Saturday, April 28, 2012

Start with a Pink Bucket

1.  Equipment: Potting soil, newspaper,
wine bottle with straight sides.

It's been going on for days.  When the seedlings from the indoor nursery have moved to the outdoor greenhouse play pen and begin to get their legs, it's time for their own pot.

2. Take a section of the newspaper, cut off the fold (paper cutter
is great), cut the sheet in half vertically so your resulting
sheets are about 5 1/2 x 23".  Wrap paper around the bottom
end of the wine bottle covering about 3" of the bottle.

I'm such a tender-hearted fool.  Not one of all the seeds stuffed into one tomato-seed hole failed to take hold.  And who am I to cut them off after such valiant effort?  Not me.

3. You want enough paper hanging over to fold/moosh into the
center cavity to "secure" the bottom.  Gently slide out the bottle.

The arithmetic tells the story: planning on 9 Oregon Spring Bush tomato plants--9 holes times 4 seeds equals 36.  And that is the way it went for nearly all the seeds I started. So I've been potting up tomatoes, cucumbers, zinnias, eggplant and peppers--114 all together--I just counted them.  It's taken days to settle them all in.
4. Quickly add a generous scoop of soil before the paper
changes its mind and decides to be flat again.

A meditative process, it is, scooping out the little clump of plants, talking to them sweetly and tugging gently to separate them from each other, then tucking them snugly into their new homes.  And that is where the rub comes: new homes for 114 plants!  Don't think I've ever had that many little pots to reuse--maybe if I'd saved them for ten years, but I haven't.

5. Add your seedling, more soil to snuggle it in.  Press it down
to remove air cavities around the roots.  Water lightly.

Here's where the straight wine bottle is a huge help.  First you drink whatever is left in the bottle.  Then, if you are able, follow the rest of the instructions--the pictures will help no matter what state you are now in.

6. These lettuce boxes hold six plants nicely and help keep the
sides of the pots moist.  WARNING:  this type of pot dries out
 rather quickly.  Keep an eye on them and water as needed.

 You really must begin with a pink bucket.


  1. The pink bucket is the key ingredient. One year we had 80 tomato seedlings grow up. We've been more selective in recent years.

    1. Glad you are as wise as I about the color! Eighty! Well, I'm not that far over the top, but I'm already shopping around for good adoptive homes for most of them. In the old days, it was a "famine" summer if I didn't can 40 quarts of tomatoes. Ah, the old days. . . .