I watched my parents start seeds indoors every spring as I was growing up. They had amassed quite the collection of plastic pots, and they’d start their seeds in those. The pots would get grouped together on cafeteria trays and lightly covered with a sheet of plastic wrap, then set in the sun.
Now that the frog choir seems to be in session nearly every evening and the primroses are blooming outside our bedroom window, I’m starting to think more about how I’ll start my own seeds this spring. I don’t have a plethora of pots like my parents do, and I refuse to buy seed starting trays (even secondhand) when I can make do with things I have around our house.
Over the last few months, I’ve collected a few things I’ll be trying to start seeds in, ranging from egg cartons to paper towel tubes to plastic clamshell packaging (makeshift mini “greenhouses”). But my focus will be on DIYing newspaper pots. This appeals to me on many levels: they’re cheap (practically free), easy to make, and you can plant them right in the ground when the seedlings are big enough.
Yes, there is a nice wooden tool you can buy to help you make your newspaper pots, but it’s totally doable without it. All you need is a tin can or a glass jar, a lid the base of the jar will fit into, and some newspapers.
Here’s what I did:
1. Cut a strip of newspaper. One sheet of newspaper will make 4 strips to wrap around a 16 ounce tin can.
2. Wrap the newspaper around the can/jar, leaving about an inch of extra paper at the bottom.
3. Tuck the extra paper under, like you’re wrapping a present, and then mash the jar into the lid. This extra force will help the paper crease better.
4. Slide the jar/can out and fold about 1/4 inch of the top inward on itself to form a lip that will keep keep the top closed.
5. Fill with soil and sow some seeds!
Alternatively, you can lightly wet the bottom of the newspaper pots and set them on a tray to dry if you’re not ready to fill them yet. I made a handful and have been keeping them in a box in our guest room until I’m ready to use them.
This is an easy, mindless activity you can do while watching TV in the evening or if you have a few minutes of downtime while dinner is cooking, etc. You can even experiment with different sizes of jars/cans for larger or smaller newspaper pots as you see fit.
I hope you give this a try, and let me know how it works for you! Happy growing!