Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Heirloom Lettuce in Homemade Starter Pots

Hooray for cooler weather in Texas! Now it's time to really knuckle down on seed sowing for the fall garden. 

The Cabbages, Broccoli and Brussels are well on their way to a good start out in the garden beds. Many carrots and other greens as well as green beans are taking off too. I'm still watching for spinach to sprout. The heirloom tomatoes are beginning to make a whole lot of fruit with the cooler temperatures. But now it is the perfect time to get the lettuce going on. 

I will always direct sow lettuce in the garden, but I love to have a bunch of lettuce pots going on in the greenhouse too. These I can take out to the garden and plug any holes where something didn't come up or a critter got a hold of. I also love making designs and borders throughout the landscape with all kinds of pretty and colorful heirloom lettuce.

I have so many 3in pots and flats, but they use so much soil for just germinating a little lettuce plant. So I had asked friends and family to save me all of their paper towel and toilet paper rolls all year. I ended up with a pretty huge bag of them.

To make the pots I cut a toilet paper roll in half. A paper towel roll will score you 6 pots. I have some gift wrap rolls too, but need to find where I put them before I can let you know how many one of those rascals will net. 

Then I cut a stack of square brown paper into approximately 2 to 3in squares. I usually use all of my feed sacks up for such a task but then have to move on to a huge roll of brown construction paper. I find it in the paint department. I use this paper to help with the lasagna gardening to help smoother out weeds when I've recycled everything else up.

Yes, I have dirt under my nails and they are looking quite shabby these last couple of weeks. But it feels so good to play in the dirt! 

Now I just take that little square piece of paper and kind of push my finger into the middle of it and push it down into the tube. I press it around a little and then fill it with a little soil mix that I've prepared. 

Each lettuce pot tray is holding 55 pots. That will do me just fine I think. I'm doing 7 trays of 7 different heirloom lettuce varieties. I have reds and greens and red splattered greens. I love buttercrunch and romaines, but I'm experimenting with a few new things. One of the new things is a corn salad lettuce that a garden friend from California shared with me. 

So I'm working as fast as I can here because Mr. Garden is going to town preparing some beds out in the gardens.

I hope to catch up again soon! 

Happy Fall Gardening!


  1. Thank you for this blog! I am a student at Western Governor's university online and picked the worst time to do a presentation on home gardening. I am in Ohio and I might find some complications with fall temperatures dipping into the 30's this weekend, I wanted to ask you if you had any additional suggestions for any unforseen obstacles since I am learning on the fly? Thank you1

    1. Hi Richard! Getting you a compost pile going and learning how to make your own potting soil mix would be a really cool plus to any education =D

  2. I love your recycling repurposing darlin heart.

  3. Yes its time to rock and roll here in Texas or at least some areas of Texas. I love the toilet paper and paper towel holder pots! So saving those from now on! Been reading your blog a while don't think I have commented before :O).

    I jumped the gun and planted some greens to early between the heat and grasshoppers... am about to replant ..

    My cucumbers did survive though and they are climbing the trellis already. This is a first for me to try cucumbers in the fall. My green bean seedlings were doing great, but I have had a major fight with grasshoppers over the green beans. I had tried all I knew, then a friend said sprinkle cayenne pepper on the plants. That did the trick! Knock on wood.

    1. Oh I hope you will share some photos of your gardening efforts. I love meeting up with other Texas gardeners!! YES those grasshoppers get big here LOL I've used that cayenne pepper trick a time or two when things get out of whack. I'm looking forward to more BEANS!! Love them fresh from the garden!! Thanks so much for your kinds words!!