How to Make Organic Planting Pots Using Old Newspapers

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Introduction: How to Make Organic Planting Pots Using Old Newspapers

This is a great way of making your own organic planting pots. The final product (ie the pots) are great for your small plants, they can be put very tightly together and when the plant is ready to be put into the ground you can plant it with pot still on. The paper will gradually break down in the ground.
On the market there are a few different tools to make this pots, this is an easy way using things you probably already own.

Step 1: What You Need

Newspaper
Bottle
Pair of scissors
Soil
(seed)

Step 2: Basic Cutting

Use your bottle as a guide to see where you should cut the newspaper. I like to cut several pages each time.

Step 3: Wrap the Paper Around the Bottle

As seen in the picture

Step 4: Folding the Bottom of the Pot

Using finger of your choice, fold excess paper towards bottom of bottle. It is useful in this step if bottom of bottle is slightly concave.

Step 5: Flatten the Bottom

Remove pot from bottle. If you look inside the pot the bottom will be raised. Use fingers or knuckles to press bottom flat.

Step 6: Fill With Soil

This is what makes the pot steady. Without soil it will disintegrate in a few second.

Step 7: Final Planting

Plant your seed, water and try to remember which kind of seed in which pot... Or make nice-looking tags.
It is useful to put the pots together as this will create a great climate for growing plants. When you water the plants the water will gradually diffuse into surroundning pots making the maintenance of pots easy.

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94 Discussions

Just an FYI to everyone finding this after me who is looking for true organic ideas for the garden.

Most newspaper is bleached with hydrogen peroxide, which is quite literally listed as an INorganic peroxide.

It most definitely is not organic.

thank you can you use news papers in a garden

COOL!!! TY for sharing...I know that I can always count on my "instructables family" to teach me something new. TY

1 reply

Such a good idea! I used another article online and made paper pots using PVC pieces, but this is even easier.

I am not sure how the true organic gardeners would react to using newspaper to plant seeds in. If the ink in newspaper has soy in it, 90% of the soy grown in the United States is GMO.

1 reply

You can get newspaper end rolls directly from the newspaper publisher with no ink on them.

You can get newspaper end rolls directly from the newspaper publisher with no ink on them.

Very usefulll... will try with my 4 year old today... a we plan to plant some vege seeds today... great job

Thanks for sharing this creative, simple and environment friendly idea

Really like this idea. I’ve always used newspaper as mulch in my garden to keep the weeds down but never thought of this ..Thanks

Okay, Instructables, who ate all of the popsicles? LoL.

Regarding setting pot out into the garden without removing the plant, did your answer mean that if you use just the sheet that you used in the demonstration, that the pot would not harm the growth of the plant?

To prevent drying out, place all your newly potted plants in a tray that allows approximately 20 mm of water to sit in the bottom. If the tray is deeper than about 20mm, drill holes in the sides so it overflows at 20 mm. Your plants will not dry out as they suck up the water from the base tray. You can water directly into the tray.

If you have a tray with holes in it, place a rectanglar piece of heavy plastic inside the tray base before putting your pot plants in the tray. Make sure the water will overflow at about 20 mm so the plant does not get too much water.

We do this with native trees in New Zealand that require watering from underneath. They never dry out. Maybe you could try this.

I've been using a whole section of newspaper for each pot. It makes them much sturdier and holds water better, but it is still okay to plant the pot?

1 reply

It should be fine. Will take longer to decompose and make sure you put drainage holes in the bottom. Most plants, especially tender ones, don't like to get their feet too wet :)

This is a such a great idea! I am always looking for a project that helps get the kids involved, they are already excited about starting seeds this Spring for the raised beds. I am sure they will have a great time experimenting and discovering all sorts of variables on this. Thanks

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the fact that degrading newspaper attracts earthworms! Don't worry about the naysayers, some people will find something negative to say about anything. I've read articles about these, but never anything saying how to do it. Awesome and simple!

Don't you find that the water leeches and evaporates out of the pots quickly?

2 replies

It's not much of an issue because you still have water loss through the top of the soil, an area you have to keep watering anyway because it's where the seed/root starts out. Plus, if you didn't have the water loss then the newspaper would stay very wet all the time which could lead to early rupture before you're ready to transplant.

Yes, you have to add water quite often. I guess putting them in a plastic container will prevent that.