I own two special jigs for making paper planting pots from repurposed newspaper. However, there are plenty of materials around the house that will allow you to make your own pots without buying anything! Here is a tutorial of the process I have learned works best for me to make paper pots for spring garden starts. I hope you find it as successful as I do!
I make two sizes of planting pots each spring. I make small pots using my PotMaker – the diameter of the jig is 2 ¼” which makes 36 pots per planting flat, 4 wide and 9 deep. Three to four weeks before last frost, I plant tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, herbs, head lettuce and garden flowers such as alyssum, marigolds, viola, and even dahlia seeds in the little pots. To ensure that the plants don’t dry out from too much evaporation I always plant full flats and use a plastic cover to ensure as much germination as possible since I am starting so many types of seedlings.
I make big pots using the homemade pot maker – the outer diameter of the PVC pipe is 3 ½” which is the maximum diameter you can use and still have a reasonable fit into a planting flat. 18 pots of this size will fit in a flat, 3 by 6. You might need to distort the sides a bit and form them into squares but this will provide the most planting media in a paper pot that I find feasible!
I plant the big pots a few weeks later with squash, melons, and cucumbers. These plants can be severely hampered by becoming root bound and do not take well to traditional transplanting, however, I have found you can give them a leg up by diligently planning and only planting when you are sure they will have a window to be successfully moved outside, and by not disturbing the roots during transplanting.
One thing to be aware of when planting paper potted plants into the garden is that if the top of the pot is exposed it can act as a wick and dry out the plant not allowing for a proper connection to the garden soil. To prevent any issues, make sure that the lip of the paper is covered by tearing a small amount off the top of the pot before planting the entire thing in your garden!
How to make paper pots: The Process:
This process does not crimp the outside of the pot quite as well as the methods with incised rings at the base, but the pots work great once you get a little soil in them!