Tomato Experiment

I got the idea for my experiment from this book; 1,112 Down-to-Earth Garden Secrets. Unfortunately the book has been discontinued, however when I Googled the title, several places came up where it can be bought used. I used the idea on page 17 - here's an excerpt:

"For each plant...prepare 1/2 gallon wax coated milk carton. Completely open the carton and slice the corners halfway down. Fold down the flaps you created and secure them with rubber bands. When plants {started in peat pots or newspaper pots} have two or three leaf pairs, move them to these cartons. Remove all but the top pair of leaves and cover the stem with potting soil. The stem sends out roots where the leaves used to be."
When the plants have several more pairs of leaves, the process of removing the leaves is repeated. Then you fold up the flaps, tape them in place, and add more soil. The folks who sent in this tip start their tomatoes on April first, and set them out right after memorial day.

I started two Mrs. Benson heirlooms with this method. First, I made the newspaper pots on page 12. Since we buy don't buy milk in 1/2 gallon cartons, I used 1 quart non-dairy creamer containers. I folded the flaps over twice to make them stay down better. I also discovered that the rubber bands around celery worked really well for holding the flaps down. When my garden beds were finally ready to be planted, I put one plant in the veggie garden and the other in a container made for growing tomato plants. The one in the garden did extremely well, and grew much faster and stronger than the rest of the plants. The one in the container did well, although I frequently forgot to water it.

Summary: I am very pleased with the way my experiment turned out, and am planning to start as many vegetables as I can this way next Spring. Here are some links for makeing your own newspaper pots:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
They're all a little different, so pick the one that works best for you!
Here are some pictures of the tomatoes.


kate said...

I quite like starting seeds with newspaper pots. My niece and I made several trays of pots - I love how they can just be plopped in the ground come spring.

Sarah said...

It is very convenient to plant the paper pots in the ground. Besides the faster decomposition rate (as opposed to peat pots) you don't upset the root system as much.