A few days ago, I decided to start some onion seeds....
I sprouted them in this plastic take-out tray. I cut a piece of paper bag to fit the bottom, sprayed it until it soaked up the water, and sprinkled onion seeds in. Once the top is snapped shut, it stays nice and moist. I kept them near a sunny window to stay warm. And tonight, they were ready to go.
Time to put them into some soil! It's far too cold out even for cool-weather crops, though. Newspaper pots to the rescue! After a little trial and error, here's how I made them....
You'll need black and white newspaper, a soda can, a tray or small tub, a spray bottle, and potting soil.
Cut or tear black and white newspaper into single pages and then into into quarters.
Take one of those quarters and make any adjustments to size that would be appropriate for your purposes. I folded one edge over, as shown below, to make them shorter and more uniform.
Now, wrap the paper around a soda can, letting a couple inches extend beyond the top of the can. It should overlap itself. Notice that I have put my fold on the bottom, which lets the ragged end extend beyond the can.
Now we're going to form the bottom of the pot. At the overlap, fold the paper over the top of the can.
Fold it a second time, leaving just a point of paper.
Fold that final point down. Voila! You've just formed a biodegradable seedling pot!
But it's not going to stay together all by itself. I found that it helped to spritz the folds of the pot bottom as well as the edge of the overlap.
Place them all in the tray or tub. They should be somewhat snug, so that they will help each other hold their forms, but not crushed together. Voila!!! Your very own biodegradable seedling pots for FREE!
They held their forms quite nicely once they were all nested and filled with soil. Here I am making indentations for my onion seeds.
I put in the 16 healthiest looking sprouted seeds, covered them, gently misted the soil with the spray bottle until it looked nicely moist on top, then poured water into the tub itself to allow the pots to soak it up. I'll primarily water them by misting heavily, since I didn't set up the tub to allow the pots to drain. (You could do so by putting a layer of rocks beneath them.)
I put plastic wrap over it to hold in the moisture and keep out the cats, and I'll make room for it in the sunny laundry room tomorrow.
Once ready to plant, I can just plop the pots in the ground and the paper will biodegrade and become part of the soil. If you make these, keep in mind that they aren't as sturdy and peat pots. You may want to double the thickness if you're concerned about them falling apart when you lift them out, but I plan on lifting them out with a kitchen spatula while holding them with my other hand. Once plopped in the ground, I want them to fall apart as quickly as possible.
One other note: I'd avoid color newspaper. I've read in more than one source that you shouldn't compost newspaper with colored ink if the compost is going into a vegetable garden, so I'd venture to guess that you should keep those colored inks out of your garden entirely.