Recycle your old newspapers into pots for your indoor seedlings.

Newspaper pots for seedlings

Photo by Mars Vilaubi

Some seedlings (tomatoes, for example) can be started in small flats, then “pricked out” (yes, it’s really called this! Blame the Brits.) and transplanted to individual containers to grow on until it’s time to plant them in the garden.

When it comes time to “prick out,” however, many people find themselves scrounging for suitable containers to transplant into. It’s only then that they realize they haven’t hoarded nearly enough yogurt containers to fill their needs. What to do?

Here’s a project, adapted from The Dirt Cheap Green Thumb, that can help — as long as you have a) a small glass and b) some spare newspapers lying around. Find a suitably sized glass to use for the project; this will depend on what size seedlings you’re transplanting, but generally a small juice glass will suffice. It’s immeasurably helpful to select a glass with straight sides, rather than one that is tapered (you’ll soon see why).

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    Step 1: Cut it. Start by cutting a fully unfolded newspaper sheet into four equal strips, lengthwise.

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    Step 2: Roll it. Layer the strips, one on top of the other, creating a single strip of newspaper that’s four layers thick. Wrap the newspaper around the open end of the juice glass, leaving enough slack in the paper so that you can slide it off the glass in step 3.

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    Step 3: Tuck it. Stuff the end of the newspaper into the opening of the juice glass, then slide the glass out of the newly formed tube. If you haven’t noticed the taper in your glass, this is the point at which it will become frustratingly apparent.

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    Step 4: Tamp it. Flip the juice glass around, insert the bottom of it into the tube, and tamp down to secure the base of the pot.

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    Step 5: Fill it. Remove the glass and fill the tube with potting mix.

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    Step 6: That’s it! Now you’re ready to transplant. The pots will hold together until you’re ready to plant your seedlings in the garden, though you’ll want to avoid moving them around too much in the interim. The newspaper can be composted when you’re finished with it.

Carleen Madigan

Before becoming an editor at Storey Publishing, Carleen Madigan was managing editor of Horticulture magazine and lived on an organic farm outside Boston, Massachusetts, where… See Bio

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