photos by Jess Draper
photos by Jess Draper
Easy — and free — seed-starting pots can be placed into a standard seed flat or whatever salad clam shell, large food storage container, etc. that you may have on hand. The only supplies needed are a couple copies of The Nugget (it’s printed with non-toxic soy-based inks, in case you’re wondering) that you’re done reading, an empty toilet paper roll (or tomato paste can), scissors, pencil and a ruler. If you have kiddos, this is a fun activity to do together — my 4-year-old had a great time and was especially good at filling the pots with soil using an old coffee scoop.

Measure and mark three-inch vertical strips on your paper.

Cut the strips — I found about 10 sheets easy to cut through at once. Repeat until the paper (excluding folded spine) is all in three-inch wide strips.

Position a strip perpendicular to the toilet paper roll with approximately one inch overhanging the end of the roll. Wrap the strip around the roll the entire length of the strip, not too tight or it will be difficult to slide off.

Fold over the portion extending past the roll to create the bottom. Pinches the edges a bit so the form holds then pull the paper off the roll.

Gently fill the pots with seed starting mixture all the way to the top, firm the soil so they are good and full. We used an old coffee scoop to make filling them easier.

Line the filled pots up in your tray. Add seeds of your choice according to package directions — pay attention to planting depth, temperature required for germination, and how soon you should start seeds indoors before the last frost date. (In Sisters there may not be a “last frost” date, but when the snow is off of Black Butte you should be OK to put your plants out with protection as needed.) I just started my tomato seeds for now. In a few weeks I’ll start cucumbers, peppers, and zucchinis.

Remember that drainage is key to seed starting success, as is keeping the soil moist and warm. A sunny kitchen window usually works for me. Some folks like to get the germination started on top of the refrigerator for added warmth.