Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paper Pot Maker

Seedling in paper pot
I've tried lots of methods for growing seedlings but my fav involves The Paper Pot Maker—a little wooden mold for forming paper pots. These pots are easy to make and can be transplanted directly into the ground. No more plastic pots to store or wash! It's also incredibly green. Not only are you recycling paper, you don't have to use water to wash out the pots or bleach to sterilize them.

Some tips for using the Paper Pot Maker:

1. Just use one thickness of paper. Using several layers or really heavy paper prevents it from going fully into the mold and forming a nice secure shape. It's the ridge at the bottom that really holds the pot together so you want that tightly formed. And newspaper works great but I also like to use recycled (medium weight) brown bags.

2. Use the suggested size (3½ x 10") strip of paper, or close to it. I used to not pay attention and completely wing it. Some pots were great, some fell apart. So I made a cardboard template. (It's a bit longer, 3½ by 11.) Now, without being too precise, I can cut the paper fast and still get a good size to work with.

3. If the pots are coming out a little wobbly, press the paper harder into the mold. You can salvage an imperfect one by pinching or folding the paper a bit more to stabilize it. Really, the only pots that just don't work are the ones with too big or too small strips of paper.

4. Don't worry how they look because, after several weeks, they'll look terrible. In fact, they'll disintegrate. And that's the point! Rest assured, even if the bottoms pretty much rot out, there's enough paper and, at that point, root mass, to hold it together for planting.

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