A simple and inexpensive way to start seeds is to fold newspaper pots and fill them with seed-starter soil (smaller particles that are usually sterilized).
I’ve tried several versions of folded and rolled pots and this is now my go-to choice. It’s easy to fold, needs no special tools, and holds together well. I just collect a few newspapers over the winter, do a little folding in my spare time, and I’m ready to go come spring.
How to Fold Newspaper Pots
I have a series of photos showing the steps. Solid lines are the edge of the newspaper. Dotted lines are fold lines.
I started with a sheet from a local freebie newspaper (which is slightly smaller than a standard newspaper). The largest square I could make from it is a 15″ square of newspaper and the final pot was just short of 3″ square. This is my preferred size for starting small seeds. For larger seeds or seedlings that might stay in my house a bit longer, I use a standard-sized newspaper.
Make a Square
Fold the corner diagonally toward the bottom edge and cut off the leftover bit.
Fold Again for a Center Point
Unfold your square and fold it point to point in the other direction.
When you open the square you will have a center point to your square where the folds crisis cross.
Take each corner and fold to the center point in the middle.
Fold In Again
Then do it again. Take each point and fold to the middle.
Now in Thirds
The next step is to fold the square in thirds.
Unfold the thirds and fold your square into thirds again in the other direction. Unfold again. What you’ve done is create a simple grid of fold lines. Your paper should look like this. The center box will become the bottom of the newspaper pot.
This is also a great place to …
Stop and Store
If you are folding your pots during the winter in anticipation of spring, it’s a good thing to store them flat. They won’t take up much room at this point in the folding process.
Time to Finish Them Up
When you’re ready to start some seed, you’re ready to work the last bit of folding and fill with dirt. Open one corner and keep an eye on the center square that is the bottom of your pot.
The Only Tricky Part
The corner you opened up becomes a tab. Lift the sides and fold the extra bits against the tab as in the picture. Again keep an eye on the bottom square. It will help you shape the box. The tab is the same width as the box bottom.
Tuck in the Tab
Make sure all your folds are neat and fold the tab down into the inside of the pot.
Repeat on the Other Side
Pull out the point opposite the tab you’ve completed and do the same thing.
This is the final product. Because the tabs fold down inside the pot, the soil holds them in place. It’s a snug little pot that will keep its shape. You don’t have to worry about anything coming undone.
I usually put all my pots in a tray, so they are easy to water and I can move them in and out of the house when it’s time to harden off the seedlings.
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When it’s time to plant them in the garden, you can tuck them in the soil as is (the paper will break down in time) or you can gently peel away some or all of the paper as you plant.
Related Reading: Starting Seeds with Sticky Notes
Take the crazy out of your planting schedule.
all photos © Lori / Dandelion Hill Homestead