Raising seedlings using recycled newspaper…

by hanne on 21/05/2007

in Paper+Mixed Media

Look what I created last week: homemade jiffy pots made out of 100% recycled paper.

I needed some little pots for pre-sprouting and as I´m not very found of thee little green plastic ones from the super market I started experimenting with newspaper by wrapping some newspaper around this “thing”. I really don’t know what it’s called in English – it’s not to find in my dictionary. However, it’s a kitchen tool – a zinc cylinder with a hole in the bottom and a wooden part that fit’s into the cylinder. Traditionally used for making balls or dumplings for the soup – and to form dough into vanilla cookies. But now it’s also a gardener’s tool!

Anyway, this is what how to do it, it´s very simple: You wrap the paper around the wooden part, sprinkle the paper with water, squeezed it a little, removed the “thing” – and voila: a nice little jiffy pot for pre-sprouting made out of 100 % recycled materials!

And the recycling goes on: so one day when your pre-sprouted plants are ready to set out, you just dig a whole in the soil and place your plant, jiffy pot included. Don’t bother to remove the pot – the roots of the plant will easily penetrate the paper, and at the same time the paper will disintegrate and vanish into the soil.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa K. May 21, 2007 at 9:18 pm

We made jiffy pots last year using the same method at a gardening workshop I attended, only we used soda cans.

Thanks for the reminder!


2 Sonja May 21, 2007 at 9:47 pm

That’s such an awesome idea! I was just about to put mini pots on my shopping list…


3 Laura May 21, 2007 at 11:35 pm

You may want to check to see what inks your local newspaper uses – some are toxic and shouldn’t be let into the watertable.


4 Caitlan May 22, 2007 at 2:05 am

I have something like that- it’s an extruder, I think.


5 liz May 22, 2007 at 4:18 am

I found an interesting link – http://permaculture.org.au/2006/04/22/compost-miracles/ – that talks about newspaper inks and composting. Composting seems to break down a lot of the harmful chemicals. But it says beware of glossy and color pages, the composting process doesn’t seem to break down the chemicals used very well.

Apart from that a lot of the media coverage in the US seems to be about ink that gets into the water table from the production process, and storage, rather than the final product.

I guess I would rather use newspaper than one-ff plastic.


6 chocolate covered musings May 22, 2007 at 9:00 am

i’ve only ever known them as ‘paper planter makers’, but they are a fabulous idea. i’ve also heard similar things about glossy paper and composting.

happy seedling growing to you!


7 Lindsay May 22, 2007 at 9:23 am

I’ve tried these. They don’t work that well. Decomposition does not keep up with root growth, so roots can girdle and strangle the plant.


8 Stu Mark May 23, 2007 at 12:35 am

Congrats, this post has been nominated for Hot Stuff Of The Week over at our site, GNMParents – Good luck in the voting!


9 Calypso May 24, 2007 at 2:05 am

This is how my grandad used to make little pots, too. Lovely to see them again.


10 K May 27, 2007 at 3:38 pm

I think Martha Stewart got the same idea, I saw it on her show about 2-3 weeks ago.


11 patty May 28, 2007 at 2:25 am

start planting!


12 rachel May 29, 2007 at 9:19 am

worms love the newspaper and once planted in the garden the newspaper will be eaten through and promote healthy soil.


13 natasha June 2, 2007 at 6:54 am

i bet that toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes cut into smaller tubes would work well also. super idea!


14 steve June 6, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Do not use colored papers or glossy. Also it is a good idea to gently open up the bottom before you plant them. Sometimes the rootballs do bind up if you dont.


15 Micah June 11, 2009 at 12:57 am

Go to the nearest newspaper printer. Ask for “end rolls”. These are rolls of newsprint with no ink. Like the last few sheets of toilet paper on a roll, they are too short for the high speed machinery to use and are otherwise recycled or discarded. They often have a few hundred feet of pristine paper. Oh, and they come on some really stout cardboard tubes- useful for all kinds of things. Cheers!


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