Plants raised from seed started indoors during late winter or early spring can be brought to maturity so many weeks ahead of plants started outdoors when the season is far enough advanced to permit doing so, that it is a practice well worthwhile to use seed boxes and paper pots if you haven’t built a hotbed. Radishes, lettuce and other early vegetables can be started in these boxes, and you can raise your tomato plants, and have them ready to set out the minute danger from frost has passed.
Excerpt from the book: “Carpentry & mechanics for boys: up-to-the-minute handicraft” by Hall, A. Neely (Albert Neely), Publication date 1918 / Publisher Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.
Two or three grocery boxes filled with earth are all that you require for seed boxes, or Seed-Flats—as the green-house man calls them. Most grocery boxes are too deep, but it is a simple thing to cut them down.
Four inches is just about right.
Figure 586 shows a seed-flat.
Drill several holes through the box bottom near the center, for drain-holes,and nail blocks to the bottom at the corners for feet, to raise the box enough above the surface it is to stand upon so a tin can be slipped beneath to catch the water that will run out of the drainholes. Screw a pair of handles to the box-ends. Give the box two coats of paint inside and out, to preserve the wood and fill up joints.
Seeds will germinate in almost any kind of wet soil, but in order to have them develop into sturdy plants, the soil must be prepared with care. Soil from last summer’s garden, enriched with leaf-mold, or prepared fertilizer, will be just right. Over the bottom of the box, spread a layer of coarse stone, to insure good drainage. Then fill in the soil over this to a depth of 3 inches. Level off the top surface with a small block of wood, before planting. Plant as directed on the seed packages. With a ruler and nail you can scratch lines in the surface, for planting rows. Of course you can plant the seeds thickly for the purpose of germinating them, then transplant them into other boxes as soon as the second true leaf has appeared. Keep the soil moist,while the seeds
are germinating, but never puddle it, and keep a newspaper over the box until the leaves show above the surface.
A novel arrangement for starting seeds indoors is to make Miniature Greenhouses like those shown in Figs. 587 and 591.
Starch boxes, are of about the right size for these. It is better to use small boxes than large ones because it will be easier to put on the glass roofs.
Figure 587 shows the simpler model — A Greenhouse with a Lean-To Roof.
Cut the top of the starch-box ends slanted so that the front edge is about 2 1/2 inches high and the rear edge 5 inches high, and cut down the front and back even with the edges of the ends, as indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 588.
With the cutting done, get a piece of glass large enough to fit over the top and project a trifle over the front and ends. Possibly you can find an unused picture-frame with a glass of the right size, or several camera plates that can be fastened together with adhesive-tape to make a piece large enough to cover the box; if not, a painter will sell you a piece. Hinge the glass with strips of adhesive-tape, (Fig. 587).
The Greenhouse with a Gable Roof, shown in Fig. 591, looks more like a florist’s greenhouse. The starch-box which forms the foundation must be cut down as indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 592, so the remaining depth will be about 2 1/2 inches (Fig. 593).
With the box thus prepared, cut two end pieces out of thin box boards (A, Fig. 594), and tack these to the box ends. Make the peak of each end piece 8 inches above the bottom edge. The box may be stood on end upon the boards for the purpose of marking out the lower portion of end pieces A.
When the board ends have been marked out, cut, and tacked to the box ends, procure two pieces of glass of the right size to project over ends A and the sides of the box, as shown in Fig. 591. Join these two pieces (B and C, Fig. 595) at the peak with a strip of adhesive-tape lapped over them (D, Fig. 595).
Unless the boxes are metal lined, they are likely to leak after you water the planted seed, so it is a good idea to place beneath each a cake-tin to catch drippings (Fig. 591); also, it is well to attach spool feet at the corners to keep the box bottoms high and dry.
Paint the Greenhouses with a couple of coats of green paint, or with two coats of white paint and one coat of white enamel.
Paper Pots are extensively used for seedling transplant-ings (Fig. 596). The seedlings are transplanted from seseed flatso these earth-filled paper pots, and then, when they are large enough to set outdoors, the pots are planted without disturbing the roots of the seedlings.
Paper pots can be made of heavy wrapping-paper. Small pots may be 1 1/2 inches square, large pots 4 inches square. Figure 597 shows a pattern for a 2-inch pot. Cut along the heavy lines, fold along the dotted lines, and paste the overlapping surfaces.
Figure 598 shows A Pot Made From a Cardboard Box. A box will furnish material for two pots. Cut the box as indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 600, and place the corners together as shown in Fig. 599.
Fasten by gluing strips of paper over the edges, then reinforce the corners by sewing with heavy linen thread.
Circular Pots can be made from cereal cartons (Figs. 601 and 602). One carton will produce two pots. Glue and stitch the cover on to the carton, then cut a pot from each end, as indicated in Fig. 603.