Making your own seed starting pots

Finished seed starting pot

I saw this little tip for making seed-starting pots from newspaper so I thought I’d pass it along.  It is made from a double fold of newsprint.  Choose only the black print, because it is printed with soy ink, something that can’t hurt the soil.  The colored papers and print are made with heavy metals, not something that you would want in your garden–or in your stomach.

As I said, the double piece of newsprint makes this the proper thickness and also makes it sturdy enough to hold up under the pressure of the potting soil and the water that it takes to sprout your seeds.   The finished product isn’t as sturdy as those purchased from the local nursery–nor are they as pretty, but they serve the purpose well.

Fold the paper lengthwise double, then double again so that the paper is the original height, only now

Full sized paper ready for folding

is 1/4 the original width.  Roll this around the open end of a regular sized water glass and fold the loose end

half folded paper

into the open top of the glass.  As you’re rolling, 1/2 half the paper is going to be sticking out over the open end of the glass and that is what you will fold inside the glass.

Once rolled, remove the paper from the glass and fold the portion that is inside down to form the bottom of the pot and tamp it down with the bottom portion of the glass to make it tight.  Now, given time, this pot will come apart, but you are going to place them side to side inside your planter box and fill them with potting soil.  This will keep them together long enough to get those tomatoes started.

Once the plants have matured enough to repot, remove the paper because it might retard root growth.  After all, the roots are what must be strong and grow first before the plant puts on the top growth.

Rolling paper onto the mouth of the glass

Continue then to plant in your garden or repot to a larger and/or more sturdy pot.  The paper you remove can be used in the compost pile, which is a good way of preserving soil moisture, or for worm bedding or some other use in the garden.  Unrolled carefully, they will make good weed mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting in areas they are not wanted.  Another good use is to wrap them around the base of the tomato plants to prevent damage from cutworms.

I have used many different types of starting pots with different results.  Another good pot is those small containers made of plastic, like that that comes filled with cottage cheese or some similar product.  Styrofoam works good also, like old coffee cups.  Anything that you save will put money in your pocket.

By the way, have you started your seed yet  Time to get that done.  If you don’t have a greenhouse, start them indoors near a south-facing window where the kids and dogs will not knock them over.

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