Newspaper seed starters…a practical mental distraction!

Allotment Garden of Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City
Allotment Garden of Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been very distracted today. Dad has been in the hospital about eight days now, and he is really ready to come home. Extreme restlessness is a good sign he is feeling much better, and to the doctors’ credit, they recognize he will undoubtedly do better completing his full recovery with his personal creature comforts. The delay is simply cautionary and he will be released very shortly. Although I am not in a worried state, I’m still not quite sure where to place my not-at-my-workplace attention. The office has defined goals, so my concentration holds fairly well. But when at home I am completely unfocused. I can’t seem to dig in to any unfinished projects; I sense I will be interrupted. And as much as I love to read, my mind is wandering.

The one thing that I do with relish; however, is get my hands dirty! This time of year I could putter in the garden almost non-stop. My time at home is limited, so there isn’t as much clear productivity as I might like, but even a few minutes pulling one small patch of weeds or repotting a plant to give it more wriggle room–even a few good moments make a difference in overall garden aesthetics. It’s personal therapy, even if no one else notices.

Despite the lack of much time, I’m a perennial optimist, and I have been on a seed planting buzz. I think I’ve been significantly influenced by many of my “blogging buddies” with small farms and allotments. Celi at The Kitchens Garden and Claire at Promenade Plantings always inspire me with their beautiful organic gardening. They have also encouraged me to be more resourceful with my seed planting techniques. You can read about their newspaper and tp roll seed starting methods here and here.

When I am under stress of any kind I gravitate to activities offering simple repetitive motion! My brain rests a bit while I’m doing something with my hands.  Since I have more seeds than I have seed-starting receptacles, and it’s a bit too late to accumulate all those cardboard tp tubes Claire got around to using, AND I also didn’t plan ahead to purchase one of those handy-dandy wooden devices that Celi uses to make her paper pots, I wasn’t sure of my next step. But then I went to my favorite source–and youtube to the rescue…again!

So now I’m all set and ready to go! I have plenty of newspaper, more seeds than I can actually use (I suspect I’ll be sharing), an in-between-other-things repetitive motion/mindless activity, and multiple teachable moments for my granddaughters. Perfect!

And then I have one more quick and easy distraction that will certainly rejuvenate and restore energy. Kevin, at Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, demonstrated a simple propagation method for hydrangeas–one of my favorite garden showpieces. You can follow Kevin’s method here, and I am eager to get started. In our area they are not very expensive plants, but that’s hardly the point. I enjoy watching things grow, and although I can be quite impatient with many things, I seem to have respect for growing seasons and everything taking its own time. Waiting for germination and a plant to develop slows a pacing and overly active mind. Translation– I breathelighter! Even simple garden pleasures are good for my well-being.

And my parents are avid gardeners as well.  I am sure once they get home, following a brief recuperative period, they, too, will be eager to resume their gardening activity!

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul… John Muir

It’s a wonderful time of year to go outdoors and get your hands dirty. I hope you will…and if you haven’t previously shared how you enjoy springtime gardening, I’d love to hear!

… Debra

37 thoughts on “Newspaper seed starters…a practical mental distraction!

  1. Firstly that is great news about your dad, as you say getting fidgety is a great sign of recuperation!
    And thanks for the shout out, I love all these connections we are making, and all this amazing knwoledge and experience we have en-masse.
    And I’d forgotten about using jars or cans to make paper pots!! What am I like? No don’t answer
    I hope you have a fabulous gardening week, I know how much gardening gives me in terms of sanity and physical exercise so I totally understand those few moments and minutes you get in the garden to yourself – they are precious. Claire

    1. You made me laugh at forgetting about jars and cans to make paper pots. But at least you didn’t have to go to youtube just to figure it out! I couldn’t even begin to think how one would make these things! LOL! It is fun to make all the connections. Sometimes when I’m doing something on my own a blog I’ve recently read will come to mind and I’ll have an entirely fresh outlook on something. I am sure our collective wisdom and understanding must be worth more than going it alone, don’t you? Thanks for all your well-wishes, Claire, and I, to you! Debra

  2. It was fun watching you on video!! I haven’t had the courage to actually be in one of my videos.. so good for you! You’re a natural! I think making these seed starters is a great way to reuse and recycle!!

