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April 11, 2010 / littlefooteslab

paper pots show and tell

Remember Show and Tell?  So much fun.  I feel like there are a million weird stories revolving around show and tell.  Maybe that would be a fun post to do some day when I am not teaching you how to make paper pots.

My show and tell for today is a little how-to on paper pots to start seeds in. They are great because they are essentially free and the plants started in them can be planted in the paper, so they are less likely to be jostled around too much. The paper will just biodegrade in a little while. Not a big deal.

Truthfully, I did not come up with this idea myself. I read about it in the magazine ReadyMade (april/may 2010 issue, page 31).  (I just looked and the don’t appear to have this article online, but there are lots of other interesting things to read about on the site.)

strips at the bottom of the photo, little pots at top. random other crafty goodness all around.

SO.  Here’s what you do. Get some newspaper. Tear or cut it into 3 1/2 inch or so by the length of the paper strips. Make as many strips as little starter pots you’d like.  I used my quilter’s ruler thing, so it was fast and easy, just line it up on the grid and tear along the edge of the ruler. You could measure and mark your if you don’t have one of these nifty rulers, or you could eye-ball it.  Usually newsprint has a grain to it, so it’s pretty easy to tear it reasonably straight.

Grab a glass or other cylindrical object.  The glass I used was about 1 3/4 inches in diameter.  From Ikea. Not that it matters where it’s from. Just thought you’d like to know.


Then begin wrapping the paper around the glass so that about 2 inches of the paper are covering the glass and the rest is kind of hanging off.

begin at the end of the paper

Once you have the paper completely wrapped around, fold the overhang under. Start at the edge of the strip.

fold it all up

Get it all folded up nicely.  This doesn’t have to be perfect.


Then you are going to firmly press the glass down on the table and sort of set the bottom folds.  I like to think that this is a big SMASHING move, but since I don’t want to cut my hand, gentle is better this time.  Gentle but firm.


Secure the end flap with a little bit of scotch tape.  This will help the thing sit straight-ish until it’s filled and watered.

slip and slide and we're done

Then, just slip the paper off the glass and we’re all set. Ready for soil. Yippy! Now repeat as desired.  It’s fun and easy and really cheap.  Who needs to buy peat pots now? Not me!

Just add soil, seeds, and water!


Sprouts! As in, these seeds have sprouted! Not the sprouts for salads and sandwiches. hmmmm… those would be fun to grow. Super easy I bet!

You can see the little blue pieces of tape at the bottom of the image, that’s where I wrote the type of seed in each row as well as how long it would take them to germinate. I just like to know when I can expect some entertainment from things. It tells you something about the state of affairs here at Fort Foote when I consider, even for a second, that watching seeds sprout to be entertainment.  I need to get out more.

Now you are all set!  Boycott peat pots!

This year I am planning on buying already started plants for most of my vegetable garden, but I had a bunch of seeds on hand, some for flowers and a few for veggies, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw them in some dirt and see what happens.  I don’t have the perfect place to start everything myself and the growing season isn’t endless here, so a good way to ensure a good harvest is buying plants that have been started in a green house.  That’s my theory anyway. I think it’s sound. It’s based on my extensive assumptions and guesses.

Have you been to Farmington Gardens?  What a great nursery!  Definitely worth the drive.  Great plants and reasonable prices.  I love to support a local business.



Leave a Comment
  1. moma / Apr 12 2010 7:11 am

    Does the tape biodegrade or do you remove it? Thank-you! This scientific mind wants to know!

    • littlefooteslab / Apr 12 2010 10:23 am

      I used regular tape. It’s only a little bit, so I think it’s okay.

  2. Jessica / Apr 21 2010 7:36 pm

    Oh this is good! You should have seen our house years ago when we set up veggie seed production at our house. Hubby was into drinking Mt. Dew at the time so I thought I was clever and cut down the bottles for planters. We had these strewn all over the house in all our windows. Our neighbors must have thought we were lame with our ghetto planters of who knows what. But you do that when you are poor. You make due. At least your idea is so much prettier and better for the environment too. And just think how much I could have gotten for the bottle return if I had kept them intact.

  3. Maitreya / Apr 21 2010 10:26 pm

    Those are pretty cute!

  4. Lisa / Apr 22 2010 8:26 am

    I love this idea. It is brilliant. My 2 year old and I are going to have a fun project this weekend. Thanks for writing about it.


  1. Paper Pots Show and Tell – pt. 2 « littlefoote's lab
  2. DIY Organic Veggie Garden, Step One: Planning « DIY Studio

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