A sustainable and free seedling pot.
A sustainable and free seedling pot.

 

What I dislike most about growing plants – or rather what I find scary – is transplanting seedlings. To me they are like newborn babies that you’d be afraid to carry for fear of breaking their soft bones or dropping them on the floor. Ooh! If you feel the same way about these baby plants, you’re going to love this idea which offers a better way of transplanting – making your own seedling cups with newspapers!

So what’s the deal? Well, let me start by telling you a little something about newspapers. We know that a key ingredient to growing healthy plants is by composting. Compost can include animal manure, sawdust, straw, food scraps and many more. Newspaper is also a good material.

Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pot SamplesWhat’s great about newspapers is that many of its printers now use soy ink. Yes, ink made from soybeans. Because of the rising prices of petroleum, the Newspaper Association of America during the 1970’s decided to look for other materials to make ink with.  They discovered soybean oil to be a great alternative for a number of reasons. They are more cost efficient and printer-friendly than the petroleum-based ink. They produce brighter and more accurate colors as well.

General logo for vegetable oil ink and Soy Seal
The general logo for vegetable oil ink and Soy Seal (Image Source: Wikipedia)

This is a better material not only for the companies, but also for the environment. Soy ink has low levels of volatile organic compounds which means that air pollution is reduced because of its minimal toxic emissions. Papers with soy ink are also easier to recycle, more particularly during the de-inking process because they are easier to remove compared to regular ink.

Though soy ink does not mean that it is edible nor 100% biodegradable (because they are still mixed with other ingredients required for producing ink), it is way better – safer – than the petroleum-based. Which is why newspapers today make even better materials for planting.

Making seedling pots out of them is a great idea! Aside from being a compost ingredient, it makes transplanting easier since you don’t have to dig up your plants anymore. No more fear of damaging their roots! Read on to know how. :)

What you need:

  • Newspaper (printed with soy ink)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cutter/Scissors
  • Stapler

Click on any image to start lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.8-)

Steps:

How to make paper seedling pots

Cut four 6-inch squares of newspaper.

How to make paper seedling pots

Fold the paper into thirds, both vertically and horizontally…

How to make paper seedling pots

so that you have a grid of nine squares.

How to make paper seedling pots

Flip the newspaper and fold all the corners.

How to make paper seedling pots`

This will make it easier for you to do the next step.

How to make paper seedling pots

Fold the corners as shown in the picture.

How to make paper seedling pots

And staple them to one side of the box. Do the same to the opposite side.

How to make paper seedling pots

Press on the folds to make the box more definite in shape.

How to make paper seedling pots

And you’re ready to put in your seeds or seedling!

NOTE: This is not exactly an arts and craft project, so don’t worry if the boxes are not perfect. As long as they can hold the soil for 3-4 weeks, then that should be fine.

Place your newspaper cups in a safe place where the seedlings can receive ample sunlight and air.

Once the seedlings are ready for planting, simply place the entire cup into the ground. This way, you get to transfer the seedling without disturbing its roots. Eventually, the newspaper will disintegrate without causing any harm to your plant. :)

 

  • festa

    i love this concept but how do you water the plants? wont the water soften the newspaper pots?

    • now4dw

      Hi Festa! It does but the newspaper holds together very well. I also put my seedlings together in a tray so that the sides are touching. That stops them from drying out and also gives additional support.

      Hope that helps.