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Making biodegradable paper pots

Here’s how to make biodegradable pots from a single sheet of newspaper, with no clips, staples or pot former needed. Biodegradable pots are ideal for seedlings that don’t like having their roots disturbed such as beans, sweetcorn and squash. Although they need to be handled carefully when wet, newspaper pots will last just long enough for a seedling to establish itself – and with practice, making one takes less than a minute.


folding a single sheet of tabloid newspaper in four, image1. Start with a double-page sheet of tabloid newspaper. Close it so that only one page is visible, and then fold it in half lengthways making four thicknesses of paper. You should now have a folded piece measuring about 15cm (6″) by 35cm (1′ 2″).



newspaper rolled round glass, image2. Place the drinking glass down on the newspaper so that the open end of the glass is 5cm (2″) away from the folded edge of the paper. Roll the paper firmly around the glass to make a tube.



tuck in bottom of newspaper pot, image3. Tuck the 5cm (2″) of free paper up into the glass all the way round. Don’t be too neat about it – the folds should stick out a bit.




making bottom of newspaper pot, image4. Pull the glass out of the paper roll, and then push it gently back in the other way round (bottom end first). When it meets the tucks, push it more firmly against the ground to form the base of the pot.


5. Finally, take the glass out and make the top edge of the pot by folding a 2cm (3/4″) lip over into the inside of the tube. Load the pot with compost to give it strength.finished newspaper pots, image

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One Response to “Making biodegradable paper pots”

  1. Mark Gatter says:

    Anyone interested in making these should be aware that it’s no longer possible to know just how organic any paper is. It might have been bleached with chemicals, or not, and it might have been recycled using chemical or mechanical means. The ink may be petroleum based, or soy, and either way it may contain colouring compounds you wouldn’t want to add to a garden. Unfortunately, there is just no such thing as truly organic paper – i.e. organic according to the soil association definition – available, any more.

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