Happy Earth Day Everyone! 4-H has a wonderful recycling project for you to do with little ones as an activity for Earth Day. The exciting part is that you will most likely have the materials around your house!
The activity is the creation of a recycled paper pot. This is a great way to start seeds inside to watch them grow. Then, you can transfer the pot and all into the ground when the plant is bigger.
Of course, you can buy special seed trays. You can recycle old nursery trays and pots if you clean them properly with a mild solution of bleach and water and rinsed well. You can also use disposable cups, or you can sow seeds in old deli trays, rotisserie chicken containers, milk jugs, almost anything that will hold a couple inches of soil.
However, the 4-H paper pot is another fun recycling project that is easy to do. These are biodegradable pots that will last about 6 weeks before they disintegrate. This project is an easy seed starting activity for all ages! It’s a great way to teach responsibility, record keeping, teamwork, and care for living things. Plus, you can save money and resources by making your own paper pots to start your seeds.
For this project, you will need
- Newspaper or other paper cut into strips (not glossy inserts)
- A Container, bottle, can or jar that can be wrapped in paper (not glass)
What to do:
- Cut strips of newspaper or regular paper about 4” wide.
- Wrap strip of newspaper around an empty container and roll fairly tight.
- Scoot paper down so the paper will reach the half way point and when folded. It should overlap the open end of the container.
- Fold the ends of the paper against the bottom of the container, starting where the paper meets the on the outside.
- Push the bottom of the container against a flat, hard surface (such as a table) to seal the bottom of your pot.
- Pull the container out and you have a finished paper pot. Fill with soil and plant your seeds.
- When the seedling is ready to transplant, simply drop the entire pot into the ground.
The newspaper will biodegrade in your garden or pot. Your plant will never be uprooted and continue to grow undisturbed. When planted make sure the paper is not sticking out of the ground. If the paper is above ground it will wick water away from the plant.
You can print a PDF version of the instructions for this activity.
Other great gardening resources include:
• Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide
• Florida Planting Calendar by Region
• Florida AG in the Classroom
• Junior Master Gardener Program
If you have a green thumb, consider becoming a 4-H gardening volunteer! 4-H needs caring adults like you to share their knowledge and passion for gardening with the next generation. Through the 4-H gardening project or other environmental focused programs.To get involved, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit Florida 4-H. We hope you will consider making the best better with 4-H.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, IFAS, FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PROGRAM, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING.