Seedling Pots From Phone Book Pages

Category Helpful Hints
Although they are fast becoming a thing of the past phone books are still distributed in many areas. Their pages can be formed into very good seedling pots. There are several tips on making these paper pots found below.
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I find that egg cartons and pudding snack containers do not provide enough space for proper root formation of indoor seedlings. I make my own containers with no more than pages from an old phone book and masking tape.

The size I want the finished "cell" to be, will determine whether it will be 1, 2, or 3 pages thick. It will also determine what I choose to wrap the pages around before taping edges and formed bottom together, and then sliding off. The finished cells are placed in suitable containers such as frozen food trays, filled with my homemade potting soil, planted with seed, watered, and placed where they will receive as much sunlight as possible.

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Pros:
You can make a variety of sizes.
All components are free.
Plastic is kept out of the landfill.
Easy to do.
Container and all can be planted (break open bottom a bit first).
You feel good about what you've done.

Cons:
There are none.

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I was working on my front lawn when I noticed a supplemental telephone directory had been left on my porch. I never use telephone books for their intended purpose, but I could use this one to keep a promise.

I told Judy Pariser I would do an article on how I made seedling pots. They are so easy to make. I usually make several hundred a year. While I don't think most people would make that many, it's good to get an early start on them.

I think of making the pots as being somewhat like knitting or crocheting. You keep all your supplies and materials ready and handy. Then as the occasion arises, maybe watching 'As The World Turns' (This time, I'm dating myself), you can make a few pots til the episode is over. By doing a few at a time, it doesn't become monotonous.

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I like making the pots with telephone pages. They're practically pre cut. You can make several size pots with the one size page, and as far as I know, all telephone books are now printed with soy ink and should be safe for your seedlings and garden.

If you can get the thinner supplemental books as I have here, it's best to use them. That's because the hardest part of making these pots is separating the pages from the spine. The thinner the book, the easier that part will be.

First, rip some pages from the spine. Rip whatever amount you are comfortable working with.

Then begin folding the pages. How you fold the pages and whether you use a single page or more will be determined by the size pot you make. A single page might make a strong enough pot if the pot is quite small. Larger pots should be made with two or more pages. Here, I am making a size pot I use most, so I know two pages will be best.

Take two pages at the free end and fold them in half, aligning them with the spine. Using your fingers, or smoothing bone if you have one, put a nice crease in the fold. Then rip the folded pages from the spine and set aside. You can continue doing this til you have a stack of pages as high as you want to work with.
Sometimes, I stay at this point and fold several hundred pairs of pages. They will be ready when I come back to the project.

For the size I'll be making, I'm using a candle glass as a form.
I like for all the pots to fit nicely in whatever will be holding them. The candle glass was a bit small for this purpose. So, I wrapped a layer of thick paper, (I used a piece of cereal box), around the glass to make the form larger. Note that the upper end of the thick paper serves as my placement guide for the pages.

The creased edge of the pages is aligned with the top of the guide.

Use thumb/fingers of one hand to keep the pages taut and in alignment with the guide. With the other hand, continue wrapping the pages around the form. (Yes, that's dirt under my thumbnail. I just came in from gardening).

Secure the free edge of the pages near the top with a small piece of masking tape. When making larger pots, you may need a second piece of tape placed near the bottom.

Turn the form upside down. Fold a section of the pages that contains the free edge over onto the bottom of the form. The pages should extend to a bit over half way of the bottom.

Continue folding, first, right and left sides and then the back. Try to bring the point of the back section to where it aligns with the top tape. This will make a stronger pot. With a longer piece of masking tape, secure the finished pot.

Slide pot off form.

Now, all I need is nineteen more to fill this handy little soda tray I found along a highway.

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If you have access to phone books, the pages are the perfect size for seedling pots. Without any cutting, and depending the size of your form and how the page is folded, you can make pots in a variety of sizes.

Seedling Pots From Phone Book Pages

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