Make Newspaper Pots to Start Seeds (Plus a bonus tour of my seed starting shelf!) | Tiffany Selvey | Skillshare

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Make Newspaper Pots to Start Seeds (Plus a bonus tour of my seed starting shelf!)

teacher avatar Tiffany Selvey, Passionate Organic Gardener

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      1. Introduction


    • 2.

      2. Gathering Supplies for Newspaper Pots


    • 3.

      3. All-Purpose Soil Mix


    • 4.

      4. Making Newspaper Pots


    • 5.

      5. Starting Seeds


    • 6.

      6. Seed Shelf Demonstration 1


    • 7.

      7. Seed Shelf Demonstration 2


    • 8.

      8. Seed Shelf Demonstration 3


    • 9.

      9. Seed Shelf Demonstration 4


    • 10.

      10. Conclusion


    • 11.

      New Brand and Websites!


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About This Class

There are many ways to start seeds -- and I'm pretty sure I have tried them all! After years of minimal, mediocre success starting seeds indoors, I have finally found a system that works and saves money.

In this class I will teach you how to make seed containers by upcycling newspaper and a can. I will also share my all-purpose soil mix which I use for seed starting as well as for all my house plants and container garden plants. You can save loads by simply making your own soil mix, rather than buying peat disks or premixed potting soil.

We will discuss how to start seeds indoors, and how to create an effective, but frugal seed starting shelf you can put anywhere in your home. I will also give you a tour of my seed starting shelf, which includes (hopefully) every "what" and "why" you need answered to get one started for yourself!

I hope you will join me in this fun class.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Tiffany Selvey

Passionate Organic Gardener


Some of my earliest memories take place in my grandfather's garden. We would walk around this magical place, snacking here and there on whatever was ripe at the moment, and listen to the birds sing. It's safe to say, I have loved gardens my entire life!

In 2012 I got serious about my obsession with gardening and became a master gardener. Since then, I have spent time volunteering in museum gardens as well as teaching a variety of classes including Advanced Master Gardener Training at the local extension office, and basic gardening classes at my library, the Botanical Gardens, the Flower and Nature Society... pretty much any place that will have me! I have spent a few years selling produce, but my real love is teaching others to grow their own.

