Apr 14, 2011

Newspaper Pots

As you may or may not know, I had to kick the green beans out of my seed starting shelf.  They were a bad influence on the other veggies, and frankly grew out of control.  However, I wasn't quite ready to just throw them out into the garden.  They needed time to acclimate to outside conditions.  So, I needed a bigger (small) pot, at least temporarily.  Instead of running out and buying seed pots, I decided to make some.  Here is a step-by-step instructional guide.   

First, gather your supplies.  You will need some newspaper, preferably black and white with few pictures.  Although colored pages, like the funnies are cute, they aren't very environmentally safe for your new plants or garden.  The Wall Street Journal middle sections work perfectly, because they use soy based ink to print.
You will also need a can, any kind will do as long as it has straight sides.
Yes, any kind.  Even Japanese sweetened azuki beans.  No one will know.  =)  Finally, you will need a plant that needs a bigger home.  If you look closely, you can see the green bean roots growing out of the seed starter.  You can also start seeds in these pots, if you are so inclined.    
That's it.  No tape, glue, scissors, or black belt in origami necessary.  I swear. 

Now for the good stuff.  Double up your newspaper sheets if you have a single, but if you have a 2-sheet attached middle section, just lay it out on the table.  Here is what I mean by 2-sheet attached middle section.

Two sheets make your newspaper pot a little more sturdy.  Now, fold it lengthwise in half.
Then, line up your can about halfway down the newspaper.  It should look like this:

Next, tightly roll the newspaper around the can.  Don't worry too much about keeping it straight, it should work out naturally.
Taking pictures with one hand is hard.  Try it.  =)  Keep rolling the paper around the can until you reach the end.
Now, this part is very important.  Keep holding onto that seam, and press the open end of the newspaper down at the seam, using the bottom of the can as a guide.
This will help "lock" in your seed pot so that it stays together.  Next, fold down another side.
Again, push against the can to get a flat bottom.  Finally, fold down the third and last side.
At this point, I usually flip the whole thing over and smash the newspaper down with the can inside of it, to help make sure that my folds will stay.  Finally, wiggle the can out of the paper.  It may seem a little fragile, but when you add the soil in, it will hold!  Also, because the bottom overlaps, there is no room for any soil to leak out of the bottom. 
Add soil and plants/seeds, and place in your desired location.
This project is very easy and inexpensive.  I think I took 15 minutes (max) to make these 9 pots.  Also, when it comes time to plant, you can just water and unfold the bottom of the pot, so that the roots can grow down. The newspaper should decompose naturally in your garden. =)  


  1. I've been waiting for this post! But you do have to tell where/how one finds out their newspapers use soy based inks? Definitely something I would never have thought to ask.