This year I planted all my many sprouts inside of homemade newspaper seed pots. I adore this little DIY project because it upcycles old newspaper and it means I don’t have to buy any additional paraphernalia. However, there is one downside to my beloved paper planters: the leakage.
I discovered this during my first year using them. Every time I watered, I’d end up with a sloppy mess spilling out the bottoms. My answer back then was to line up my seedlings on baking trays, but I knew this wasn’t a permanent solution.
Please meet my new watering can! I know it sounds strange, but bear with me here. It’s actually a perfect hack.
The problem with normal watering is that it’s too hard to control the stream. You end up with a gush of water in one location, that quickly soaks through and out the bottom. But with a spice jar fitted with its little hole-y lid, the water flow is slowed to a sprinkle – just like a miniature watering can!
It’s the perfect upcycled compliment to the perfect upcycled seed pot. Free solutions are the best solutions, don’t you think? I’ve been using this method with my potting table in my living room, and haven’t had a single drop overflow onto the floor yet!
As my seedlings grow I’m filled with a mixture of pride and sadness. I’m so proud of their achievements (drink up that water little root nest! lean towards that light little leaflets! grow little guys grow!), but I’m dreading the inevitable. The thinning out, wherein I am forced to kill the vast majority of them. Shakespeare himself never conceived of such tragedy.
But it’s all part of the process, and so I do my duty as the harbinger of death. I always look for the largest sprout that’s closest to the center of the pot. This gives the little guy the best chance of survival. Thinning is always a risk – if you select the wrong sprout and it dies, then you’re just out of luck. So choose wisely!
I’ve mostly been thinning tomatoes and squashes, which unfortunately go straight to the compost. But remember, many varieties can (and should!) be eaten. Sunflowers, spinach, beets, lettuces and other tender greens, and all the brassicas like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale and other dark greens – these are all contenders for a little spin in the blender. They make a mean green smoothie!
Spring is buzzing along and some of my babies are already big enough to transition outside. This is just a friendly reminder not to shock your seedlings with a sudden move. You’ll need to harden off to slowly to accustom them to the great outdoors.
Another friendly reminder: keep a close watch out for seedling thieves!