The PotMaker Makes Seed Starting Simple

The PotMaker
Make biodegradable seed starter pots easily with The PotMaker from Lehman’s in Kidron, or at

Today’s article comes to us from Ann VerWiebe, a staffer at 89.7 WKSU, a service of Kent State University. We’re proud to help support public radio, and were thrilled when Ann jumped at the idea to test one of our products. Ann’s an avid gardener, crafter, sewing maven and all-around creative person.

This winter in Ohio has been tough and persistent. Even now, weeks after it has officially turned to spring, we can’t be sure we’re passed the final frost of the season. I decided to force the issue by starting seeds on what is commonly known as a “sunny windowsill.”

I used the PotMaker to create tiny starter pots. What’s really great about this product is that it allowed me to easily – and cheaply – make something that can be planted directly in the ground once my seeds have sprouted. The simple strip of newspaper used to make the pot biodegrades in the earth without disturbing the roots of the seedling during the transplanting process.

To start, I took a sheet from the daily paper, ripped it in half and made 3” wide strips. I guess you could cut with scissors, but I chose the lazy route and tore the strips using my quilting ruler as a straightedge. The length doesn’t need to be precise, just the width.

Measuring paper for PotMaker
Make sure your paper’s 3 inches wide–any wider, and it won’t form properly.

Then, I rolled the newspaper around the Pot Maker “peg” and pressed into the base to form the pot’s flat bottom. I found the pot rolled a little, but as soon as I added potting mix, it stabilized.

Forming paper pot on peg.
Wrap the strip of paper snugly around the peg of the PotMaker.
Forming the pot on the plate.
Press the peg firmly into the bottom plate of the PotMaker. This forms the pot.
Watering seeded pots.
Paper pots, filled with potting soil and seeds, ready to water!

The pots were larger than I expected and I was easily able to add dirt and a few seeds to each. I put them in a silicone baking dish (I really never liked cooking in this pan, but it’s perfect as a waterproof holder), watered them and put them in the window to sprout. Despite absorbing the moisture, the tiny pots are sturdy enough to withstand the multiple waterings required to get my garden going.

As I try to be optimistic about summer actually arriving, I can watch my tiny basil and zinnia plants sprout.

pots in window
In the sunniest window of my apartment…waiting for sprouts!

Then I will pop the paper pots in the ground and collect my bounty – raised inexpensively by seed versus paying for plants at the nursery. And, all with just a little dirt and a few strips of discarded newspaper.


PS: An new email from Ann shows us this: sprouts ahoy!

I have sprouts! And once it gets warmer (40° high today) I look forward to setting plants out to harden off.
I have sprouts! And once it gets warmer (40° high today) I look forward to setting plants out to harden off. Thought this might be a nice addition to the article.   –Ann
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