In pursuit of a simple, fabulous, imperfect life at home.

Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

For years we have been making our own seed starting pots from newspapers.  We start our tomatoes and peppers in them in a bright window and later the plants can be planted directly in the garden, pot and all, because the newspaper breaks down quickly and the roots can spread out into the surrounding soil.

To do this you will need some sheets of newspaper and bottle. (A wine bottle works great!)

Fold a sheet in half and roll it around the bottle with some sticking out past the bottom of the bottle.

Fold the newspaper into the divot (it's actually called a "punt") in the bottom of the wine bottle.

With the seed pot still on the bottle, put the bottle on a table and push down firmly while moving the bottle around on the table surface.  This will help the seed pot to keep it's shape.

Voila! A simple decomposable seed pot.  Made for free from items in your recycling bin!

We like to reuse plastic spinach containers to hold the seed pots.

When it's time to transplant the seedling into the garden, just plant the pots directly in the soil.  Peel back any newspaper that will remain above the soil line so that it doesn't wick moisture up out of the dirt.

How to make biodegradable seedling pots for free from old newspapers

Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  


  1. Aha! The wine bottle trick is brilliant!! I started seeds in newspaper pots a few weeks ago but the paper isn't staying together very well- I just rolled them up into a circle and tucked the ends in but they aren't staying. I'll have to try this way, it looks MUCH better!
    Also, I'm going to use your adorable quilt that is up on your header as inspiration for one that I'm going to make for our bed. It's so pretty! Love your blog!!

  2. and the lids to the spinach box will make a nice greenhouse effect for germination!

  3. That is so clever and simple, and brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  4. That is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    More recently I have been looking to buy some rugs.. anyone know any sites?
    I've heard about Any experiences there? :)

  5. I do it whenever I clean the house and the best thing is my whole family helps me with that.

  6. My newspaper pots had a tendency to do lose their shape, too. I just added a bit of tape to the side and bottom, and it seemed to work well. Just be sure to pull off the tape before you transplant the pots, though.

    I used canned foods as my form. For smaller crops that won't be inside very long, I used small cans (like tomato paste). For larger crops, I used bigger cans like green beans.

  7. no lie, my husband just started making these yesterday!!! He found the idea online. genius! - Cheryl

  8. Another idea I used this year is to cut a toilet paper tube in half and use this. It's a lot less work and may hold the shape better. I just squeezed a whole bunch into a spinach container and put soil in them and then planted some tomatoe seeds, works great! And they also decompose quickly when planted in the spring.

  9. How do you keep them wet without deteriorating the newspaper??? I guess experimentation will tell. I know many places say to water from the bottom but I'm guessing this wouldn't be ideal with these. Also I would guess they are best for shorter term seedlings, not something that needs 6-8 weeks??
    As for the toilet paper roll idea. I like, but this wouldn't be very much soil for most vegetables (which need 1/3 to 1/2 cup) would it? Lots of good ideas, thanks!

    1. Hi! The newspaper holds up fine for regular watering. we use a spray bottle and water daily with it.

  10. Thanks for the lovely idea! Hello from Greece!I just discovered your blog and I love what you're doing! I'll be visiting!

  11. My daughter and I made these the other day. Of course, the only wine bottle I had was half full, so I'm sure I looked like a great mom sitting on the front porch in the middle of the day with a bottle of wine and a three-year-old. Ha ha!! The pots turned out great though!

  12. Excellent idea and a very simple tutorial. I love and will surely use it for my future seeds :)

  13. That is the best idea for seeds I've seen no more taking out of plastic pots, it's just direct into the ground FAB!!!


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