If you dream of spring, you can start the growing season earlier than if you plant the seeds outdoors (where you will have to wait until after the last frost). And some plants, like certain tender vegetables, start better indoors. With so many seeds in these small packets, finding enough containers can be a task. Instead of buying containers (or even using recycled plastic containers), try a simple technique to turn this newspaper into biodegradable pots that, given the right conditions, you can plant directly in your garden (which will not disturb the roots of your seedlings) . Until then, enjoy the up close and personal show that feels like a mini miracle every year.

  • Read the seed package or do a little research to see if your seeds should start indoors or outdoors, or if they need special treatment like soaking, cooling, or scraping.

  • These pots do not hold back water as long as they are plastic pots. So check them at least once a day to make sure they haven’t dried out.

  • Open or tear off the bottom of the pots before planting them outside or in a larger container to allow root growth.

  • newspaper

  • scissors

  • Small can (made from tomato paste, for example) or straight-sided glass

  • Spray bottle or small bowl of water

  • Pencil or permanent marker (optional)

  • seed

  • Sterile potting soil

  • Tray or baking sheet with lip (optional)

Step 1

Cut the newspaper into strips so that they are wrapped around your can at least a time and a half and at least 1 inch larger than the can. (For a tomato paste, a strip that is four and a half inches wide and 12 inches long can be used.)

step 2

Roll the strip around the can, just loosely enough to slide it out.

step 3

Holding the rolled newspaper by the seam to prevent it from unrolling, press the newspaper overhang over the edge so that there are four or five flaps to form a flat bottom.

Step 4

Spray or dab water droplets on the flaps to shape them at the bottom of the can. Once the paper pot holds its shape, slide the can out and let it dry for a few hours.

Step 5

Label the pots with pencil or permanent marker (or add a plant marker after planting).

Step 6

Fill the pots with moistened potting soil and sow the seeds according to the seed package. Hold them on a tray or baking sheet with a lip to catch the draining water.