As Spring starts to arrive many of us like to get seeds started indoors to make sure they take but seed starter kits can get expensive depending on where you shop and how much room you have to grow. But with this little trick you can save money, recycle and create your own mulch additive all at the same time while saving space. I have used items found around every house to make a starter box that can be stacked up to make more room for more plants.
Cardboard box (any size will do as long as you have a base and 4 sides.
Paper (newspaper or old mail will work perfectly
Bowl of water
Roll of Duct Tape
Pair of scissors
Step 1: Duct Tape Your Box
The first thing you need to do is Duct tape your box inside and out (optional). I used some leftover Christmas printed Duct tape but you can use any. I suggest using something that fits in with your decor. You will want to tape the inside of the box completely. This will help keep the heat and the moisture inside to ensure your seeds get a good start.
Once you have taped the inside of your box you will want to make sure that each edge of the tape is securely pressed down. Moisture leaking out could easily ruin your box.
I taped up the outside to help insulate and to make it look a little better when sitting on my kitchen counter.
Step 2: Make Your Mulch
Now that your box is ready you will need your scissors and whatever paper you plan to use. You can also run paper through a paper shredder. Simply cut your paper into strips. Don't worry about length or uniformity, it isn't all that important.
The amount of paper you need is really dependent on how large of a box you are using. Just make sure that you have a good 2" of shredded paper in the bottom of your box. Once you have that, you will want to double the amount of shredded paper but don't add the extra to the box yet.
Crumb the extra paper with your hands and then, a little at a time, put the paper in the bowl of water and let it soak up a little water. then simply put the wet paper on top of the dry paper in the box. Continue to do this until all the dry paper is covered. (The dry paper will help absorb any extra water that drips off the wet paper and will help prevent water from pooling in the box.)
Step 3: Add Your Seeds
You can now sprinkle your seeds over the wet paper. Its that easy! My starter box has cucumbers on one side and basil on the other. If you are starting two different types of seeds make sure to keep them separated when sprinkling them into the box, this will make it easier when you transplant.
Step 4: Cover Your Seeds
Now that your starter box is almost finished you need to make sure to cover your seeds. This can be done by taking a damp sheet of paper and just placing over the top. You can also put a lid on the box if your box has a lid. I do both to help keep the moisture high and heat in.
And there you go, you have a 5 minute recycled starter seed box. But did you know that when your seeds start to grow you can put the paper in the ground with them? Paper is often used as a mulch additive.
Step 5: Caring for Your Seed Box
Now that your seed box is completed it is actually low maintenance All you need to do is check it once a day and if the paper on top is drying out just sprinkle some water on top of it. Depending on what type of seeds you are starting the sprout time will vary but if you keep the seeds moist and in a sunny place or warm spot you will have a box full of start plants in a week or so. This project is also great for kids.