So I just wrote about dealing with the overflow of plastic pots you might have if you buy plants very often. Of course one easy thing to do with them is use them to start new seeds. But if you actually have a situation where you don’t have enough little plastic pots, or yours are all too large, then what?
You can of course buy peat pellets, or the brown biodegradable pots you can plant right along with your seedlings. Or…you can make your own “plantable” pots out of recycled newspaper. Cheaper, available in endless quantities so you never run out in the middle of planting, makes good use of waste materials, and kinda fun to do, especially if you have kids!
OR plain brown paper, as from shopping bags
OR other plain, uncolored paper, at least 10″ in length and 3.5″ wide
* Scissors or a paper cutter
* Potting soil
* Seeds or seedlings
Fill with dirt and seeds or seedlings, pack tightly into a seed-starting tray, pan, or box, and you’re good to go!
Two words: Pop Can. Seriously. It’s a little larger than the pot making tool described above, but it’s got the divot on the bottom and it’s cylindrical. Plus it’s basically free. A full pop can will work better than an empty one, just because you won’t have to worry about crushing it, but either way will suffice. And if you crush an empty one, hey, you can always get another.
Measure the paper lengthwise to wrap at least twice around the can, and widthwise to go halfway up the pop can plus 3/4 of the way across the bottom. Proceed as above. When it comes time to smash it onto the bottom form, use a lid from a milk or preferably a juice jug, and press the bottom of the can firmly onto that, twisting to be sure it creases. If you have difficulty getting it to crease, you can add a small piece of brown paper tape to your pot to hold it together.
Method 3: Origami
I haven’t the patience for this method, but some people do! It makes containers more sturdy than the above, and some can be done with recycled printer paper (check to be sure your inks don’t contain anything toxic. Soy ink is ideal.)
Notes About Newspaper Pots
* I don’t find these pots to be terribly sturdy, so you’re probably going to want to pack them close together in a tray. A reusable seed-starting tray would be ideal, but an old roasting pan (check Goodwill or your local thrift stores) or even a very sturdy cardboard box would do…just remember the cardboard will get wet and eventually disintegrate.
* Again because they’re not terribly sturdy, you’re probably going to want to use a fairly loose, dry potting soil mix to fill the pots. Of course it will compact down when you water it, it just makes loading the little pot easier.