Monday, March 21, 2016

DIY tutorial: newspaper pots for seed starting

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
The most practical thing about newspaper pots for seed starting is that the seedlings can be placed in the soil with the newspaper still wrapped. You avoid damaging the roots during the move and over time, the newspaper will degrade and give nutrition to the soil. Pretty sweet, huh? ;-)
Re-use old newspaper and make seed starters
Re-use old newspaper and make seed starters


When I first told my boyfriend that we would make seed starters out of old newspapers, he was skeptic. With a practical mindset, he asked "Won't the paper pots fall apart when you water the soil?" Indeed, he had a point.

But I convinced him that 'thousands' of others (on the net) had made newspaper seedling pots with success. If they can do it, why can't we? ;-) We just had to find a way to make the paper pots sturdier.

You're going to need:
  1. Old newspapers
  2. Scissors
  3. Bottle, jar or anything that can be used to form a pot
  4. Hemp strings 20-25 cm (hemp is biodegradable)
  5. Old ice cream box (perfect for transporting the pots)
  6. Seed starting soil
  7. Seeds

In this tutorial I've used a jar with 6,5 cm in diameter and approx. 13 cm tall. I've made smaller newspaper plant pots, but the soil tends to dry out faster.

Step 1:

Start by carefully tearing out the middle pages of the newspaper. To make the pots sturdier, I use two pages that I place vertically on the table. Place 8-10 cm of the bottle at the edge of the paper. Have in mind that you can make two newspaper pots out of one double page! :-)
Step 1: Making newspaper plant pot
Step 1: Making newspaper plant pot

Step 2:

Tighten the newspaper around the bottle and start rolling!
Step 2: Rolling a newspaper seedling pot
Step 2: Rolling a newspaper seedling pot

Step 3:

Picture to the left: When you're done rolling, use a hemp string to keep the paper together. Have a bunch of hemp strings ready.

Picture to the right: Then cut the newspaper about 8 cm from the bottom.
Step 3: Use a hemp string to tighten the paper, and then cut the newspaper
Step 3: Use a hemp string to tighten the paper, and then cut the newspaper

At this stage, you should write on the pot the current date and what you're planting. It's easier to write on a glass than a newspaper filled with moist soil ;-)

I forgot to write down this information the first time, and didn't know what I had planted where. This is important because each plant has different requirements when it comes to watering, temperature and sunlight.

Step 4:

Carefully fold the bottom of the paper. A tip is to push the bottle opening against your chest while you're folding to avoid the bottle slipping in your fingers.
Step 4: fold the bottom of the paper to make seed starters out of newspaper
Step 4: fold the bottom of the paper to make seed starters out of newspaper

The picture to the right shows that the entire bottom should be covered. If you can see the glass in the middle, slightly push the jar a bit higher and start over with the folding.

Step 5:

Lift the bottle up and voila, you have a newspaper plant pot! :-) To make it stand, push the paper towards the bottom.
Step 5: lift the bottle up
Step 5: lift the bottle up

This is where you experiment on how to make the newspaper pot stand. I don't think much about it now since the weight of the soil will in the next step straighten the pot.

But if it bothers you that much, then listen up! :-) Last week I had a seed starting workshop at my place. My friend was frustrated with the pot because it wouldn't stand, so she sat there cursing and mumbling. And then she cracked the code! :-)

A technique she applied was pinching the paper around the bottom.
Ready-to-use newspaper seedling pots
Ready-to-use newspaper seedling pots

To the left, you see the first seed starter pot I made out of newspaper. It didn't want to stand. But the second round of newspaper pots could stand after some pinching :-)

Step 6:

Now comes the really fun part, and that is adding seed starting soil in the newspaper pots.

Remember that when the newspaper plant pots are filled with soil, they're fragile when being moved. Always place your fingers at the bottom for support, before lifting the pots! The other day I actually used a spatula which also works :-)
Newspaper seed starters filled with soil
Newspaper seed starters filled with soil

It's been three weeks since we made the first newspaper seedling pots, and none of them has fallen apart, even after a little watering. 
Place the seed starters in an empty, large box
Place the seed starters in an empty, large box

You should place the newspaper seed starters in an empty, large box so you can move them wherever there's natural daylight.
Milk carton and newspaper plant pots - ready for germination
Milk carton and newspaper plant pots - ready for germination
What about drainage?
Plant pots made out of paper don't need drainage since the paper will absorb the excess water :-) If you're using seed starting soil, the mix should be natural moist and the seedlings won't need much water. To avoid fast dehydration, cover the pot with a plastic and make small holes for the air to circulate.


After 3 weeks and 1 day:
The newspaper plant pots after three weeks and one day
The newspaper plant pots after three weeks and one day

With this tutorial, I hope you have the knowledge (and courage) to make your own newspaper seedling pots! :-) And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me or post a message below.



Continue to read:
Urban farming project in Oslo - The Harvest.

Green your summer with eco-friendly and portable BBQ grills.

Have your say about what you just read :)

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...