Here’s how to make the easiest paper pots ever. I’m making them at the moment as part of a plan (spoiler alert) to give my friends home-made gardening kits this Christmas. With twelve of these pots and a packet of heirloom seeds, they should have some bean seedlings ready to plant out two-to-three weeks after Christmas. Yes, I live in the antipodes where Christmas often involves a beach visit in bathers on Christmas day, but these pots are just as brilliant in winter by a bright window to help northern gardeners get the jump on spring. Anyway, file these instructions somewhere safe because you may, one day, find this a very worthwhile activity. Now here come the instructions… they will seem tricky the first time, but thirty pots later and you’ll be an expert!
Step one: Here’s the sheet of newspaper (below), with my hand on it to get a sense of the scale. I think it’s referred to as a half-broadsheet.
Step two: Fold this in half, from left to right (see below), and do it neatly, pressing down on all your folds as you go. (I’m being intentionally rough & ready in these photos, to help you see what’s happening.)
Step three: Fold again from bottom to top.
Step four: Now, another fold, this time from left to right
Step five: Then take the bottom right corner (see below) and lift it up and across to form something that looks a little like a paper aeroplane shape.
Step six: Flip the whole thing over (see below) and repeat step five again. It will feel tricky, but just aim to end up with the same result as you did in the previous step and you’ll see it’s easy.
Step seven: Now adjust the wings to make this flat smooth shape (second image below). It’s a simple move where you flip everything across by a half, then flatten it out onto the table again.
Step eight: Take each wing and fold them in towards the centre fold. Then take these same folded sections and fold them, again in towards the centre fold. Flip and repeat on the other side.
Step nine: You should now have something that looks like this (below). If you look closely at the top you’ll see there are tabs, front and back, that are ready to be folded out to help form the rim of your pot. Do one, then flip the whole thing over and do the other – be sure to press your folds down firmly.
Step ten: Now it’s time to open out your pot by teasing out the top and flattening the bottom onto the table.
Step eleven: The flaps are useful to link a series of pots together a bit like punnets at the garden centre: just set four pots together and slip the flap of one pot into the pot sitting next to it. But I tend to use my pots separately so I staple the flaps like this (see below).
And that’s it! From here on you: 1. fill them with potting mix, 2. pop in your seeds and when your seedlings are big enough to plant out into the garden, 3. put them into the soil, pot and all, because these pots will break down incredibly quickly (no root disturbance). And if you’re giving them away or making a batch to store for a rainy day, stop at step nine while they are still flat and bundle them up with some funky string (for a gift) or rubber band (for storage).
PS. If you feel a bit iffy using coloured newsprint as I have here, stick with black and white which is generally a less toxic option, especially for veggie seedlings.