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Newspaper Pots and Mind in the Gutter

Bachelor buttons grow in newspaper pot

Quick update on how things are going since we planted some seeds in our handmade newspaper pots.

The newspaper pots are holding up to watering and being moved and shifted about. The seeds are sprouting and growing, so all is well. So, our little experiment is a successful one. Now if we could just get started earlier in the season next year. It is very difficult to think about planting anything when you are shivering in the snow.

Unlike most people, I want you to get your mind into the gutter. Recycled gutters that is.

When we moved in to our house we had to replace the leaky gutters. Like the good recyclers we are (or hoarders), we’ve held onto them, keeping them stashed away in the barn for a rainy day project or to eventually haul off to recycling. Ten years later, and I think we have a winner of an idea for those old beautiful gutters.

Gutter gardening! I know, it sounds less than fabulous, but honestly, doesn’t this look amazing to you?

suzanne forsling grows a great gutter garden

Photo  Credit: Suzanne Forsling as printed at the Juneau

Thought you might change your tune. Who knew stuff growing in gutters could be a good thing? Hoping to get our own gutter garden “off the ground” this weekend. Herbs, lettuce, radishes, and maybe some carrots sound perfect for a gutter garden.

For some more inspiration, and the reason why I stumbled across this gem of an idea at all, visit

What inventive methods are you utilizing in your garden space this year? Do share and tell!

What is growing in the newspaper pot photographed?

Blue blachelor button flowers

Blue Bachelor Buttons

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Read It and Plant It

The calendar says spring is here, and you know what that means – cleaning and planting. Or, if you are still waiting on the last frost of the season, preparing to plant.  Let’s combine the two and see what we can come up with.

A lot of people have a big stack of newspapers just piling up in the corner waiting for that “some day use” to occur. If you are like us, you use newspapers for a number of things, including ripping into strips to add to your compost pile. If you don’t have any newspapers, just ask your neighbor, or visit your recycling center. You are bound to find more than you ever wanted.

Newspapers make great starter pots for seeds. Now, you can get a fancy tool that is not only attractive and helpful, or you can use some simple items in your cupboard like a glass, food can, or a pill bottle. Our tool? An old Tylenol pill bottle works the best for us.

Thanks to my vintage (but still viable), 1978 edition of Park’s Success with Seeds, I know that for successful seed germination, my container needs to be the right depth (2.75 – 3.5″) so that the planting medium is 2.5 – 3″ deep. Too little plant medium and your plants won’t have optimum root development and growth. The planting medium will also dry out too quickly. If your pot is too big and you use too little planting medium you risk losing your seeds in the mix. Additionally,  limited air circulation and light will surely will be the final kiss of death to the little seedlings.

So, we marked off the correct measurements on our pill bottle so that our newspaper pots were big enough (3.5″)  to accommodate the appropriate amount of planting medium (2.5 – 3″).  We started rolling the newspaper pot at the top marking, keeping the pot even and properly measured. The videos don’t really discuss this tidbit of planting success, so we hope you’ll find it helpful.

Some of the videos show the newspaper pot makers using tape and glue, but we used neither. The bottoms of our pots are a little bulky, but think this might help keep them intact. We shall see.

Paper pots from newspaper for planting

There are a lot of videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to make a newspaper planting pot. We picked a few that we particularly liked to help guide you on your way to the garden of your dreams. Got one you’d like to share?

Newspaper pots are free and biodegradable. It’s a little messy, but you might just like the opportunity to give yourself permission to get a little dirty. We won’t tell.

Another thing we like about using newspaper is how easy it is to write on the pots to keep track of your plantings. No need for additional plant markers!

What are we planting you ask? A lot! That is another post entirely. We are really excited to get started on the seeds sent to us by thanks to an offer we spotted at Urban Sustainable Living Magazine.

This is our first try with the newspaper pots, so we are excited to see exactly what sprouts up. Share your newspaper pot stories and photos with us, we’d love to hear your experiences.

By the way, you can now find us on Facebook, come ’round and fan us.


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