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Simple, Self-Reliant, Sustainable Living

Tag: Gardening

Seed Starting–How to Make Paper Pots Out of Newspaper

The New Seed-Starters Handbook

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©2012 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)

Have you ever wanted to start your own seeds?  Seed-starting is easy and fun and you can make your own paper pots to start them in!  Recycling newspapers to make seed pots will use up that pile of newspapers you’ve saved and they will decompose in the ground when you plant your new seedlings, adding compost into your soil.

Many seedlings transfer well from their first pot and going directly into the soil.  But there are some like squashes and watermelons that don’t like their roots disturbed, so growing them in a paper pot and transferring the seedling, pot and all, is less traumatic for them.

Paper pots are easy to make and within a few minutes you will have a full flat made up ready to plant your first seeds!

How to Make Paper Pots Out of Newspaper

Materials needed:


Tin can (soup can, tomato paste can…) the size of can determines the size of pot

  • Cut one page off from a section of newspaper
  • Fold the page in thirds, lengthwise
  • Cut the thirds into 3 long strips—this is enough to make 3 pots

To make the paper pot:

  • Lay the tin can at one end of the paper strip, leaving an inch of paper not covered by the can
  • Wrap the end of the strip around the can, and roll up towards the top
  • When its rolled up, hold onto the side seam as you fold the ends on the top of the can inward
  • Place the top end with the folded edges down on the table and press hard to crease the paper into place
  • Slide the can out of the paper pot
  • Fold the top edge to the inside to secure the side seam
  • Now you have your paper pot!

Starting Seeds

  • Fill the paper pots with soil
  • Plant the seeds in the pots
  • Place the pots in a plastic tray
  • Do not water the pots… pour water in the tray (about ½ inch deep), and the water will soak into the paper pots

Plantings the Seedlings

  • Dig a hole the size of the paper pot
  • Place the pot in the ground
  • Cover with dirt.  Be sure to cover the top of the paper pot so water does not evaporate from the pot.  Make sure all paper is covered.

Good luck on a new season of gardening!

Enjoy this video by Dave’s Garden on how to make paper pots from newspapers.

Dave’s Garden:  Gardening:  Making Paper Pots


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How to Plan Your Garden Food Production for Self-Sufficiency


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©2011 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)

When you are new to trying your hand at growing your own food, it can be daunting to know where to begin.  How do you plan a garden for food production?  Is it possible to become self-sufficient in a short time?  It’s understandable to want to grow everything your first year.  Experienced gardeners and homesteaders know, from trial and error, that it’s best to get into self-sufficiency one task at a time.

Take these steps to learning how to plan a garden for self-sufficiency and build on them each year.  Before you know it, you’ll be providing a year’s worth of food on your own land:

  • Grow High-Value Fruits and Veggies—What do you consider value?  Flavor?  Freshness?  Or savings on expensive varieties from the supermarket?  You can save money and enjoy flavors by growing varieties that can’t be found in grocery stores.
  • Get the most out of the seasons—Make use of late winter/early spring by using cold frames, tunnels, cloches and other devices to stretch the season and grow more food.  You can get a head start on spring salads by at least a month.  Extend your fall crops by using row covers to protect them from frost and deer.  Extend both seasons to grow more cold-tolerant greens and root crops for food production.
  • Grow early-bearing fruit and berries—Grow June-bearing strawberries and early raspberries.  You can put these up in your freezer before canning veggies take over the kitchen.  In the fall, there are late-ripening raspberries and apples that come after the hectic food preserving frenzy of summer.
  • Utilize what grows in your climate—Some crops will be easy to grow in your area while others can be a challenge.  Soil type also determines what will grow where you live.  If carrots don’t grow well in your area, but beets thrive, then grow a small patch of carrots and all the beets your family can eat.  This takes you in the direction of self-sufficiency.
  • Grow your beverages—Mints, sage, raspberry leaf and nettles make delicious and healthy teas.  Even rhubarb stalk makes a tea that tastes like lemonade.  Learn to make your own sodas, hard cider and wine from berries and fruits.Food4Wealth
  • Grow perennials—Perennials come back every year and this save you in time and maintenance.  Just weed, fertilize and mulch.  Asparagus, rhubarb, sorrel, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, bunching onions and bamboo shoots are just some of the possibilities.  Find out which ones do well in your area.
  • Choose varieties that grow in your area—Talk with gardeners around you to see what varieties grow well and produce high-yields.  It’s frustrating to spend all summer tending to a tomato plant and only harvest a few tomatoes at the end of the season when a different variety would have produced an abundant harvest.
  • Grow Herbs—Culinary herbs like dill, basil, rosemary, sage, parsley and mint add flavors to foods for canning and freezing.  They are easy and inexpensive to grow.
  • Don’t overplant one type—Yes, you can grow too much of a good thing!  It’s easy to overbuy at the greenhouse on too many tomato plants.  Don’t plant 50 when 10-15 plants will supply 2 people with a year’s worth of frozen, canned and dried tomatoes.  The only reason to grow more would be to sell at farmers markets.
  • Grow something new—You don’t have to grow it all your first year.  As you grow in knowledge and experience, add something new each year and keep learning.  If something failed to grow in spring, see if it grows better as a fall crop.

Growing enough food to preserve for a year or more is a fine goal and achievable, but there is a learning curve if you’ve never done it before.  Take one step at a time and build on your knowledge each year.  Before you know it, you will have a pantry and cellar full of shiny jars of food you grew and preserved yourself!


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Food4 Wealth … Suburban Permaculture Style Gardening

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©2010 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)

How would you like to set up a garden that takes minimal care, little to no weeding, no digging, and is environmentally and ecologically friendly?  Permaculture is a sustainable method of gardening that takes the whole ecological system into account, whether it is your back yard or a forest garden, so that all the elements in the garden design work together.  In Jonathan White’s instructional book and video, Food4Wealth, you will discover methods of gardening that are do-able and sustainable to grow food for yourself year ‘round.  In this book you will discover:

  • How you can create your garden to regenerate itself year after year
  • Use wastes from your household to fertilize your garden
  • Grow more vegetables and fruit than you can eat—so you can preserve it or sell it
  • Learn how to grow food in any type of soil
  • How to have a weed free garden
  • Know how to set up a garden that repels pests, naturally
  • Grow all your food organically

If you want more control over your food and your health   Click Here!  to learn more about Food4Wealth.



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