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Homemade Biodegradable Fiber Seed-Starting/Transplanting Pots

In a previous blog entry, I wrote about how to make your own seed starter box from a biodegradable egg carton. This entry takes that concept a little further. If you’re like me and start your seeds early indoors, sometimes the seedling begins to outgrow the little egg cup and needs transplanted to yet a larger pot before it can be moved to the garden.



Many seed and garden companies sell biodegradable fiber pots, but why buy something you can make for mere pennies? Sure, the homemade versions might not LOOK as pretty and uniform as they do when you buy them, but who has money to just bury in the ground? Using the lint from your dryer, newsprint or tissue paper, and other natural throw-aways such as egg shells or coffee grounds, you can create your own fiber pots in any size you desire.

What you need:

Dryer lint (about a grocery sack full)
Shredded newsprint or tissue paper
Coffee grounds * optional
Egg shells (ground finely) *optional
Liquid starch
Large bowl
Plate
2 bowls that will “nest”
Plastic cup


In a very large bowl, place the dryer lint and shredded newsprint and/or tissue paper. I cut the tissue paper I used into narrow strips because it was faster. If you use tissue paper, be warned that colored paper will bleed dye when it gets wet with the starch.


You can add coffee grounds or finely ground egg shells if you desire as well. (The coffee filter can go in too, just shred it up into strips first).


Add about 1 cup of liquid starch. You can find liquid starch in the laundry aisle in grocery stores, drug stores, and dollar stores. Do NOT dilute the starch. Use it straight from the bottle.

Mix the ingredients well using your hand to squish it all together. Add more starch in ½ cups as needed to make a paste-like consistency.  Place a bowl on top of a plate. I’m using a plastic food storage container. Any container will work. Choose one that is the size you want your fiber pot to be. The pot will shrink some while drying, so overestimate rather than underestimate.  Dump the goopy mixture into the bowl.


Use your hands to spread the mixture up the sides of the bowl, making a depression that is “bowl-shaped”. Put your hand into a plastic cup (like you get from restaurants) and use it to “roll” the sides flat, and to flatten the bottom inside of your fiber pot.


When the fiber pot has taken shape inside of the container, set it aside for 24 hours to dry.


Place a smaller bowl inside of the fiber pot that is partially dry now. Place the plate over the top of the container holding the partially dried fiber pot.


Invert the bowls/containers on top of the plate and allow to dry for 48 hours. The lint and starch and paper are dense and soak up the starch requiring a lot of drying time.


Slowly and carefully remove the top container, leaving the fiber pot, the inside smaller bowl (as a brace) on the plate for another 24 hours.

When the outside of the fiber pot is dry to the touch, pick it up carefully, removing it from the smaller bowl inside. Turn it right side up on top of the plate. If the inside is still damp allow it to sit on the plate and air dry until the fiber pot is entirely dry.


Fill with potting soil/mixture, transplant your seedling. When you water your seedling, do not over water, and make sure the fiber pot is on or in another container. Try to avoid getting too much water on the sides of the pot. When it is time to transplant the seedling/plant, place the entire fiber pot into the soil and cover. The fiber pot will dissolve and degrade in the soil.

Look for other helpful, handy projects in my Index of Entries: http://angelinehawkes.livejournal.com/180046.html

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