Plant Some Seeds and Spring Will Come

Despite that there's a raging blizzard going on in Manhattan, I'm going to post about starting my seedlings. It is the first day of spring after all.

A view of the Empire State Building earlier today.
Now you can't see it at all.

I've used all kinds of pots for seedlings over the years—peat pots, egg shells (which is a real pain in the butt if you don't cook), empty water bottles (also difficult if drink tap water) and a complex 'mini-greenhouse.'

This year I'm trying toilet paper rolls. I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it was insanely clever. And it's basically free.

So why not?

The finished pot can be put directly into the ground when your seedling are ready to be transplanted. The cardboard will just eventually break down into the soil (give the pot a good soaking first and open up the bottom).

To make your pots, simply cut four snips about a quarter of an inch long on one end of the roll then fold the flaps over like you were folding a box.

Don't worry if your rolls don't stand up perfectly straight. Once you get some wet soil inside, the bottom will be soft enough to mush into the correct posture.

I used some paper towel rolls cut in thirds as well.

Label your pots right on the side before filling them with soil. I used a non-toxic marker, a wax-pencil will also work.
This year I'm growing three kinds of basil, luffa squash, madder, pennyroyal and soapwort. The leaves of the soapwort will actually lather when you add water and agitate. I'm curious to see what happens when you add dried soapwort leaves to cold process soap. They also have pretty pink flowers.

I get most of my seeds from HorizonHerbs. Really great selection and lots of info about their uses on the website. Herbs I've never even heard of. And they're a bunch of happy hippies who care about the earth.

Once you get your seeds planted and watered, you can corral them in an old silicone cake pan (also known as a soap mold) for easy, mess-free watering. I then put that into an old wooden box (also known as a soap mold), so I could easily move my seedlings from one window to another—and eventually onto the fire escape for hardening off.

I loosely covered my seedlings with cling wrap so the soil would stay moist. My apartment is insanely dry when the radiators are on (how come steam heat makes the air dry?).

And now my seedlings sit in front of a window facing east. And outside the snow continues to fall. But spring is coming. I just know it. It's right around the corner.

Have you started your seedlings yet? What are growing this year?


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