How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

{This post was first published in 2012 but I thought I’d post it again for those of you who missed it}

Have you ever made your own newspaper pots before? If you haven’t, they are are super easy to make. Some people use tin cans, but I prefer to use the Pot MakerI’ve found I can whip out a batch of 50 pots for my seedlings in about 20 minutes or less.

pot makerHere is a quick tutorial on how to use the Pot Maker.


Cut newspaper strips 4″ by 9″ each. {20 pots = 20 strips of newspaper}how to make a paper pot

Cover pot maker with newspaper and roll.
make your own paper pot

Make sure your paper is wrapped tight around the pot to make a paper pot

Fold the bottom of the paper to make a paper pot

Place the newspaper wrapped pot maker in the stand that’s included with the kit and give it a little to make a paper pot

And a to make a paper pot seedlings

Then slowly remove the newspaper from the wooden pot maker. how to make a seedling paper pot

It’s that easy.
paper pot for seedlings

Add potting soil, seeds and a little bit of water and you’re good to go. DIY-paper-pot-seedlings

These pots are not only easy to make, but pretty thrifty too. Free newspaper √ Free labor √ {have your kids make them} Life is good! Bontanical Interests has the Pot Maker on sale right now for $12.98.

Do you make your own pots or just buy them at the store instead?


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How to Plant Raspberry Canes

raspberry canes

We’ve been growing raspberries in our backyard for 4 years now. 2 years ago we had a bumper crop. Last year, not so much. But after a recent inspection of the canes, things are looking good for this year and we are excited. If you have never grown raspberries before, give them a try. They do take a few years to really get going, but trust me, they are worth the wait.

Brief Description:  Raspberries are a sweet delicate fruit.   An established raspberry patch pays for itself very quickly, as they are typically super expensive to buy.   {If you decide to buy them in bulk as I did, they will look like this.  Basically a bunch of roots.  You can place an order online or simply go to your local feed or hardware store to pick some up.  Individual canes run about $1-4 depending on the variety.  3 years ago I placed an order for 100 Cascade Delight canes I purchased from Spooner Farms in Puyallup, Washington.}

Where to Plant:   Raspberries require 1-2 inches of water per week during the growing season, so plant in an area with adequate access to water.  They need full sun and good air circulation, so avoid planting them next to a building or fence.  

Growing Tips:  Once established, raspberries must be pruned.  Consult with your local nursery on how to prune, as different varieties have different needs.

How to Plant:  I created  7 rows of raised beds each about 8″ high.   I filled the rows with a mixture of old compost and topsoil and covered the roots with about 2″ of dirt.  I then planted the canes about 1′ apart {the experts say plant them 2′ apart, but I’m a rebel}.

raspberry cane how to plant

My raspberry patch  has 7 beds with each bed about 12 feet long.  I left 2 feet between the rows for walking.  I also installed 6′ posts at the end of each row and stung string {you are suppose to use wire} at 3′ and 5′ heights to support the canes.

raspberry patch

How to Harvest:  Pick the berries when they are a deep red color {or whatever color is appropriate for the variety you chose.}  They should be soft, but not squishy.  You should be able to pull them from the cane quite easily, if you need to tug, they are not ready.

My Favorite Raspberry Recipes:  

summer dessert recipes raspberry buckleRaspberry Buckle

how to make raspberry sorbetRaspberry Sorbet

Little Known Fact:  About 90% of all the raspberries sold in the United States come from Washington, Oregon, and California.

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How to Plant Fruit Trees in Your Backyard

How to Plant Fruit Trees in Your Backyard

Fruit trees are best planted when they are dormant–in most locations that means somewhere between November and April.  The key to getting a great crop of fruit from your fruit trees is to have more than one tree, because most fruit trees require cross pollination.  If you don’t have enough space in your yard for more than one tree, try drafting off of your neighbors–think beyond the fence, another fruit tree next door will still provide pollination in your backyard.  Keep in mind, too, that most fruit trees take a couple of years to bear fruit.  So, while you might not get a crop this year, they are an investment in the future {shall we all hold hands and sing at that thought?}

After you have decided on a variety that will thrive in your climate, it’s time to put that sucker in the ground.  Most fruit trees prefer a sunny, well drained area.

how to plant a fruit tree in your backyard

First, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball.  It should be deep enough for the bud union to be slightly above the ground and the root ball to be covered completely.  Fruit trees have varying depth requirements, though, so use this as a guideline and check with your nursery for individual depths.  Depending on your area, you may need to amend the  soil.

