Newspaper pot makers enable a DIY gardener, seed-starter, or nurseryman to create endless quantities of inexpensive, biodegradable pots out of newspaper, packing paper, or other paper waste streams. Although the finished product is perhaps not as beautiful as DIY Origami Newspaper Pots, these ubiquitous newspaper pot makers can easily pay for themselves after one season (not accounting for DIY time/motion/labor). The pot makers could also make a wonderful, inexpensive gift for your gardening friends, families, or neighbors.
I purchased the Carrot Design pot maker not too long ago, and have had a good bit of fun using it so far. It includes instructions, top press, and bottom base. Ergonomics feel pretty good. There was a little roughness around the rim, but that has smoothed out with use.
My pot maker uses strips of paper cut to be about 3.5" by 10" (9cm by 26cm). Longer or wider strips can be used instead to make a deeper or more sturdy pot. I use the distance between the bottom edge of the cylinder and the rim around the spherical part as a guide for the ~3.5".
Disregard swapped dimensions.
After cutting a strip, I roll it around the cylinder, using the edge of the flange as a reference point for where the top rim of the paper will go. Then I fold. I'm still experimenting with the best folding method to ensure no opening in the pot's center for dirt to escape. I thing one big fold followed by many smaller ones works well so far.
Takes ~ 10 seconds to casually roll and fold Then the fun part of course, pressing:
Takes ~ 4 seconds to casually press
Minus one acorn because the completed pot edge occasionally opens a little, making it less pretty. A little moisture keeps the overlapping edge together. It's sturdy enough regardless.
Minus one acorn because it's not a complete system. A fast method of measuring and cutting the paper strips is needed to make it excellent.
Be sure to label your pot with a pen or marker prior to rolling and wrapping.
Spell out more than just one letter (Was that a B for Buckwheat or a B for Bean?) The newspaper is way easier to write on than many other biodegradable, purchasable paper pots.
For marketing, you could also draw little designs or cartoons, or jokes, or post your farm's website info, or how-to-care information about your plant, etc. for greater sell-ability. Big value added there in a farmers market setting
I've found these pots do very well in a wicking system. Make pots, plant seeds, and then submerge the pots in a tray with a couple centimeters of water. I was able to go on a vacation, and come back to some 1 foot seedlings greeting me recently!
Packing paper after a move is great, clean stuff. A single move would provide essentially a lifetime supply of paper for pots for a gardener or farmer.
I have had a similar gizmo for years, so here are some things I'd add from my experiences:
1. Many plants put down surprisingly long roots *really fast*, so having read about the benefits of having 3" of dirt for seed starting, I now use paper that's 5 1/4" wide, by 16" long. The roots still grow through the paper pretty easily so long as it's wet, but the extra height gives them a better start in my climate (and the extra height, really requires more layers around to support the dirt).
2. A huge advantage is being able to plant the whole pot without disturbing the roots when it's time to transplant. However, if it isn't a plant that I can put lower than the surface, I tear off any paper that might stick up a planting time so it doesn't wick the water away.
3. Personally, I don't have much trouble using a water-proof marker to label the pot after it's made, which means I can make up a bunch and label as I decide what seeds I'm planting - a mix of paper pots in a single container can have multiple varieties of seeds and if I move things around, the label doesn't get lost!
4. Many people start their seeds in plastic, but all that plastic has to be cleaned and stored - storing paper strips is easy!