegradable Pots for Seedlings
Planning on starting seedlings? Then why not start them in biodegradable pots? Plus you can just plant out your seedlings in the garden when they are ready. Finally, since we are using little biodegradable pots and we have all sorts of organic material in our everyday trash production, we ought to just make our own pots using that.
Starting seedlings like this are just way better. They can be planted out in the garden without having to remove them from their pots and disturb those fragile young roots. The pot will then decompose right in place, often attracting earthworms, which are always squirming around for a snack. As the pot weakens in the ground, the plant’s roots will be getting stronger and bust through the sides.
Even better, the plants get all of those benefits, and we haven’t created any waste in the meantime. In fact, we’ve creatively used our garbage for the forces of good. Check out these simple and effective options for DIY biodegradable pots.
Cardboard egg cartons can be used to start a dozen seedlings, and then cut apart to plant each one when it's time to plant them in the garden. As with newspaper seedling pots, there's no need to remove the plants from the pots before planting, as the cardboard will break down in the soil as the plant grows.
With a little forethought, citrus fruits like mandarins and lemons (especially when juiced) and avocados can make perfect seedling cups. Just be sure to cut them in half so that the two pieces of rind are well suited to hold enough soil for seeds to get going. Then, by the time the rinds get a little questionable, the plants — pots and all — can go into the ground.
Remember snail and slugs may like beer but citrus works just as well at repelling these little blighters.
Cardboard boxes can also make pretty good starter pots, especially when the soil is abundant or the seed being started needs a little more space for its roots to spread, such as with a small fruit variety or quick-growing tree. The concern here will be the box falling apart before the plants are ready to go in the ground, but with some careful management, these can make dandy plant starters or temporary planters that are a bit more durable. Also, be sure to remove any tape as it isn’t biodegradable.
Not only are radishes a good addition to any meal, but they are also extremely healthy. The pungent flavour and natural spice in radishes can help eliminate excess mucus in the body and can be especially helpful when fighting a cold. They can also help clear sinuses and soothe sore throats. Radishes are also a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system by helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins built up over time. Since they are high in vitamin C, the regular consumption of radishes can aid in preventing viral infections.
Not only are eggplants tasty, they are also very healthy. In addition to containing a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also has important phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidant activity. The phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin.
Cut spinach leaves when they are still oval shaped without snipping off the whole plant. If you continue to take care of your spinach plants you can maintain a perpetual harvest of baby spinach.
Kale loves colder weather but will also tolerate some heat with the sacrifice of making it more bitter. Cold temperatures bring out kale’s sweetness so it is best to grow in the cooler months.
Much like kale, chard prefers cool temperatures. Just like spinach you can harvest the leaves when they’re small to harness a perpetual supply of baby greens. Otherwise let your leaves grow large and harvest a large yield of mature leaves.
Peas are useful if you have soil that is deficient in nitrogen as it fixes some atmospheric nitrogen to the soil. They also appreciate Epsom applications (magnesium sulphate). Much like beans, you can grow bush varieties of peas that do not require trellising. Otherwise, just assemble a simple trellis above your pot using stakes or even strong tree branches.
Carrots prefer a loose, sandier soil, so use extra perlite or whatever your aerating component of choice is in your mix. Once the carrots start to put on some girth, don’t let the soil dry out too much or you risk them cracking. When you see the heads pop up above your growing medium, they are ready for harvest. Don’t wait too long or you will sacrifice that sweet flavour for weight. Sometimes a worthwhile trade off.
Cucumbers prefer to be directly sown and need consistent watering unlike many other vegetables that enjoy the soil drying out a bit between watering’s. Make sure not to get the foliage wet when you are watering as this will reduce chances of contracting fungal disease such as powdery mildew
Note: Growing multiple types of cucumbers side by side is not recommended due to cross-pollination. The quality of fruit will suffer in most cases when multiple varieties cross-pollinate.
Zucchini is fairly simple to grow in a container. Make sure that use at least a 30cm pot per plant as they can become quite large. A plant will only grow as large as its container allows.
Garlic does great in containers and raised beds. It enjoys the loose soil and gives the grower better control of the nutrients in medium.
This group includes chillies. It’s important to fertilise your pepper plants with either all-purpose fertiliser or fertiliser that is designed specifically for peppers.
Amending with Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) will help your typically magnesium deficient plants stay healthy and produce a better yield. Keep your pepper plants in the sun as they grow best in full sun, preferably morning sun.
Growing your own food, particularly when employing the techniques of permaculture saves you money. From a single packet of seeds, you can grow many plants, which can then be propagated for no extra cost. You also avoid paying the costs associated with supermarket food, such as transport, packaging and labour costs.
Offers Exercise and Stress Relief
While a garden is designed so as not to require too much effort, there is always something to do in it, even if that something is just enjoying being outside in nature. While gardening won’t get you in shape for a marathon, walking around to monitor its progress, composting, mulching and pruning all offer a chance for a bit of exercise. The garden also provides a space to get away from the stresses of modern life, offering a meditative place more attuned to the rhythms of nature.
Provides Opportunities for Learning and Teaching
Growing your own food is an opportunity for learning. And as your garden develops so too will your knowledge. You will learn how different elements and inputs of an integrated ecosystem, such as soil, sunlight and moisture, interact to create healthy plants, as well as learning new skills and perhaps something about yourself and the things you consider to be important.
And one of the best things you can do with the things you’ve learnt is to teach them to other people. This could mean getting your kids involved in the garden, so they learn about how food is produced, or helping neighbours to get the most out of their own gardens.
Because it can take years to build/ amend the soil of your yard to retain moisture and boost and support soil microbials when gardening in the ground I am suggesting to use containers, as either pots or raised beds.
Both of these systems will have excellent drainage and aeration. The advantage of this is your plants roots will not rot, fungal and soil borne disease will not be encouraged.
4. Timing is everything when it comes to the garden.
Plants are fussy and are subjective to the “Zone” in which they are planted. Climate change is making things a little more complicated. However, for me, it comes down to where you live. I live in, according to the map, a cool climate. This is not exactly true. The suggestion is to listen to those who are planting and growing in your area now, ask at your plant grower or nursery for what to plant now advice.