Saturday April 26th 2008, 7:30 am

planting seeds in paper pots

I have just ordered some Nemoslug and I am feeling in two minds about it. Nemoslug, in case you have never heard of it before, is a biological slug killer which when watered in, introduces nematodes into the soil which in turn kill the slugs that are lurking underground. It arrives in the post in a small box, but as it is full of living organisms, it has a limited shelf life and needs to be kept in the fridge and used within two weeks. So long as the soil is the right temperature and so long as there isn’t a heat wave which dries the soil out, the nemotodes get to work, thus in theory creating a 6 week window of opportunity for seedlings to avoid slug damage for just long enough to be well on their way. It isn’t particularly cheap and they do recommend that you give the soil more than one treatment.
Now this of course is all good stuff. Slugs and snails are the bain of a gardeners life and it is soul destroying when your nurtured crops dissapear overnight and you are left doubting your own sanity, ‘I’m sure there were some seedlings growing there yesterday, but perhaps I imagined it?’ So what is my problem with Nemoslug?
Some people say it works and others say it doesn’t. There are alsorts of uncontrollable variables as regards the conditions which will make it work effectively or not and as all the work is carrying on unseen underground anyway it isn’t as if you can be sure that anything is happening at all. It is intriguing that some of us are trusting enough to hand over money for a product that only might work and comes with not a single guarantee. As an entrepreneur myself, it is certainly one of those products which I only wish I had invented, that and the water filter. At what point do you add up what you are spending on growing your own food and say, ‘This is costing me a fortune!’

a paper pot made from The Guardian

Anyway, enough of that. As I have very little luck when sowing directly into the ground, I have been busy starting my seeds in pots, making my own pots using a Paper Potter. At least with this ingenious invention, once you’ve bought it, it goes on working for ever more and uses up waste paper at the same time. I did get rather carried away, starting by making pots out of newspaper, then using the colours and fonts to get creative. The weekend Guardian is really good for this as it is well designed making it easy to find lovely headings and typefaces to use. I also found some cheap wrapping paper in the shed which made even fancier pots as well as some wicker-patterned paper for pots that look like baskets. Thankfully, at this point I told myself to get a grip. Using the Paper Potter you can make pots for your seedlings out of any waste paper of a newsprint quality that will absorb water and biodegrade.
Here’s how you make them.

paper pots that look like baskets