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[Music] Spring has a habit of being a pricey time of year thanks to all those seeds and equipment that have to be purchased. Thankfully, seed pots needn’t add to the shopping bill. It’s easy to make your own from nothing more than egg trays, toilet tubes, and newspaper.
In this blog we’ll show you how. Newspaper pots are easy to make, and like all of these home-made seed starter pots they’re environmentally friendly as well as free. All you need is an old newspaper, some scissors, and a jar, which will act as your mold. It’s important to only use newspaper for your pots. It rots down quicker than glossy magazine paper, and is less likely to contain ink with traces of toxic heavy metals. Prepare your newspaper by cutting it into strips about an inch (3cm) taller than your jar. With your strips stacked up, you’re ready to roll. Begin making a newspaper pot by folding a flap along the length of a strip, like this. Now unfold the flap to leave a crease. Take your jar and place it at one end of the strip so that the open end sticks out. Tightly roll the strip around the jar. Holding the paper closed, turn the jar on its end and fold the loose ends of the paper like this to create the base. Push down, and pinch along the edges to firm them up. Now, holding the bottom flaps, pull out the jar, firm up the base, then fold it along the crease to create the rim of your pot. And there we go – a newspaper pot! Don’t worry if the pot looks a little wobbly – once they’re filled with potting soil they become much more stable Nestling your pots side by side within a tray like this will help them to remain secure as the paper becomes saturated. By using different size jars, you can create a range of different pots tailored to different seedlings. When it’s time to plant your seedlings out, simply dig a suitable sized hole into prepared ground and plant the pot as it is. There’s no need to unpeel the newspaper – it will completely biodegrade within a matter of weeks. Toilet paper tubes make ideal seed pots. Cut them in half for standard seedlings, or leave whole for those seedlings such as peas, corn and tomatoes that appreciate a longer root run. You could also use paper towels tubes cut down to the right length. Set your tubes within trays so that the potting soil doesn’t fall out at the bottom. As the seedlings grow, their roots will help to hold the potting soil together. Just like our newspaper pots, positioning the tubes side by side like this gets additional strength as the cardboard soaks up moisture and softens. You could also group pots together with string or rubber bands. To create a bottom to your cardboard pot, cut 4 inch-long slits into one end of the tube at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Fold the flaps down like the end of a cardboard box, alternating the tucks to create a strong interlocking base. You’re now ready to fill with potting soil, and sow. Cardboard tubes are slower to rot down than newspaper. Roots will find their own way out of the pot, but if you prefer you can peel off the cardboard before planting. This is very easy to do when the cardboard’s wet. Using cardboard egg trays for seed sowing is undoubtedly the easiest method of all. Simply cut off the lid, then place it underneath the base for extra strength. Fill the compartments with potting soil, pressing down with your fingertips to firm. Than moisten with a mister, and that’s it – you’re ready to sow! Due to their smaller size, the roots of some crops will soon become constricted in egg trays, so use them for starting off crops that will quickly be moved on or planted out. When sowing, be guided by the instructions on the seed packet which will tell you how deep to set the seeds. Sow one or two seeds per cell or pot. You can either create holes to the correct depth using a pointed tool such as a skewer, sow, then backfill, or sow the seeds before covering with more potting soil to the right depth.
Egg tray cells are very easy to separate once they’re wet. Just tear the cells apart, then rip away the base to help the roots escape into the ground. Growing your own vegetables from seed will save you a lot of money, and making your own pots from paper and cardboard will save even more. It’s a great way of reusing materials you’ll almost certainly have lying around and its environmentally-friendly. If you’ve got any ideas for biodegradable pots, please share them by dropping us a comment below and if like these simple ideas, why not share to enjoy more great gardening blogs. [Music].