Finding the right sized pot to grow seedlings has always been a challenge for me. Bigger seeds, like zucchini, need bigger pots, and smaller seeds, like tomatoes, need smaller pots. I used to buy a whole assortment of peat-based pots every year, of varying sizes. It got expensive, and took up more storage space than I liked.
Eventually, I got around to making my own pots out of old newsprint – the flyers that appeared in my mailbox regularly, but rarely were used. There are many benefits to using these pots. Starting with different size paper gives you different sized pots. The seedling roots can penetrate the newsprint without too much difficulty. You can also unfold the pots when you are transplanting the seedlings, reducing the root damage, or you can simply plant the whole pot, it will eventually break down and turn to compost. Plus, it’s free!
Here’s how you do it. You can also watch the video below!
- Starting with a piece of newsprint (this one is approximately 8.5 x 6″), fold it in half to connect the shorter edges. Rotate the paper 90 degrees and fold it in half again. Smooth out the fold to undo it. This second fold will mark the middle of the paper.
- Bring one of the folded edges (from the first fold) to the centre mark, to form a triangle.
- Now comes the trickiest part. Take the folded triangle
and turn it inside out, so that the pointy part is now inside the folded piece of paper.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 by folding the second half. You should now have a smooth triangular shape with 4 little flaps.
- Take one flap and bring the edge to the middle line. Press to fold, and repeat, folding once more to the middle line. Repeat with the remaining three flaps.
- The final step consists of folding down the top flaps (this adds some stability to the pot), and opening out the box.
Voilà, your pot is now ready to be filled with soil and seeds! I usually wrap the whole thing with an elastic band for extra stability. It has a tendency to unwrap itself until the soil and paper have been wet for a while.
A piece of standard 8.5 x 11″ letter paper will give a pot that is 2 x 2″ square and 3″ tall. Play around with different sizes of paper to end up with different sized pots!