Earth Day is coming up. We try to celebrate the earth all year long, but this is one of our favorite times because we love seeing the community involvement, outdoor events, and all of the gardens popping up left and right!
This mandarin planter project replaces traditional plastic or cardboard seed-starters with a biodegradable option in the form of a mandarin.
For these mandarin planters, you'll need some mandarins, potting soil, a skewer and a knife.
Start by slicing the mandarin in half.
Using a spoon if you need to, gently pull the mandarin wedges out of the peel.
Push the skewer through the end of the mandarin to create a drainage hole.
This will allow water to freely move through the mandarin planter, so it doesn't pool at the bottom and potentially damage the roots of your small plant.
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Fill the mandarin planter with fresh, clean potting soil. We compost a lot of our mandarin peels throughout the season, and mixing some older, fully-decomposed compost with ground soil and perlite makes for an airy mixture that doesn't compact too much. A simple bagged mix will also work.
Dampen the soil, then gently push a seed into it and tamp down slightly to ensure full contact with the dirt. Place in a window sill (or a covered greenhouse outdoors) in a warm, sunny spot. Spritz your mandarin planters whenever the top of the soil feels dry. Turning them about a quarter of an inch daily will help the seedling grow strong and avoid the common mis-step of letting it lean significantly in one direction towards the sun.
When the weather has warmed and you're ready to transplant, it's helpful to acclimate seedlings to the outdoors by taking them outside for several hours at a time, gradually increasing exposure to the elements over a period of three days. Then, you can plant the whole mandarin planter in the ground! The peel will decompose quickly, and the roots will have nutrient-rich soil in which to take hold.
How are you celebrating Earth Day?