Seed Starting: Newspaper Pots

In the Pacific Northwest, it’s time to start your garden—or at least start thinking about your garden—if you haven’t already. Even if you aren’t ready to get outside quite yet, you can start by doing your garden planning and starting some seeds indoors.  An easy, fun, and inexpensive way to start seeds indoors is in newspaper pots!

Newspaper pots are great because you probably already have all the supplies you need at home and—because most newspapers now use organic pigments—they’re biodegradable and can be planted straight out into the garden. If you aren’t sure what kind of ink your local newspaper uses, check their website or just contact them and ask.

To make a newspaper pot, all you need is newspaper, scissors, a clean, empty aluminum can, and some potting soil!

You’ll also want a tray to put all of your filled paper pots in, so you can easily water them as they grow. I like the plastic trays that I can buy at my local garden store that come with the propagation domes, but any tray that can hold water and won’t leak or rust will work.

For this video, I used an 6 oz. size aluminum can, but you could also use the 14.5 oz. size. I usually decide which size to make based on what I am planting and how much room that plant will need before I am able to plant it out. For example, a jalapeño seedling will be just fine in the 6 oz. size, but a squash plant may benefit from a little more room. 


  1. Cut your newspaper into thirds lengthwise (if using the 14.5 oz. can size, cut in half lengthwise instead). 
  2. Wrap the newspaper around the can.
  3. Place the can on the newspaper with the closed side of the can lined up against one edge of the newspaper and leave about an inch of newspaper hanging off the other end.
  4. Roll it loosely, so you’ll be able to slide it off the can.
  5. Push the edges of the newspaper into the open end of the can.
  6. Slide the can out and turn the can around, so that the closed end of the can goes back into the pot this time.
  7. Secure the bottom by pushing the can down to flatten the newspaper at the base of the pot (if it feels a bit wobbly you can roll the top edges in to secure it, but once you fill it with soil it will stabilize more). 
  8. Pull the can back out and you have your finished paper pot!
  9. Fill your paper pot with soil and place in a tray.
  10. Plant seeds and care for as normal.

When it’s time to plant out, there’s no need to unwrap it or anything. You can just plant the entire pot in the ground and the newspaper will break down in the soil. 

For more info on starting seeds indoors visit this post.

Happy seed starting!

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