Lee Valley & Veritas

Gardening Newsletter
  Volume 12, Issue 2 - February 2017  
Make Your Own Paper Pots
Paper pot
If you start your own seeds or do any transplanting, I have three words for you: Alert! Alert! Alert! That means you should pay attention to what I'm about to say. Sometimes it also means a tornado is coming, but in this case it does not.

I received a fancy doohickey for Christmas for making paper pots and I love it! It's simply a column of wood with a recessed base. You wrap newspaper around it, smush the bottom together and – whammo! You have a paper pot.
Potmaker (WP101)
I love it. It looks nice, it feels nice and best of all … it works. That isn't always the case with doohickeys.

The only problem is that it only makes one size of pot. Smallish. This is great for some things, not so fine for others. Lettuce? Small pot is fine. Tomato plant? Not so fine. I own five different shapes and styles of hair brushes. I'm a girl who likes options.

So I went searching around the house for something that would replicate what the doohickey did, and the most reasonable facsimile I could come up with was a straight sided bottle. Wine bottle, vinegar bottle, juice bottle … anything as long as it has straight sides and a recessed bottom.


Sorry for yelling, but it seemed the best way to make sure you understood the seriousness of the point I was making. If the bottle doesn't have a recessed bottom, you're doomed.

Want to make paper pots that are not only made using all recycled materials but will completely decompose in the ground? Grab some newspaper, a bottle with a RECESSED BOTTOM and, well, that's it, actually. That's all you need. Read on and you'll find out how to make the paper pots and why your bottle needs to have a recessed bottom.

Rip or cut a piece of newspaper. It should be the height you want your pot to be plus an inch or two – one inch if your pot is narrow, two inches if it's wide. This is an approximate measurement.
Position the bottle on the paper
Roll your bottle until all the paper is wrapped around it.
Roll the paper around the bottle
We are now at the point where you learn why the recessed bottom is so important.

Starting at the seam of the newspaper, push the paper into the recessed bottom. If you use a can, bottle or something else that isn't recessed on the bottom, the paper won't lock in position and your bottom won't form. Then your plant will fall out the bottom. See? The recessed bottom is important.
Push the paper in at the bottom
Continue to push the newspaper in until it's all wrapped under the bottle. Push it hard with your fingers or thumb. This will help crease the newspaper and make it more inclined to hold its shape and not fall apart.

Slip the paper pot off of the bottle. Fill with soil and add your teeny tiny seed or your teeny tiny transplant.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and … recess. For as many plants as you plan on growing.

Text and photos by Karen Bertelsen

Karen Bertelsen is a Gemini Award nominated television host who has appeared on some of Canada's major networks including HGTV, W Network, Slice and MuchMoreMusic. Five years ago she started the blog The Art of Doing Stuff (www.theartofdoingstuff.com) as a creative outlet for her writing and endless home projects. The Art of Doing Stuff now receives over half a million views per month and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Style at Home and Canadian Gardening magazines.
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