I firmly believe that... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. 1. Introduction : Hello. Welcome to starting seeds in newspaper pots. I'm Tiffany. I'm a master gardener and obsessive organic gardener. I'm so glad you're considering this class. There are a lot of different ways to start seeds among home gardeners. Pete discs are a popular seed starting option that's easy to find it garden centres. But those looking to grow the healthiest plans should consider a seed starting medium with more nutrients than a single ingredient can provide. While Pete is wonderful, report retaining moisture. The netting around Pete discs combined routes if it doesn't decompose in time, stunting and killing young plants over time. The use of Pete disks can also be kind of pricey. In this class, we will discuss how to make our own scene. Starting medium to using containers we make out of newspaper newspaper is 100% biodegradable and, perhaps more importantly, free from someone you know. Once our newly created newspaper pots are filled with seeds starting medium, we will discuss how did plant seeds and what kind of indoor seed starting shelf were expressed to get those seeds to not only grow, but Dr I will give a detail tour of my personal seed starting shelf and discuss how you can create yours for very little money, probably for less than the cost of plants for your garden this year. I hope you will join me in this fund class where I get to get my hands a little bit dirty. 2. 2. Gathering Supplies for Newspaper Pots: Before we start making our newspaper pots, we must gather our supplies. For this technique. We only need two items newspaper and it can because of the way we make our pots. We don't need anything else like tape to hold them together. After we make our pots, we're going to need a waterproof container for them. Baking pans, casserole dishes in plastic containers. All work well, toe hold our newspaper pots. But my favorite thing to use is a dish pan from the dollar store. They have high sides, which keeps my newspaper pot snug and they fit perfectly under my grow lights. You don't have to purchase anything, though. Just read the kitchen and see what you can find. Okay, So for the second portion of this lesson, we're going to be demonstrating how we begin our newspaper pots. Of course, we have to start with newspaper. So what I like to Dio is open it up and split it straight down the middle. As close as I get it, you're trying to avoid newspaper that just has a lot of color like this has a lot of color you can use. It probably won't do any harm But just to try to minimize the amount of chemicals used in my garden, I probably toss that and focus on these black and white sheets. Okay, so I don't have all newspapers do this, but my local newspaper has nine columns or three columns pretty consistently. So all we need to dio is cut our new newspaper into thirds. So about three colors here and that gives me a guideline for cutting. Turn it around because they've got an ad. 123 These don't have to be perfect. I mean, keep in mind that they are eventually don't going Teoh, uh, disintegrate way. Just want them large enough to hold our containers and maker in this paper pot. So we repeat this activity about 100 times, and then we're ready to start a lot of seeds. 3. 3. All-Purpose Soil Mix: Okay, now that we have our newspaper ready to go, we're ready to start making our containers. So before we get started, I want to discuss a little bit our mart soil mix, so I make my own little mix. It's less expensive than buying seed. Starting mix. This is all really A. It's an all purpose mix that you can use for your house plants, your outdoor container gardens, anything other than really particular plants, like cactus or succulent. They need a little bit different, um, soil. They have different soil requirements, but for our purposes in general, planting my seed starting mix is perfect for almost anything you're going to grow, and it's super simple to make. So I start with one heart topsoil, just the cheap, regular topsoil that you can get at any garden center. One part composted manure. Also super inexpensive. It's usually above a dollar 50 I think, for £50 and then one part of some kind of water retention products. So for Mickey Light is my favorite, but it is a little bit pricey. It's usually about, I don't know, $5 for maybe £8. Pete must you can get for a couple bucks for like £50 and it serves the same purpose. So our top soil is our base medium. It's just be the medium that plants grow in as we know our compost is the food. That's what feeds our seedlings while they grow, keeps us from having to fertilize until we plant. And then, of course, the peat or vermiculite or perlite is another option that just retains moisture helps keep moisture in around those young seedling roots that aren't ready to stretch and reach for water. So those are the three parts of our seed starting mix. As I said, it's good for just about any planting. 4. 4. Making Newspaper Pots: And so we know what we need for this part. Or just two things I've gotta can You can use any kind of soda can. You could use a bottle. I like some of the sort of the longer cans. I don't drink energy drinks, but I think those air kind of tall and skinny, their larger beer cans work fantastically for this. So whatever you've got, but just a regular soda can. Oh, if you drink sparkling water or something like that, any of those will work, right? We just need the bottom. So we're gonna dio is we're gonna take our can and we're gonna place it at about an inch from the base here. So we want enough left so that it will reach just over the center of our can whenever we are right to put the bottom on. So about an inch. And that gives us about 2 2.5 inches upside space, which is more than enough to get our ceilings up and running. I like to have a surface to roll on. You can do this on the floor or tabletop Utkan role in your hand, if that's easier. But what we do under the once we've got our paper rolled around or can look for that seem right there. We're gonna put that down first, and that is just going to help keep our newspaper pot a little more stable. So we fold it all the way around and then repress firmly in the palm of our hand. Okay? No, guys with Twister can out, and we've got a nice little newspaper pot, which I'm gonna fill with soil. You can use a scoop when I have a big pot of soil. I like to use an old mug. Doesn't work quite as well whenever I have cut a small a small bowl for demonstration purposes. But it all works. Like I said, use what you've got. So there's my newspaper pot filled with soil. We didn't need to use tape, No special products. It only takes a couple seconds to make. And after you've made about 30 of these, you're a pro. You can do it with your eyes closed. So what we do is we just keep the bottom, um, supported as we move it