I often get asked what containers you should plant seedlings into as they outgrow their Orta pots. I just stumbled upon this excellent solution, and wanted to share it with you all!
Last weekend I went to my friends' house for an Orta products photo shoot. They're serious gardeners, growing lots of their own food, composting their food scraps, and using the garden as a classroom for their daughter's Covid pod.
They are also renters, saving up to buy a house. Which means they're not investing a ton in long-term projects or garden infrastructure, but they are devising some really cool DIY growing methods that both save money and reuse materials on hand.
This seedling planter is a great example. Made from one old fence board cut into 5 pieces (4 sides + a bottom), it has cardboard dividers that make seedlings easy to separate at transplant time.
SAFETY WARNING: Before I go on, I want to be very clear about material choices! DO NOT USE PRESSURE TREATED WOOD. Pressure treated wood is extremely toxic, and should not be used for plants, especially edibles. Painted fence boards can have toxic ingredients also. Your safest bet is plain, un-stained, un-treated wood. Around here in Northern California, fences tend to be made from untreated cedar or redwood, both of which are fine. There is likely to be a similar choice in your area. When in doubt, do your homework!
As for the cardboard dividers, plain, uncoated, un-printed corrugated cardboard is generally considered quite safe and biodegradable. Because corrugated frequently contains recycled material, however, there is some debate as to whether petroleum-based inks from the paper's previous life survive recycling and end up in the cardboard. For my part, I'm comfortable with the cardboard, but you may prefer something else.
Its genius is in its simplicity. With a saw, hammer, nails, and some thoughtfulness about dimensions, anyone can make one of these in about an hour, or set up an assembly line and make 4 planters in about an hour and a half.
What I especially love is that having six baby plants separated by cardboard, but sharing the same container, you have the water-holding capacity of a bigger container. That means you can go longer between watering, and keep those adolescent plants at the right moisture level.
And of course who doesn't love a garden project that salvages materials, and doesn't use any plastic at all? Brilliant!