Gardening With Children-
The Pot Maker
THE TOOLS DISCUSSED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ARE
AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE AT THE FOLLOWING LINK:
For the next four weeks we are going to enrich your Holiday Garden Gift buying experience by teaching you about the history of some of the most beloved heirloom garden products known to man. If you purchase these products from us, we can assure you that they will become some of the most treasured and most frequently used products by your loved ones, family or friends.
In this newsletter, we are going to discuss a product that adults love, but that children adore – The Pot Maker. On a rainy, snowy day in January or February, more fun, more knowledge and more joy can be created from the simple but satisfying task of making your own disposable seed starting pots and planting the seeds that will grow into seedlings to be planted in your garden. As we have often stated, we believe there is no better activity to share with children than gardening.
Believe it or not, the practice of planting seeds or plants in pots is around 10,000 years old. The Egyptians made non-porous pots out of clay which they then coated with a glaze and baked in a specially designed oven. The Greeks took planting pots to a whole new level with containers of extraordinary and intricate design. In the 13th century German potters invented stoneware, a naturally porous material which they then used to manufacture pots. These pots were the original precursors of today’s clay pots. When the Chinese introduced their exquisite porcelain pots in the 1500s the flower pot became an item of artistic elegance as well as horticultural beauty. We have green clay pots to thank for the popularity of the beloved red geranium. In the very early 1800s, Grant Thornton, one of America’s most important seedsmen, decided that painting clay pots green and placing a red blooming geranium in the green clay pot would be a successful product. He was absolutely correct. The paper pot has only recently, within the past 100 years, become an important item for horticulture. The paper pot minimizes fragile root damage and is environmentally friendly. Used as a seed starter, paper pots do not have any competition.
Based on a centuries old design, the Harvesting History Pot Makers are created by a local wood carving craftsman who makes these pot makers by turning ancient hardwood poles on his lathe. He carefully polishes each piece to remove any splinters and then lovingly oils each one. He designs them to last a lifetime and they do. Unlike many commercially available pot makers of similar, but not identical, design, the cylinders are exactly the right diameter to produce sturdy, long lasting, biodegradable pots. These pots represent the best of the recycling world. They are made from scrap paper, designed to be buried with the seedling and never damage the roots of a young plant. Unlike peat pots and tiny plastic pots, these little paper pots are recycled into the soil by Mother Nature.
The Harvesting History Pot Maker consists of two wooden parts: a cylinder and a disk. To use the pot maker, take a 3 inch by 8 inch sheet of paper (use 2 sheets if using newspaper) and wrap around the wooden cylinder allowing at least 1 inch of paper at the bottom of the cylinder. With your finger, fold the paper at the bottom of the cylinder into the bottom of the cylinder, pressing firmly. Take the disk and press the disk into the bottom of the cylinder and twist until some frictional heat is created and the paper warms. Remove the paper pot from the cylinder, fill with soil and plant your seeds. Always plant at least 2 seeds per pot and remove the weakest seedlings after germination leaving 1 plant per pot.
Once the pots have been planted, they will need a container to hold the pots. I use a Styrofoam egg crate or a rectangular plastic container to hold my paper pots. It is easy to water these pots when they are resting in a waterproof container. For those of you who are in the early stages of raising children, grandchildren, nephews and/or nieces, but can remember your own childhoods, there are always a few items that for no apparent reason become treasures. They can be a favorite spoon that grandma always used, a favorite book that grandpa always read to you, Aunt Betty’s favorite scissors, Mom’s favorite apron (only worn on Thanksgiving), etc. The Pot Maker can become such a treasure. Not only is it highly functional and environmentally responsible, it can be an object that evokes great, heartwarming memories that will last a lifetime. Children can make bunches of pots in an afternoon, and watching the concentration on their little faces with brows furrowed and lips tightened is a memory to be treasured by you forever.
Celebrate your uniquely American horticultural heritage
Harvest Your History
Seed Your Future
on orders $50 and above
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