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NEWSPAPER POTS FOR STARTING SEEDS

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.

a new seedling in a newspaper pot
Simple and inexpensive.

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.

Overall Size

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 diagonally to make a square
Make a paper square.

Fold Again for a Center Point

Unfold your square and fold it point to point in the other direction.

fold again the other direction

When you open the square you will have a center point to your square where the folds crisis cross.

folded lines showing the center point
There’s your center point.

Fold In

Take each corner and fold to the center point in the middle.

fold corners to the middle
Meet in the middle.

Fold In Again

Then do it again. Take each point and fold to the middle.

fold to the center again

Now in Thirds

The next step is to fold the square in thirds.

fold square in thirds
The bottom third is folded up. I just need to fold the top third down.

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.

grid created by folding in thirds
You’re ready to shape the box.

Open one corner and keep an eye on the center square that is the bottom of your pot.

opened point
Open a point for the start 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.

folding extra bits toward tab
Cross over folds.

Tuck in the Tab

Make sure all your folds are neat and fold the tab down into the inside of the pot.

before and after of tab construction
Tab up -> Tab in and down

Repeat on the Other Side

Pull out the point opposite the tab you’ve completed and do the same thing.

A repeat on the other side.
Constructing a tab on the opposite side.

Voilà!

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.

a finished newspaper pot

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.

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Image credits
all photos © Lori / Dandelion Hill Homestead

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