into our pan. So I like to use a wash pan, but we discussed some of our options. In a different video, you can use a baking pan. The primary concern is that it's waterproof because we do water from the bottom. We show water from the top and damage our ceilings. Okay, so let's do this one more time. One or two more times we take our can about an inch from the bottom and roll it up way. Take that scene parts. Fold it down. First, make sure reaches the center. You can adjust it a little bit if you need to make sure it reaches the center. Work your way around. Present firmly in the palm of your hand. Twister can out and fill it with soil. Now we've got might lose soil in a biodegradable container. The earthworms love earthworms, love paper, newspaper, cardboard If you go out and put a cardboard on top of the soil in your gardener in your yard after it rains, pull it up and you'll find earthworms. You can look under stumps and find earthworms. They love these paper wood products, so it makes sense that they would like our newspaper pots as they decompose and the benefit of attracting earthworms. Tour plans is that they are constantly working the soil they're loosening at their A rating it, and they're leaving some of the most fertile types of fertilizer in the form of worm castings. So very important. There's too. So we were pain until our container is full. And, you know, like I said, I like to sit in front of a movie and do this first it outside and enjoy the weather and do this for me. It's almost meditative. I love the process. 5. 5. Starting Seeds: as one of the resource is in this class, I have added a list of seats that you can direct so in the soil after the last chance of frost has passed, or those that you can start indoors in plots like these. So our newspaper pots are really ideal for some of the larger plants that we're going to transplant. So these are things like tomatoes, peppers. Okay, so that the big plans that we will play it after it gets warm. If you're wanting Teoh, start some different scenes inside, maybe some smaller seeds to get a head start. We have a different process for that now. Some seeds are better suited for broadcast planting, which means we work up our soil and we just sort of scatter our seeds at an approximate rate. So, for example, let us eat like I have here. I generally like to just broadcast my seat at work of my soil, and I spread them at about a rate of one per square inch. I thin them out over the season. I could eat the thinning, so there's no loss. But I wanted to get a head start on the season and start a few indoors under grow lights. This is how I like to do it. And this is our regular seat starting medium. You can see that I didn't make newspaper pots for these because these air small plants and I'm just gonna pop them out whenever there I'm ready to transplant. They're only gonna be maybe two inches tall, as opposed to our tomatoes, okra, peppers that are gonna be 4 to 6 or more inches tall. Okay, so that's the big difference here. Um, and I could start a lot in a small space. So whenever I'm starting something like, um cabbage, mustard, lettuce, you could do this with broccoli and cauliflower, just some of the smaller plants. OK, so what I'm doing is I've taken a salad container from the store and filled it up with my seed starting mix. And so I'm gonna make just the tiniest intention with my finger, and I like to do offset. So bottom, bottom, Middle, so that they're all just about an inch apart. But we're making the most of the space that we have isn't. I've got my teeny tiny legacies here, and I'm just gonna take a pinch in just a teeny tiny pinch. Um, 3 to 5 scenes is more than enough. So I'm gonna put those in the small inventions that I've made here. And rather than pour water in this, you can just miss the surface of the soil. So you can do that, or you can very gently water. This is really important, of course, that we don't over water this because this is a watertight container. 6. 6. Seed Shelf Demonstration 1: Now that we have our seats started and our new frugal newspaper containers, we need to make sure that they have the right conditions to sprout. So I'm gonna share with you my seed starting shelf. I've been using this this'll process for years, and you know, it has not failed me. Um, this year I just added heat mets for my seedlings, which allows me to start seeds that prefer conditions just a little bit warmer than I normally provided my house. So we're talking about seeds like eggplant, peppers, okra, tomato, um, the rial heat lovers. So this is my seat shelf. You can see I've got sort of a standard stainless steel shelf, and I only picked this shelf because it is displayed in my living space in our den area. So it's inside my house. I wanted a shelf that looks kind of nice. During the off season, I take the lights down. We just use it for storage, for blankets or whatever. So it's sort of a dual purpose shelf. So this shelf was about $80. It's four feet wide, six feet tall, I think, um, and has been very useful and will last forever. I love the slats because it makes it really easy to hang my lights and adjustable hooks. I'll show you that and close up in just a moment. Um, but you could use any shelving unit that you have. You could build one from would you could buy cheap plastic ones from the store. The only thing that's really important, they must be able. It's gonna close up here so they really must be able Teoh hook our lights so my chains are adjustable, and that's because my plants grow and it's really important whenever you're setting up your seeds to start that, those lights stay just a few inches above the top of the ceiling. So as my seedlings grow, it's really easy for me just to raise my light so that they're always just a few inches above the top of the ceiling. And what this does is allows the seedling to grow stockier, more robust stems. If we have our light source too far away from the tops of our seedlings, those seedlings try to grow faster. They struggle to reach the light, so we want a strong he's light source, just the top of them so they're not reaching once. If if we have maybe tomato plans or peppers that air reaching for light, they get what we call leggy stands really been long. They're just not very healthy or robust plans. And so having adjustable lights like this and having a shelf that allows for that really helps us getting much stronger plants from the very beginning and stronger, healthier plants mean fewer pest and disease issues throughout the season. 7. 