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Start Your Seedlings | CMSMatHome

Start Your Seedlings CMSM at Home activity from the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota

The weather is getting nicer and we can start our seedlings! Today we’ll make starting pots with paper towel and toilet paper rolls, fill them with soil, and plant garden seeds in them. Once labeled, they’ll go in clear, plastic clamshell containers (such as those for salad greens or some takeout foods), which will act as mini greenhouses. Water your starter pots gently, put in a sunny spot, and watch them grow!

When seedlings are big enough and there is no danger of frost, plant your starter pots into the ground. The cardboard will compost and degrade on its own.

To start your own seedlings, you’ll need garden seeds, soil, empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls, newspapers, scissors, clear plastic clamshell containers, and permanent markers and pencils.

Cut an inch off the toilet paper tubes or cut the paper towel tubes into three equal pieces. Label each roll with the name of the seed you’ll be putting in. Fold the two sides together so they almost meet, then bend and fold the pointy sides to the center. If the bottom doesn’t perfectly seal, line it with a bit of newspaper cut to fit.

Flip over the tub and fill three quarters of the way with dirt. Gently water the soil. Put 2-3 seeds onto the top of dirt an gently push in with a pencil (see planting depth instructions on the seed packet).

Arrange your tubes into the clamshell container and set in a sunny area. Keep the starter pots moist, but not too wet. Once we’ve passed our last frost date (usually mid to  late May), plant your starter kits outdoors in your garden, or larger pot. The tube will decompose throughout the growing season.

Easier option: Use an egg carton, fill each egg space with soil, water gently, and add your seeds. When ready, transport the seedlings into a larger pot or into your garden but cutting apart the egg carton.

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