Wednesday, April 24, 2013

News from The Hen House - April 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Newspaper Pots?

Hi All!
Brad again with a post on Reneé's latest free time activity. I'm really not sure about this one BUT in the spirit of reduce, reuse and recycle I want to share with you her creative, though not original, idea of making pots out of old newspaper. I mean, she already recycles shredded paper and junk mail by using is as fluffy bedding in my hens nesting boxes as well as a covering on the floor of the coop for those birds who still haven't become "coop-broke" when needing to relieve themselves. I have to say, I really appreciate that white shredded paper in the dark of winter. It just makes the coop so much brighter and we all perk up when she applies a fresh layer.

But I digress - back to newspaper pots. Like I said earlier, this is creative but not original. Apparently, Reneé was on Facebook and noticed that one of the homesteading/gardening pages she "liked" had this idea of recycling newspapers into pots. Unfortunately, all it showed was a picture and no link to directions. She started trolling the Internet for information on just how to do this when WHAM - YouTube had a video showing exactly how it was done!

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!!! She was one happy hen to see how easy it was to make and that it would naturally degrade once planted into the soil. Her only concern was water seepage. She didn't know if the newspaper pots would last long enough to be handled and ultimately planted, given that Spring has yet to arrive in Wisconsin. Even with that concern, she decided to try it.

After watching the video and reading a few other sites on creative recycled pots, Reneé went rummaging through the recycling trash can at home, kinda like the farm dog known as Coby when looking for leftovers, until she found an empty wine bottle that was the right sized diameter for her envisioned pots. Then she set up shop.

On her pool, I mean work, table, she assembled her pile of newspapers, scissors, wine bottle, trays and bags of potting soil. She then laid down the newspaper, sometimes one sheet, sometimes two if it didn't feel heavy enough, folded the edges so it was about 5-6 inches wide and began to wrap the end of the wine bottle. (Did I mention she used her favorite wine, wine bottle from the night before? No? Prairie Fume from Wollersheim Winery, Wisconsin)

Reneé noticed that when she first wrapped it, she didn't have any left over to fold over and become the base. She also didn't know if it would stay together without tape or staples. She went back, checked her notes and discovered that by leaving enough free, at the bottom, to reach at least half way across, and starting with the part that had the outside edge of the newspaper, she could get the pot to hold its own shape, without extra support.

These first pots, when taken off of the bottle, were highly unstable due to the wrinkles on the folds of the bottom of the pot. Once she put soil into them, they flattened out and really held their shapes. Her first batch has gone to the baby heirloom cherry tomato plants that were in need of transplanting.

Granted, it was a bit messy in her basement for a while but the end result has been happy tomato plants waiting for Springtime warmth to kiss Wisconsin once again.

They are currently migrating between the temporary greenhouse and her basement until the soil and air temperatures warm enough so they won't freeze.

I know the girls and I have been really enjoying the delayed Spring as it has meant extra time in Reneé's gardens scratching for grubs, worms and other yummy things we missed all winter. Unfortunately for us, once it truly warms up, Reneé fences us out of the garden until the end of harvest season. I guess she doesn't like the creative designs our beaks leave when we are just sampling the produce.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for updates to Reneé's adventures in 21st Century Homesteading - Including News From The Hen House!


Alpha Rooster -
The Hen House

R&B Acres LLC
Oregon, Wisconsin

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