    1. You have really made me smile, Smidge. When I posted I had a feeling that I wasn’t all that clear…I really did. That dear “much younger” woman is not me! I am not nearly that clever…or young 🙂 Or brave, for that matter! LOL! I can understand where you’d think that might be true, but no–not this time! But you know, I have thought about how blogging is at once so open and we share about all sorts of things, and then when it comes to being more “visible” we shy away. I don’t think I’m necessarily so self-conscious, but after a great length of time goes by and I haven’t shared a photo it feels odd to me to just suddenly “appear.” By all means, if you know how to capture some of your wonderful baking techniques in a video, I hope you’ll post it! I’m always going to youtube or video blogs to learn how to do something. It’s the wave of the future and I think we all need to be a little braver! 🙂 Debra

  3. Excellent ideas, Debra. Like you, my mind is more “agitated” than normal, but I’m too tired to focus on intellectual projects. So, I cleaned out a closet . . . and packed up three bags of stuff for Goodwill.

    Here’s to rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. Glad your dad will be home soon. 😀

    1. Thanks for the thoughts for my dad, Nancy. I did think of yours today…I did. And your mom, too. I do completely understand the cleaning out the closet activity! I have done some of that recently, too! I even went through my library and pulled several dozen books off the shelf to donate…and I never do that! If cleaning and sorting and gardening are a few of our coping mechanisms, at least that’s better than others I can think of. LOL! Debra

  4. I could not agreed more, when you are not feeling All Together, puttering about in the garden and doing gardening things is perfect. Thank you for the mention and now i am going to go and see about the hydrangeas, here I just pin a long branch to the ground and slice and dig the following year. i hope his version is faster! I bet you are looking forward to getting your dad back where he belongs!

    1. I am eager to get my dad home, Celi. Thank you! I was most sincere in sharing how your blog inspires my gardening. It’s interesting to me that despite so few actual similarities in our living circumstances…including a very big difference in climate and land space, I still learn little techniques and enjoy your philosophy of fully respecting the land you work. You have come to mind so often this season as I work my little plot 🙂 I think I’ve seen roses propagated similarly to the way you describe the hydrangea layering. It’s fun for me to try different methods and see what develops! Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Celi. Debra

  5. Well, Mom and I spent a few hours in spring-time yard clean-up today. She was sawing palm branches off a tree in the curb strip while I stood at the ready to call 911 as necessary. Then I carted garbage cans to the front, filled them with branches and swept up leaves. We will be cleaning up leaves from now until December, probably. It is nice to be outside for awhile.

    1. You are so funny, Sharyn. I can picture your mom with the saw, and wonder if that also means a saw and a ladder! I have a wonderful friend who is 80 years old and gets out there doing major hillside cleanup…when we want our properties cleaned up we sometimes don’t use the greatest judgment perhaps! We have oak leaves that keep us busy for about nine months out of the year. The canopy of the tree is beautiful, but it is so messy! My husband obsesses over the mess more than I do. I easily recognize that we just can’t keep up with it…and I want to enjoy some time outdoors that isn’t about cleaning up! 🙂 Debra

  6. Your Dad sounds more than ready to come home — I’ve been there. I’m sure that his doctors wil agree within the next couple days. I hope to take your advice, Debra, and spend tomorrow in the garden. It’s long overdo. Good luck with your seeds!

    1. Thanks, John. The weather is changing for all of us, isn’t it! Even though we don’t have any snow or what one would consider harsh weather, we still ignore a lot of garden chores until spring. We could do better! 🙂 But longer days and more sunshine does motivate me and I have a small vegetable garden already underway. The seeds I’m planting now will hopefully extend my growing season. I’m starting out strong…we’ll see how I’m doing in August when the temperatures are scorching! Enjoy your garden time this week. It’s always time well spent…once we get going! Debra

  7. Debra, MTM managed to rescue much of our herb garden from our old house and start things in pots, so I am happy to report that we have a thriving indoor garden in our new space. Like you, I love, love, love hydrangeas. I planted lots of them in our garden at the old house. Now, I will go to our florist and buy them when I need a fix. They are one detail I will really miss.

    I hope your Dad is released soon and recovers quickly.

    1. I am glad you brought some of the garden with you! I think once you’ve had a garden it’s hard to relinquish! I think we need plants and flowers around us just to soften our environment. Thanks for the well wishes, and I’m sure my dad is going to do well 🙂 Debra

  8. I just came inside after a good round of weeding and planting climbing nasturtium seeds right into the soil, Debra. Your informative blog caught me with dirt under my fingernails – it feels sooo good and I’m starting to ache that good kind of ache that comes after a time in the garden. I appreciated the video and will check out the links. I’ve used newspaper to smother weeds, but not to make pots. Something to try.
    That is such good news about your dad soon coming home. Here’s hoping and praying that progress continues and that you will all be breathing lighter again soon.

