When it comes to bringing new life to your garden, print is certainly not dead. In fact, if you are growing seedlings indoors, newspaper pots are an easy, low-cost way to start your plants for the spring gardening season.
Newsprint is structurally sound, but porous enough to promote drainage. The pots are also fully biodegradable, so they can be planted directly into the ground when you are transplanting your seedlings (or easily peeled away if you have roots to tease apart before you put your plants in the ground).
Upcycling newspaper also helps reduce the amount of material you are contributing to the waste stream. Though newspaper recycling programs are among the most successful — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 70 percent of all old newspapers in the United States are recovered and recycled — reusing your newspaper to make seedling pots will help reduce the environmental and economic cost of resources used to process recycled newspaper into new materials.
To make seedling pots, all you need is newspaper, scissors, tape (masking tape is generally best, but Scotch tape will do in a pinch) and a can or cylindrical glass.
1. If the section of newspaper you have is a full-page spread, cut it in half along the fold.
2. Fold the page in half lengthwise.
3. Use a can or glass to roll the paper into a cylinder. Tape the edge to secure.
4. Fold on end of the cylinder inwards to create the bottom of the seedling pot. Tape the edges to secure.
5. Slide the can or glass out of the newspaper pot.
6. Fill the newspaper with potting soil and seeds.
7. Place on a tray on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights and water regularly until your seedlings are ready to transplant.
Making your seedling pots out of used newspaper not only reduces plastic waste in your garden if you forgo traditional plastic seedling cells, but it will also help you save money on gardening supplies while supporting your local newspaper.