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Make Your Own Seed-starter Pots From Newspaper!

Photo Credit: Whitney Cherry, UF IFAS Extension

Photo Credit: Whitney Cherry, UF IFAS Extension

4-H literally got its roots in gardening (pardon the pun). The very first 4-H Clubs focused on growing tomatoes and corn, and many youth and volunteers still enjoy gardening projects today. Gardening enriches your life, promotes good health, and saves money. One way to save money is to make your own paper pots to start your seeds. They are fun and inexpensive to make and are a perfect activity for your next club meeting!  For beginners, we recommend growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, beans, basil, chives, parsley, and lettuce. Not into vegies? Try starting sunflowers, zinnias, pansies, or petunias instead.

Items you will need:

  • Newspaper strips (not glossy inserts)
  • Bottle (not glass) or can to wrap paper around
  • Seeds and Soil

What to do:

  1. Cut strips of newspaper about 4” wide.
  2. Wrap strip of newspaper around an empty juice bottle and roll; try to keep the paper wrapped tightly. Half of the strip of paper should overlap the open end of the bottle.
  3. Fold the ends of the paper against the bottom of the bottle.
  4. Push the bottom of the bottle against a flat, hard surface (such as a table) to seal the bottom of your pot.
  5. Pull the bottle out and you have a finished paper pot. Fill with soil an plant your seeds.
  6. When the seedling is ready to transplant, simply drop the entire pot into the ground. The newspaper will biodegrade in your garden, and your plant will never be uprooted. Make sure paper is not sticking out of the ground – it will wick water away from the plant if not underground.

You can print a PDF version of the instructions for this activity.  Other great gardening resources include:

If you have a green thumb, consider going “totally green” as a 4-H gardening volunteer! 4-H needs caring adults like you to share their knowledge and passion for gardening with the next generation. Through the 4-H gardening project, youth not only learn gardening knowledge and skills, they also learn responsibility, teamwork, and other life skills that will help them grow up to be compassionate and competent citizens. To get involved, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit

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