I’ve been experimenting a bit with alternative seedling pots lately. I have quite a few regular pots and starting pots for the vegetable garden. But as I have to repot many seedlings at this moment, I really need hundreds of pots. You see, I have collected a ton of different seeds (as you can see below) and for every type of crop I sow out 2 to 100 seeds out. And for most seedlings need to be repotted after they have been sowed for the first time to a bigger pot to grow comfortably until I can plant them out in early May.

I started thinking about alternative pots a while ago and tried out several things and today I’ll tell you about three alternative potting ideas: old plastic bottle pots, papier mache pots & origami newspaper pots. I have reviewed their usability below. Remember, these are alternative pots for repotting seedlings. I’ll write a review later on alternative pots for the first sow.


This method was definitely the easiest one to set up. You just take your old milk bottles and cut away the tops with a sharp knife or scissor. I then place them in the dishwasher and after they have been cleaned I drill a hole in the bottom (again with a knife or scissors). Ready to go.
I have few hands full of these kind of bottles now that I use. We don’t drink excessive amounts of milk so we haven’t collected a lot of these the past year. Another negative point for these bottles is that they are very difficult to hold on to before you start using them, because they take a lot of space as they can’t be placed one on top of another in a efficient way.
From a recycling point of view, it’s kind of good to re-use these bottles one extra time before they are re-cycled. And in the end you can put them in the recycling bin again and they will come back as a different product in a next life.

alternative seedling pot2

alternative seedling pot5


A second thing that I tried out was making these pots out of old newspapers. Kind of like papier mache, but a bit different. The method seems easy. You just blend big amounts of newspaper in mildly warm water and the place them in moulds. I used plastic planting pots, as that was very convenient. Others use muffin plates, but I didn’t find those tall enough for the purpose. After you have made them, you just wait a few days till they dry up (in open air) and you can then use them.

What can I say about their usability. Hmmm.. first of all they aren’t that easy to make. It takes really a lot of time to make them. I also don’t believe it’s a very good thing for your blender to blend newspapers. The pots turn out quite sturdy though and I’m not sure how good this is for the roots system of your seedlings. I think the outside layer is too thick. I couldn’t make it thinner though. Overall I don’t think I will make more of these pots. It was too time consuming to make and I think in the end they aren’t as useful as other solutions.

alternative seedling pot3


The latest thing I have tried out are origami newspaper pots. The tutorial for these origami pots is going round on the i-net now that gardening season has started. It’s a very easy tutorial, involving 10 steps or so. You use old newspaper pages and there is no cutting involved. I produced around 50 pots during a television show in the evening. So it wasn’t very time consuming to make.


They also score quite high on usability. It’s easy to prepare in advance and it’s a plus that you can store them easily (see below) before you use them. They don’t take in a lot of space. They are also very easy to fill with soil and a perfect size for young seedlings.

And because you can place them in the ground as a whole in the end, they seem to be a perfect alternative seedling pot. For me these guys are the winner, with the milk bottles as a strong runner up. The papier mache ones are definitely a no-go.