plastic pot alternatives : the paper pot maker

paper pot maker

It’s February – that means gearing up for the local Seedy Saturday and bringing all the seed-starting gear out of storage.

I love this time of year. Memories of pulling weeds and endless hours of canning tomatoes are distant and fuzzy with nostalgia. All I want is to get outside.

Our kitchen table is strewn with seed catalogues and garden plan sketches. Our kitchen floor will soon be over-run by trays and trays of soil which I will flit over like a Mama bird for weeks.

Something about starting plants inside when its still cold and pouring buckets outside makes the winters not seem to long. It’s easier to endure when you have spring emerging early on your kitchen floor. I love the graceful, determined arch of those first seeds of late winter as they faithfully unfurl towards the sun.

I love everything about starting vegetables from seeds.

Everything except the mounds of plastic pots.

For one, they’re wasteful. Even if you reuse plastic pots from the nursery, they’re a drag. They pile up everywhere collecting dust and critters for most of the year. Thankfully, there are other options.

The first alternative to plastic pots is the wooden pot maker. This simple, useful and unbreakable tool turns strips of newsprint into tiny paper pots, perfect for starting seeds or cuttings. They run about 10 to 15 dollars.

Just tear a ton of newspaper strips about 2 inches wide, roll around the doweling, fold the bottom over and press it into the second piece of the pot maker. Presto-chango! A pot! Ta-da! Simple and effective. I can imagine a few years from now this being a task my little boy will be charged with.

I used these little paper pots to propagate a ton of rosemary and was super happy with them. The roots grow right through the paper with ease, so your starts won’t get pot-bound.

I got my Pot Maker from Lee Valley,  but you can also find them at better garden shops. Happy potting!

By the way – I’ve gotten flack in the past for advocating using paper products in my gardening rather than recycling. Of course we should recycle. But the fact of the matter is the paper we recycle goes back to make more crap, lots of which we don’t need. (Some we do of course – toilet paper comes to mind.) Anyway. I figure growing food is a worthwhile second use of the life of a tree. If you disagree, put it in your blue box and use something else. No skin off my nose.

3 thoughts on “plastic pot alternatives : the paper pot maker

    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      You don’t if you’re clever! I’m sure if you had some skills with wood or were creative with pipe or something you could easily make your own. It’s not exactly high-tech . . . But I’m not that clever and don’t have time to figure out how to make the maker. The most I can manage is figuring out how to make the pots. Baby steps. 🙂

      If anyone has homemade pot-maker prototypes out there, please share!

  1. Pingback: Seed Starting – Find What Works Best For You! |

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