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Extra pots

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 5b)

I've been saving the bottles from my bottled water and 2 liter soda bottles. I cut the tops off and poke holes in the bottom for drainage. You might have to use a heated ice pick to do this. Then I have extra pots for cuttings and pass along plants. Dannnon yogurt has a clear lid. I poke holes in the bottom of the cup and the couple in the lid. I then use these to start seeds in. My recycling effort.


Excellent tips!

(Zone 5a)

I was wondering what I was going to do for extra pots!!! I have used coffee cans in the past, but I don't get that many of them.


Lyndeborough, NH

I do newspaper pots, Use a 16 oz dill pickle jar for a form

Allows just the right size to put 18 in a standerd plant tray


(Zone 7a)

Byron, could you describe that process in a little more detail...how much newspaper do you use, how do you form it, etc.?

Schenevus, NY

when i start my seeds,i use milk cartons. i lay it on its side and cut the side off. poke holes in bottom. i can fit several on one old cookie sheet. from there i tranplant the seedlings into individual containers.

Lyndeborough, NH


Take a full B&W newspaper sheet.

cut it in 1/2 on the fold, Long way

Fold it in 1/2 the long way.

Layout on a table

Line up the folded 1/2 with the bottom of the jar.

Roll jar onto newspaper.

Stuff the "overhanging" edge into the top of the jar

Slide off the jar (works best with label removed)

I happen to own and older 3" round potato masher that works great for flanting out the "bottom of the pot from the inside.

A few staple up the outside flap and your done.

Note for some reason the botom will not always seal up good maybe 3 to 5%, I just toss those and make another one. Or a little scrap on the bottom.

Note 2. Make sure that there is no color printing, This will not rot down in one season.

They are flimsy when wet. Try to set it so the next time you handle them is at transplant


Plato, MO(Zone 5a)

I use a method very close to Byrons.Use old twine thin cotton stripes,anything Bio...paper over the top.the seeds.Leave about 12-14" twine extended from water source,get as mush of that twine into source.SHOULD help to prevent dryout.

After transplant,put those bottles IN the garden(hide if you like)Spiders will use them as homebase until end of season.EATING THOSE BAD BUGS!!Upsidedown clay pots are great,and can be Deco'ed...GIFTS?

Albany, NY(Zone 5a)

Someone send me an email once saying they used those e-z foil pans that you use to cook lasagna in. They poke holes in the bottom. For what it's worth.

(Zone 8a)

If you don't mind asking (and washing), most nurseries have a discard bin somewhere and will let you scrounge. Costs them too much to clean the pots for reuse. I've used the newspaper, foil, and made from bottom part of gallon milk jugs as well.


(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the instructions, Byron. I've made several so far, but I think I'm going to use a smaller form for seed starters...maybe a large medicine bottle. The "pickle jar" size will be a good size for transplanting seedlings. Do I need to punch a hole in the bottom for drainage, or will they self-drain?

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Must be something in the air. I've just started making and using those newspaper pots myself. I'd toss my two cents in.

First off, remember when you transplant with them to tear off about the first top inch. If the paper is exposed to the soil surface it will wick moisture away from the plant, and possibly let it dry out.

I've found that no matter how I crimp them, they don't want to stay together. So I use a bit of masking tape on the bottom, and on the side-seam. Unlike staples, it will bio-degrade.

I'm told that if you immediately fill them with soil or potting mix they will hold together without help from tape, staples, or whatever. But that doesn't work for me, because I spend these winter months makeing them, and piling them in a large container. Then I fill them as needed.

If you're concerned about ink, check with your newspaper office. Black ink is mostly soy based, nowadays, and is organically safe. Not all colored ink is.

You might be able to do a deal for the mill ends of the newsprint rolls, as I did, and then you wont have to worry about it. For $3-4 you can get as much as several hundred feet of plain paper, 27" wide. For those with small kids, this paper is great for drawing on, too.

I also use this paper for making my own seed tapes, which makes direct sowing faster and neater.

Another use for 2-liter pop bottles: cut off the tops and bottoms, and split the remaining cylinder in half. This will give you two collars for protecting seedlings against flea beetles and other soil-level pests. Push a collar about 1" into the soil.

Don't discard the necks after you cut them off. They make great slug traps. Leave the cap in place, push the "funnel" into the ground, and fill with beer.

Finally, don't forget that those pop bottles can be used as clotches to extend the season. Cut off the bottoms, discard the caps, and use them to protect early- or late-season plants.

(Zone 5a)

For some reason the beer never caught slugs for me. When I went out and found nothing, I couldn't help but think "what a waste of perfectly good beer."

I have also tried making the soda bottle traps where you cut the top off and fasten them in backwards and put bait inside. Didn't work.

The only thing that works for me is going out at night and playing mighty slug hunter.


(Zone 7a)

Brook, how do you make your seed tapes?

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Easy as pie,Lantana.

You can make any size you want---even, say, sheets that will take care of an entire bed. Most of the time, I make strips. I use a yardstick to rip strips the width of the ruler by the width of the paper---27" in my case.

Now, mix a paste of flour and water; about equal parts of each or a bit more water. Paste should be the consistency of thick cream.

Using a toothpick, put a dot of paste about every two inches (or more or less, depending on the plant spacing needs). Wet another toothpick by drawing it between your lips, and use it to pick up an individual seed and transfer it to the paste dot. When the strip is done, set it aside to dry.

I especially like these to lay out a cut-and-come again lettuce patch. I have 14 varieites going in my patch this year, which I will plant at two week intervals. So I store the seeds that way.

Turns out that five of these strips will fit in a 35mm film canister. What I do is put five different varieties in each film can, keeping a list. That is A is the following five varieites, B the next five, etc. The film cans can labeled A-1, A-2 and A-3.

To plant, I grab my three #1 film cans, lay out the strips in the bed, and cover with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. Water well. And watch the lettuces pop up. Two weeks later I plant by #2 cans, and the #3s go in two weeks after that.

I can plant a complete bed, this way, in the time it takes to direct-sow two or three rows. A great time saver.

As with any use of newsprint, make sure none of the paper shows above the surface, or it can wick water away from the plants.

The seed tapes work for practically any small seed. I'll be trying them this year for radishes, carrots, turnips, and spinach, for instance, as well as for the lettuce patch.

An obvious quesions, probably, but...

When you plant the strip in the ground, do you plant it with the seeds up or down?

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

I plant them with the seeds up.

Several other benefits to these. The strips add organic material---important in my clay-heavy soil. And they hold mosture, helping the seeds germinate. The roots grow right through them, until they disintergrate.

And for those this is important to, you get neat, straight rows.

I haven't tried this, but have toyed with the idea of soaking the strips in appropreate fertilizers, letting them dry, then gluing the seeds down.

To check effectiveness, you'd have to plant two strips side by side---one with and one without the fertilizer---and see if it made any difference.

(Zone 7a)

What a nifty idea! Thanks! This will work with a whole bunch of tiny little seeds.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks. But I can't take credit for it.

I learned it from Wanda Speer, down in Florida. So she gets the kudos.

Lyndeborough, NH

I have found that newspaper pots usually need 8 0z of water to totally saturate the soil, I just add about 6 oz so I don't over do it.

I also use 2 "grated" trays over a water tight tray to hold my Newspaper pots in. I found most of my grated trays at Walmart on Mon Am for free.

For those that won't do that, most seed supply houses only charge about .49 for these trays.


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