Zero-Waste DIY: How to Grow Seedlings Using Newsprint
Zero Waste DIY: How to Grow Seedlings Using Newspaper Pots
The idea of using newspapers for growing plants is not new. But it was only recently that the technology became available which made it possible to do so with ease. The most common method of doing this involves using newspaper or other printed matter as a substrate for growing plants.
There are several advantages to this method. One advantage is that it does not require any special equipment such as lights, water, soil or fertilizer. Another advantage is that it requires very little space since the plants will simply grow into the paper substrate. Finally, there are no chemicals used in the process either which means less waste and pollution.
In order to make this method work effectively, one must first decide on a suitable medium for growing your plants. A good choice would be some type of newspaper. You could use newspapers which have been folded and then cut up into strips.
These strips can be found at any supermarket or department store. Alternatively, you could try using newspapers which have already been folded but not all the way through, these papers may come in handy if you want to grow something like lettuce or spinach.
Another option is to use recycled materials such as old magazines, office paper, card stock etc. Again, you can cut these up into strips depending on what you are growing. You could also try planting the seeds right into these materials if they are flat enough or just break them up a bit first for added aeration.
Once you have chosen your medium and prepared it, you are ready to get started. Fill up a tub or bucket with water and add a bit of plant food or fertilizer to it. Soak your substrate in this water for about an hour or so.
This will allow it to become fully saturated and easy to handle. After this, drain off as much water as you can and leave it to drain for a few minutes.
Arrange your substrate material into flat plates which are at least 4 inches thick. Smaller plants such as lettuce and radishes should be placed closer together than larger plants such as tomatoes and cabbages. Once you have arranged the substrate, take your seeds and sprinkle them evenly over the surface of the material.
Once again, closer spacing is better for smaller plants while larger plants will require more space.
Once you have done this, leave the plates somewhere warm until the seeds start to sprout. This could take anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks, time will vary depending on seed type and other conditions. Once the seeds start to sprout, it is time to transfer them to their final growing locations.
There are many options when it comes to growing locations. You can plant the seedlings in small pots or plant them directly in the ground. Best results are usually achieved by planting the seedlings in small pots and transplanting them later on into the ground or another more suitable location.
If you decide to plant the seedlings directly into the ground, be sure to use a good quality seed starter mix and plant them at least 6 inches apart. Water the soil well after planting. If you are transplanting the seedlings into pots, fill the pots with your seed starter mix and make sure that they are well moistened before planting. Water again after planting.
Caring for your newly planted seedlings is fairly easy. Keep them watered well and watch them grow. If you planted them directly in the ground then you also need to keep the area free of weeds.
That is really all there is to it. Once they start growing it is really very simple. Just keep them watered and free of weeds an they should thrive.
Once your plants start to produce flowers, this is the sign that they are ready for harvest. If you want to keep the seeds going for next year then be sure to save a few of the pods after they are completely ripe.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Environmental and health impact of solid waste management activities (RE Hester, RM Harrison – 2002 – books.google.com)
- Building with reclaimed components and materials: a design handbook for reuse and recycling (B Addis – 2012 – books.google.com)
- Cultural capital among zero waste consumers. (A VanRemoortel – 2018 – digitalrepository.wheatoncollege …)
- Thinking Out of the Box for Sustainable Fashion Design (C KOUNTIOU – researchgate.net)
- Composting Food and Yard Waste: A Guide for Individuals, Non-Profits, and the City of Buffalo (R Mize – 2012 – digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu)