Introduction: Peat Pellet Replacement
(Firstly, if such a simple idea can ever be mass produced, I would like the credit.)
I felt that some of those mini-greenhouses were unrealistically expensive, depending on season.
But, when do you start those seeds? Well ahead of time.
This project allows you to make free, biodegradable, planting pellets, out of junk mail.
(If you're an advertiser, you will like to know how many ads I have read, while making these.)
I can make very-nice looking prototypes, out of hardwood, on a hobby lathe. I can burnish metal to a mirror finish, and even recycle plastics into new shapes.
But, all you really need is a bigger tube and smaller, cylinder-shape.
In my simplest version, shown above, I have used an old windchime and a stick.
Shown, are an old sprinkler pipe, piece of discarded analogue antenna, and a trailer hitch.
Anyone can find something suitable, laying around.
Also, any kind of paper is ok -- shiny, matte, gift wrap, brown, from the phonebook, thinner cardboards...
Step 1: Tear One Off.
You don't even have to be very neat, at this stage, as you will easily be able to hide any rough edges.
Step 2: Fold It Into Three Parts.
I will be using a 2-3 inch diameter pipe, for this one, approximating the size of a brand name peat pellet.
Helpful hint: Use your pipe or your dowel, as a roller, to make nicer creases.
Later on, you can add extra sheets of paper, to make something really sturdy.
Cheap, butcher paper, from the dollar store, might be used to make a really tall cup, if you like.
It's completely up to you, once you understand the basic idea, first.
Step 3: Make a Point.
The angle does not need to be perfect.
It can hang over, and make a little bit of a tail, if you like.
Step 4: Roll It Up.
1. Hide all of your folds, inside of your cup.
2. Apply continuous tension, as much as you are able; the tighter you pull, the neater the cup.
3. The pointy fold points away from you, as you roll it up, and hold it tightly.
Step 5: Tuck in Your Tail.
You do no need to be especially forceful, here, just so long as 1/2 to 1 inch of your paper has been pushed to the inside of your pipe, from underneath.
I think, it works best, if you push the pointy tip, inside first.
1. Make markings, on the side of your pipe, so they are all the same size.
2. If making cups in quantity, use your dowel to push papers inside. It eventually wears hard on your fingers.
Step 6: Mash It Down, Forcefully.
Obviously, you want to have a durable work surface, which you can batter.
For safety, use a long dowel. Keep your hand from getting pinched, in that pipe.
On some of my prototypes, you will see a tapering handle, which keeps my hand from slipping.
Step 7: Just Keep Pushing.
And, your cup will slide off the pipe, neat and tight.
Do you have an unwanted hole in the bottom? Sometimes, it is helpful, to make an extra long point,
Also, you can tear from a new piece of paper, and force a little inside of your tube, for a quick fix.
Step 8: What to Do With Your Cup.
Did your cup turn out, ok? Give it a tug. It won't come apart, too easily!
I filter compost, from the bottom of the pile, through sturdy mesh, into a recycled bucket. I use my thumb, to compress the soil into the cup, lightly.
I wash out a food container, thoroughly, to prevent mold. (Ironically, the container, used to hold your food, is sometimes more heavyweight than the ones used to hold your pots, full of dirt and rocks.)
Add water, very slowly, so your nicely arranged, planted, paper pots do not tip over or float around, and the paper will eventually become a wick, keeping all the dirt inside wet.
Delicate roots skillfully find a way between the fibers of the sturdier paper. The paper will not fall apart, for quite a long time, in spite of being wet and having a plant growing through the sides.
Plant the whole thing with minimal disturbance, and there is no transplant shock.
1. Open your greenhouses / humidity domes, daily. Mist lightly, to displace bad air. They call it 'belching'.
2. When planting, do not allow paper to be exposed, above the top of your soil, as the paper may wick away moisture.
3. "Guerilla gardeners" use "seed bombs", just passive, biodegradable containers full of seeds, to populate unexpected places with beautiful flowers, natives, or useful food crops. Cups can be fit together, mouth-to-mouth, to hold seeds or other presents -- especially if the cups are two different sizes. It can be made from pretty magazines, homemade or wrapping paper, to be more ornamental.
Participated in the