Monday, April 18, 2011

Newspaper seed pots

Hello everyone. Thought I'd give this posting a try on my own tonight, and as suggested by JonOfAllTrades, I will show you how I made some seed starting pots out of newspaper.  
In almost every store, including the dollar stores now, "peat pots" are available for sale to be used for starting seeds.

The benefit of this type of pot is that it is biodegradable and therefore is planted right into the garden along with the seedling, allowing for less disturbance to the fragile, newly rooted plant. Prices vary a bit depending on brand name and whether they are ice cube tray style or individual pots.  Most places are between $3 and $5 for a 4 tray pack of 8 medium sized cells per tray.  In years past, it was no big deal to pick up a few packs for getting an early start on some beans or other seeds, however when starting seeds for nearly everything we intend to grow this year, that added up rather quickly. Now I have to say that yes we did have to spend some of the gardening supply budget on peat pots, but I also recently found a way to make some and use up the Sunday newspaper! Two weeks' Sunday papers (NewsHerald $1.50 and the Plain Dealer $2.00) total cost: $3.50-----total seed pots produced: 200! 
Here's what to do:  Take a full-sized sheet of newspaper as pictured above, and cut or tear it in half along the fold. Then cut each half into thirds vertically, resulting in strips of newspaper approximately 4 inches wide.  Next, roll the strip of paper around a container of some sort. I found using a small tomato paste can worked perfectly.  Roll the paper so that it is overlapping one end of the can as shown in this picture, keeping the paper fairly snug but not too tight or you will have a hard time pulling it off of the can without tearing it.  Once the paper is rolled around the can fold the overlapped end over, creasing it firmly and forming the bottom of your seed pot. Lastly, gently remove the can from the paper pot.
And there you have a nice little container to fill with soil and begin to grow your own seedlings. Placing the pots on a tray of some kind will help when transporting them, in keeping them snuggled together so as not to tip over, as well as helping to keep them moist after watering. The newspaper will disintegrate just fine once you plant it in the garden, and allow for great transition for the tender roots.

Oh, I almost forgot, a note about the soil.  A lot of people swear by the "seed starting" soil mixes, I however do not like it for the following reasons: 1- it contains mostly peat moss, which is very light & fluffy, and floats right out of the pots when you attempt to water them and causes your dry little seeds to flow over board out of the pots, never to be seen again!  2- peat moss does have benefits, however it doesn't have a lot of nutrients for a newly sprouting plant to grow up healthy and strong! Nobody likes wimpy plants! Wimpy plants don't produce as much fruit!     
My Seed Starting Soil Solution----I bought bagged "potting soil" with fertilizer; brought it home and dumped it in the wheel barrow, and mixed a bunch of peat moss into it. (Yes, peat moss, I did say it has its benefits such as keep the soil loose allowing a seed to get its sprout started and push up through the surface to the sun!---dramatic much!?)   I didn't pay close attention to the ratio at the time, but thinking back I would have to say probably 4:1 potting soil to peat.  Mix very well, pour into the cups, bake at 350degrees,  OOPS! wrong recipe!! No Baking Please....but that makes me think, its time for a cup of tea and a little sweet morsel.  Talk to ya again soon!


  1. What a great post!!! Seriously great step by step instructions and great pictures!! You made me laugh with your humor! Great potential here at this blog, keep up the excellent work!

  2. I don't appreciate the humor, I got excited and stopped reading at bake at 350 degrees...who's going to pay for my new oven !!!


    keep it up...

  3. Thanks guys, I will work on that missing words thing with the pics arrangement issue?! Maybe something tomorrow about planting the seeds, or tilling the garden....or .... or.... or.....

  4. Norma
    I think this is great, good instructions and i liked the little bit of humor!

  5. Love this and look forward to more from you!!!