7. Seed Shelf Demonstration 2: so you can probably tell that my lights are simple fluorescent shop lights, Nothing fancy. Unless you're trying to grow some kind of plants to maturity indoors, you really do not need expensive led lights. Each of these I think they're called ballast. Each of these light fixtures are about $10. I got mine. I think, at Walmart um, the set of light bulbs which last forever. And I think they come in a package of 12. They were something like $12. They'll probably last me forever. This this this whole set up will probably actually outlast mean, So it's certainly valuable for years and years, and it really begins to pay off after 5 10 years of using the system. So I never encourage anybody to spend more than they have to whenever they're starting seeds. So let's just keep it simple. A basic shelf, some fluorescent shop lights and you can see, as we've mentioned in our other video, these air washtubs from the dollar store. And I don't know if you can see I just started thes tomato seats four days ago and they're already starting to sprout, which is super exciting. This is a new variety. For me, it's called a lollypop tomato. It's a little cherry tomato. I'm hoping it lives up to its name in terms of sweetness. Now, below my tomato plants are my heat mats. 8. 8. Seed Shelf Demonstration 3: So this is a heat mat. It stays warm. Now I've got Of course, I've got this wire shelf. So in order to keep my heat going up toward my plants and not losing heat below, I've got this sitting on a piece of wood. So if you're using a shelf that has wires or slats like I've got, you're gonna need something solid a piece of plastic. Please don't get very hot. I mean, it's maybe Oh, gosh, I don't know, maybe 80 degrees. Um, so you know, there's not any danger of the setting my wood underneath on fire. This is what these are made for. So they are meant to be on a solid surface. And it does say that on the mats and in the literature that comes with them. No, I've got my whole system set up on a very, very basic all in one plug. So you know, the downside of having these cheat lights is that they don't have an on and off switch. So after they've been on 0 910 hours a day, I do come over here and I actually unplug it. I have the whole thing turned off um, And if I didn't have my heat mats plugged into this, If I had my heat mats plugged into a different, um, power strip, then I could actually just turn this whole thing off at night instead of having to plug in and unplug everything. So that is definitely an option. Obviously, I need my heat mats on all night to keep my soil temperature consistent throughout the night and day. We want warm, consistent soil. So for that reason, you could certainly divide it up. And that's really probably what I should have done. And I may still do just to make it easier to flip everything on and off at night. But it's not too difficult to unplug. So, you know, you work with whatever you've got available. So this is what my office and didn't space looks like mostly during the day. Ah, it's very well eliminated. And you might also notice I didn't mention this, but I do have my lights doubled up. So if you're on a really super strict budget, you can single, you can use a single light and you'll still get good germination. Um, I happened tohave all of these lights so I just went ahead and doubled it up. You can also, You can easily just turn your your wash pan sideways and you're still going to get all of the life that you need. 9. 9. Seed Shelf Demonstration 4: So what? It's time, Teoh water my plants. I like to use a really technical products that's hard to come by. I use a regular milk jug, right, because it's got the small spout, which makes it very easy. Teoh, um, aim into the side of our pants so we don't want Teoh water on top of our ceilings, right, because they're so tiny. There's so delicate that a big flow of water could easily break the stem and will if you water from above. So what I like to dio is used my milk Judd. And this is what I dio when I first start seeds in order to avoid displacing them. Because again that flow of water can move your seeds around, bring him to the surface, maybe send them down too far so that you don't get good germination rates. So just avoiding the flow of water on top of these tender or particularly placed seeds and seedlings, we water from below, and that's the benefit of having the washtub. The washtub is, of course, uh, waterproof right. The water can't drain out of it, and one of the benefits of using newspaper is that the newspaper does wick water to the surface, so we feel the basin with water, and that water slowly but surely works its way to the surface. One of your first starting scenes. Just water until keep adding water until these surface is wet and we want our soil pretty darn damp while we're waiting for germination after we get germination, then we let it dry out just a little bit. But we still want to keep it pretty moist, certainly consistently, while the plants grew their roots. Okay, so that's it for my seed starting set up, you can see it's very simple, very basic. There's nothing here that you need Teoh order from a fancy store. I think the most complicated thing, um, in the hardest to get for me was the heat mats. But here's a pro tip. You can get these pretty cheap on eBay or Amazon. I scored mine on eBay for about $13 each, which I thought was a fantastic deal, because if you go to some place, if you go to a garden center or some of the fancier Gardiner websites there, about $30 apiece and these are the one that I've got they do come in different sizes. The one I've got, I think, is something like 10 inches by 19 inches. End if it's too washed. Hubs almost perfectly, very snug, Very convenient, very inexpensive. So there's my seat starting set up. Be sure to leave me a comment if you have a question or if I've missed anything. I love to answer your questions. Thanks so much. 10. 10. Conclusion: Starting your own seeds is a great way to save money in the garden. Don't lose all those savings by wasting money on expensive seed starting products when these newspaper pots work better when I'm starting seeds during the cold days of winter, I like to put on a favorite movie set on my living room floor and crank out a few containers of newspaper pots. When it's warm outside, I park myself in the sun and listen to the birds while I fill my containers. Regardless of wouldn't you were starting scenes. These newspaper pots are a cheap and easy way to get those plants started. Thank you so much for taking this class and please post any questions you may have. I hope you'll come visit my website at the restoration garden dot com, Or you can find me on Instagram at Restoration Garden and Facebook at facebook dot com slash the restoration garden. Don't forget to take some time today to find joy in the garden. Thank you so much for watching 11. New Brand and Websites!: Hi students. I just wanted to let you know that my brand has changed. So instead of fighting me at the restoration garden, you can find all new content on my website at simple gardening Ws. You can also find me on Instagram at slash symbol gardening and WA and slash symbol learning in WA.