How to Create Newspaper Pots

Start your seeds in biodegradable pots that can go directly into the ground — no transplant shock!

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You can grow dozens or even hundreds of new plants to fill your yard and garden with great flavors and bright color for the cost of just a few packets of seed. And you don't even need to pay for seed trays or planting pots. Grab a few sections of newspaper out of the recycling bin, and in just a few minutes, you can turn them into perfect containers for starting seeds.

Materials Needed:

  • one sheet of newspaper (each roughly 22" x 12") for each pot you want to make
  • one 10- to 15-oz. can
  • moistened seed-starting medium
  • waterproof tray

Create the Planting Pot

1. Fold the sheet of newspaper lengthwise (with the long edges together) to create a strip. Press along the folded edge (Image 1).
2. Set the can on its side at one end of the strip, with the base about 2 inches up from the cut edge. Roll the newspaper around the can to create a cylinder (Image 2).
3. Starting at the outer seam, fold the free end of the cylinder inward (Image 3). Make three more folds inward to create the base of the pot, pressing firmly to make the folds as flat as possible.
4. Slip the pot off of the can or bottle. Starting at the outer seam, fold the top 1/2 to 1 inch of the pot inward to create a stable rim (Image 4).
5. Hold the pot with one hand, with some of your fingers on the bottom to keep it closed. Fill the finished pot to the top with moistened seed-starting medium (Image 5) and set it in a waterproof tray.
6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 to make as many "pots" as desired.

Sow Seeds

Plant a seed or two in each pot, then gather all the pots onto a tray and water.

When you're ready to plant the seedlings, dig a hole deep enough to bury the pot so the rim is below the soil surface; exposed newspaper could help wick water away from the plant. (If needed, tear off a bit of the rim so it doesn't stick up into the air.) In moist soil, the roots will quickly grow through the paper sides of the pot.

Spared the shock of being shaken out of a plastic pot at planting time, your seedlings will get off to a strong start, and you'll soon be enjoying an abundant harvest.

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