Friday, April 05, 2013

How to make simple newspaper pots... and reuse!

newspaper pots with kale seedlings

It’s true -- some of my household’s newspaper never makes it to the curb for collection.

This Spring, our newspapers are serving double-duty when we reuse them as biodegradable plant pots.

To make the pots, you can use wooden paper pot makers. Or... you can simply make pots with the help of another reused item. Spice jars are the ideal size for forming pots for your your initial seed starts. So are tomato paste cans.

I begin my pot making with a page of newspaper.

sheet of newspaper

I crease the page lengthwise, and tear it in half.

sheet of newspaper, torn in half

I fold each page-half lengthwise again to form a strip.

newspaper strip

Then, I tear each strip in half.

newspaper strip, torn in half

Depending on the size of your pot “form”, and the desired height of your pots, you may need to adjust your fold. I like to have a folded edge as the top of my pots, as the fold makes the pot opening sturdier. The bottom of the pot can be a single layer; it will be strong enough. For these pots, I adjusted the fold to cover approximately one-third of my paper piece.

folded newspaper strip

Roll the paper around your form to create your pot. Leave enough paper at one end of your form to make the pot bottom.

newspaper rolled around spice jar

Tuck in the paper edge at the end to close off your pot and make the bottom.

pressing in bottom of newspaper roll

finished bottom of paper pot

Press your finished pot down against your working surface to flatten the bottom even more.

paper pot around spice jar

Slip the pot off of your form... and admire your work!

finished newspaper pot next to spice jar used as pot form

If your pot bottom unfolds a little, causing your pot to tip over, don’t worry.

newspaper pot tipped over on its side

In previous years, I have used tape to hold the bottom together. With these tiny pots, I have found that tape is unneeded. When the pot is filled with soil, it stands well on its own. As moisture from the soil soaks into the paper, the bottom will hold together even better.

This year, I’m pre-starting my seeds in napkins before putting them into soil. I put one to two seedlings into each pot.

In my fennel and chard department, there is even more reuse going on. This rusty muffin tin is long past its baking days. However, it’s the perfect holder for paper pots formed around pint-sized canning jars.

newspaper pots in muffin tin

Happy reusing and gardening!

-- Susanne Wiggins

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