    1. I love repotting plants and doing all the little duties that make things prettier…weeding, not so much! But it has to be done 🙂 And once done, I love to just stand back and admire the progress. The dirt under the fingernails is a familiar sight, too. I try to wear gloves and then end up taking them off. Unfortunately they slow me down. I’m really planning to get into making these seed pots. I just find them intriguing. I do want to see what happens after several waterings, but others have indicated such success I think it’s worth the effort. Thank you so much for thoughts and prayers regarding my dad, Penny. You concern means a lot! Debra

  9. Glad to hear that your Dad is on the mend. Restlessness is always a sign of feeling better. And keeping busy is an excellent way to retreat into something that makes sense and that achieves results, start to finish. It leads us to think that we are in control when things seem beyond our control. So, break out the seeds and work gloves and enjoy regaining control. And many thanks for the link. Be well!

    1. You are so right, Kevin. I can procrastinate on larger gardening projects (like a day of weeding) but once I begin, I do get lost in it, and that’s so therapeutic. And then at the end of the day I can fully appreciate the progress. I am so eager to get going on those hydrangeas, too. I bought a few inexpensive potted beauties not long ago, and when I went to put them in the ground I realized that the pot was really six or seven “stems” from new plants. It was not one full plant. So I can easily manage to do that much myself! 🙂 Debra

    1. I think the blogosphere is really a good point of inspiration, Natalie! All the other more dedicated gardeneres get me going, too. I see the results of their labors and I want some! I’m glad I could pass a little of it on to you 🙂 Debra

  10. And I can see you want to leave the city life and lights to spend some time with Celi on her farm! Because I couldn’t resist, here’s a karaoke version so you can sing along and enjoy the photos.

    1. I started chuckling as soon as I heard the opening notes, Frank! I loved Green Acres…and I think you’re right about me. If I can bring my whole family with me, I’d be a rural girl for sure. I’d sing “goodbye city life” without looking back! 🙂 I love to start the day with a laugh…and I have a feeling that theme song will be in my head all day! Ha! Debra

  11. Hi Debra
    So glad Dad is ready to soon come home! and glad you like to work with the earth I like to look at it! when my body is doing good I love to do some planting but for now off to the water exercise 3 times a week! Love and Blessings

    1. It’s hard to find time for it all, I know, Deb! Sometimes I have a very hard time discerning what my best interests are…I just try to keep at it. Some weeks the poor garden is very neglected. Keep up your water exercise, though. That’s great! Debra

  12. We are SO slow at getting our garden in this year too. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I was inspired by my neighbor who did everything by hand herself and she’s a little woman. So I figure do a little each night and before you know it, it will all be done. 😀 I love the video thanks for sharing. I have seen the wood thing that makes the pots but figured that HAD to be a way to do it without buying that pot maker. 🙂

  13. What a great idea Debra! I’m going to remember that for next year. And you’re right, it’s a great time of year to get outside! Glad your dad will be home soon. 🙂

    1. Aren’t these pots just great? I really want to get Sophia and Karina in on the idea of how resourceful they are, and then the whole aspect of them being biodegradable. I guess it takes so long for the newspaper to break down, however, that I may not want to plant them with the newspaper still holding the soil. I’ll have to see what happens after a few weeks of watering the seeds! My vegetable seeds are all medium-sized plants already, but I’d like to plant flowers all season long. I’ve never been motivated to keep at it, but for some reason it feels like the year to try! 🙂 Debra

  14. Glad your Dad is getting restless, Debra – a very good sign. I do hope he gets home soon.

    One of my few regrets about our peripatetic lifestyle in retirement is that i can’t do much gardening, other than keeping things tidy. All we can have is grass and plants that will look after themselves and I do miss my fresh veggies. One day, when we stop travelling so much, I’ll dig another little veg plot. 🙂

    1. And I envy the travel, Perpetua! It’s impossible to be home-bound and garden involved and at the same time really enjoy the adventure of travel. I heard someone say the other day that a mark of growing older with wisdom is recognizing that you cant do it all…I wasn’t quite sure how to take that. In part I felt reassured, and yet I also thought of how I still struggle with being realistic! LOL! You share your traveling with me, and I’ll share veggies and succulents with you! Debra

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