Next, place your tree in the hole.  You can throw some bark and mulch into the hole around the root ball to deter weeds from invading your precious little tree’s turf, but it is not absolutely necessary.  Remember that the tree will settle a bit with time and water, so plan placement accordingly.

basket of apples

Finally, back fill the hole with dirt.  Break up back fill dirt as you place it around the tree.  Once you have back filled completely, you can compact the dirt back down with the back of your shovel.  Stake your trees for the first year while they are developing a strong root system.  Dwarf trees typically require support permanently, as the heavy fruit on their small frames can be too much.  Water your newly planted tree thoroughly.

Fruit trees {most trees, really} need religious watering as they establish themselves.  Water thoroughly every 7-10 days in the warmer/hot months.

Now, sit back and enjoy the “fruits of your labors”–ha!



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How to Grow Lettuce {Start to Finish}

mesclun lettuce seed packet botanical interests

This morning I started a flat of  Valentine Mesclun Lettuce and placed it under a set of grow lights in the office. The cool thing about lettuce is you can grow it year round, and you can grow it inside too. Which is awesome in the winter time when the weather pretty much stinks.

picture of lettuce seeds botanical interests

Lettuce seeds are super tiny, and if you are careful one packet of seeds should be enough for an entire season of salad. But, if you are a salad freak like I am, then I would grow as many varieties as I possibly could.  My favorites are Romaine, Buttercrunch, Mesclun, Gourmet Baby Greens, and Oak Leaf lettuce.

romaine lettuce starts{I started this flat of Romaine lettuce I started about 7 weeks ago}

Where to Plant Lettuce:  Lettuce can be planted in garden beds, raised beds, or pots.  It likes cooler temperature and can be planted in a shady area.

recycled wood pallet garden

Planting Seeds:  Plant 1/8″ deep, with 1/4 to 1/2″ seed spacing.  Space rows 6″ apart.

Growing Tips:  Lettuce thrives in milder temperatures, so it is best planted in early spring.  It can be started indoors anytime of year.

picture of lettuce grown in a garden

How to Harvest:  Snap off mature leaves, but careful not to pull up the whole plant.

recipe bbq chicken salad

 My Favorite Lettuce recipeBBQ Chicken Salad with Cranberries, Pecans, and Apples

Did you know the average American eats 30 lbs of lettuce per year?  Holy cow!  How do you think you compare to the average?

Looking for more delicious salad recipes? Check out the book Super Salads: More Than 250 Super-Easy Recipes for Super Nutrition and Super Flavor By Reader’s Digest.

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How to Grow Your Own Food: Planting Radish & Spinach Seeds

With sunny skies and temps in the mid 50’s, Sunday was a perfect day for planing spring crops.  This time around I planted French Breakfast & Crimson Radish seeds as well as Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach from Botanical Interests Seed Company.

The French Breakfast Radish is a new one for me.  I’ve seen these yummy radishes at the farmers market before but I have never tried them.  According to the package I should expect to be pulling up radishes in about a month.  I can’t wait.

And the spinach… Well let’s just say the Handsome Husband will be excited when the leafy greens are ready to be harvested.  Ever since he bought The Girl a blender for her birthday he has turned into a smoothie freak.  The HH intends to make spinach smoothies {oh yum} as soon as it’s ready to be harvested.

Is it just me?  Is he weird?  Have you tried a spinach smoothie before?

My new garden assistant: Big Martha.

I still have about 45 days until the tomato plants are ready to go into the garden boxes {Mother’s Day is the best time to plant tomatoes in the Seattle area}. So I went ahead and planted both the radish and spinach seeds in my raised garden boxes.  Just to be on the safe side though, I planted the seeds about 6″ from the edges as well as down the center of the garden beds.  Although the radishes are supposed to be ready to harvest in 28 days, the spinach can vary from 28- 50 days.

By planting the seeds near the edge of the garden boxes and down the center, if the radish and spinach are not ready to harvest by the time the tomatoes need to go into the ground, everything will be fine.  There will still be plenty of room for my tomato starts.

Planning ahead is key when you are dealing with a limited amount of growing space.  There is nothing worse than planting to much of one item and running out of room for the next.  Tomatoes, potatoes and squash are my first priorities this year.  But with a little planning, I think I’ll be able to fit everything in I want to grow.

Ye–Haw!  Now we’re farming!

Did you get a chance to work in the garden last weekend?
What’s on your to-do list?


Botanical Interests Heirloom Seeds


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