Introduction: Simple Soil Substitute for Germinating Seeds

Picture of Simple Soil Substitute for Germinating Seeds

some of you may think that newspaper ink is poisonous so instead of it you can use pages from used notebooks or notepads or tissues

Create a simple soil substitute which can be used for germinating seeds.
It is almost for free and you just require-

Hey All plz vote as i have entered in a contest.........

Old newspapers
Some cotton
Microwave safe dish


Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

Cut long strips of newspaper.
Then cut these strips into very small pieces and add them to the container.
You can also add small bits of cotton to the mixture.

Step 2: Step 2

Picture of Step 2

Fill the container with little water.
Add water till it covers the paper strips.

Step 3: Step 3

Picture of Step 3

Keep the container in microwave.
Set the microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.
After heating, drain the water and wash the pulp like thing with cold water.

Step 4: Final Step

Picture of Final Step

Finally put the pulp in a small pot.
keep the seeds in this pulp and keep them in warm and dark place.
Add water regularly till they germinate.
After they germinate pot them in a bigger pot.


oreolla (author)2009-03-14

Quite interesting idea, but... as long as I remember the newspaper ink is loaded with lead, and other poisonous chemicals. Thankfully there is still more soil on the Earth than old newspapers ;D

MagicalPuff (author)oreolla2017-05-26

Newspapers no longer use petroleum based inks, the conversion began back in the 1970's. Now inks are soy based...

PeterP4 (author)oreolla2015-01-31

Not true anymore. The printing industry has been caught by the EPA and has switched entirely to soy for ink.

tejjammy (author)oreolla2009-03-15

please vote as i have entered in a contest

kchatrya (author)tejjammy2014-11-22

Paper is extensively used in labs for the superior germination results compared to regular soil. I thought all that was rocket science, but thanks to you I have found a way to do it home. Thanks a lot tejjammy

tejjammy (author)oreolla2009-03-20

hey this Instructable is about saving the earth so if you recycle paper its saving the earth isn't it?

oreolla (author)tejjammy2009-03-20

There is million other ways to recycle old newspapers already widely practicing all over the World, - you don't need to poison yourself in the name of "saving the Earth"

redgilnc (author)oreolla2012-12-30

I found that if you soak the newspaper in water for a day or two and then drain that water, it will loose much of the ink. This is what I do before feeding it to the earthworms and I think it will help rid of any worry about the ink.

tejjammy (author)oreolla2009-03-23

can you please tell how to recycle it without "poisoning" yourself.............

tejjammy (author)oreolla2009-03-25

hey but the results dont show methods to recycle paper it without "poisoning" yourself

tejjammy (author)oreolla2009-03-23

hey you can also use blank papers

ruthella (author)2017-01-03

How would you test the pH level of the soil? Please answer >< Thank you

ruthella (author)ruthella2017-01-03

I mean the substitute

flamethrower1010 (author)2011-04-02

I took this idea and really ran with it! I took a paper shredder and fed 4 pieces of newspaper folded at once through it then with scissors cut the bunches of strips into about 4 inch long pieces. I then put these into a big pot of boiling water I also added a few handfuls of shredded paper towel. I was fitting about 48 single sheets of newspaper into one pot. I did three pots and after cooking each one and stirring with a piece of wood, I put them into an animal feed bag to drain, the last pic shows the final product. 

Sorry I wasn't an active member here. I visited after a long time and saw your comment. Its very nice to see somebody liked my idea and tried it out. How was the outcome? Did it work the way you wanted it to?

zubain (author)2009-07-09

I have used a similar method for growing methi without soil. I placed a 10 mm thick layer of newspaper pulp in an office tray (shallow perforated container) and placed it above another office tray (shallow un-perforated container). The un-perforated container was filled with hydroponic solution prepared by dissolving water soluble fertilizer to a level just below the perforated tray (gap was about 10 mm). The seeds were placed on the pulp and covered with a single sheet of newspaper/tissue paper and kept moist by adding water to it frequently. The seeds sprouted and the roots grew down through the pulp into the water below. The seedlings roots had a secure grip due to the pulp and grew to the required size of about 3 inches in a few weeks before they were harvested to make methi roti (Indian flat bread). The hydroponic solution in the tray had to be topped up with water to compensate for consumption and evaporation. Sorry, I do not have any pictures of this readily available.

phuchhu (author)2009-04-22

a very great idea i had listened about something like this at our science fair

djsc (author)2009-04-14

Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales has experimented with composting newspapers, measured the levels of heavy metals and found no danger. Everything is a poison in a high enough concentration- the lead is in one colour of the ink, the ink is not a huge percentage of the mass of the paper overall and its concentration in the ink is measured in ppm. Soil already contains lead. I don't have the link to the C.A.T. findings but suffice to say I'm not worried. I think this is a great idea, I have been trying to wean my parents off garden center potting compost for years.

tejjammy (author)djsc2009-04-14

thanks for removing the misconception prevailing among the minds of these people

awang8 (author)2009-03-03

I'll give this a try.

Are you SURE newspaper in a microave is safe, even with water?

tejjammy (author)awang82009-03-03

its absolutely safe. or else how could i do it?

awang8 (author)tejjammy2009-03-03

I mean, doesn't hot newspaper give off poisonous gases from the ink? In my country newspaper is printed with toner. I don't want to put my pizza in my microwave if it's poisonous...

tejjammy (author)awang82009-03-04

where are you from?
in most of the countries the ink is carbon based. so if you heat it you may in the end get CO2 due to the oxidation.
see that ink is safe for human use

awang8 (author)tejjammy2009-03-06

Australia. It's free newspaper so they make it nice and cheap. In other words, el cheapo toner. Cheap toner is cheaper (and smellier) then cheap ink.

tejjammy (author)awang82009-03-06

it may be dangerous but i am not sure

lemonie (author)2009-02-25

How long before you post a picture of germinated seeds? L

tejjammy (author)lemonie2009-03-04

hey see the germinated seed pics

tejjammy (author)lemonie2009-02-25

maybe a week will be required depending on the seeds. i have planted watermelon seeds so it may take little longer

chuckr44 (author)2009-02-27

Seeds are generally germinated in early spring, when we have cool temperatures. Cool temps along with newspaper = mold. While your idea will actually germinate the seeds, I think you will get higher than normal mold growth if the temps are cool.

You should not have a mold problem in warmer weather where the temp doesn't fall below 74F.

Nice idea though.

tejjammy (author)chuckr442009-02-28

actually I live in India so the normal temperature itself is quite warm. so there is no or very less mould growth

qwert12 (author)2009-02-27

cool! Maybe ill give it a try

nepheron (author)2009-02-25


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