Thursday, October 13, 2011

PotMaker: a clever, low tech gadget

As soon as I came across the PotMaker, I knew I needed one. This two-piece wooden toy helps the eco-conscious gardener roll small pots out of newspaper. The pots are quite small, but they are big enough to start seeds. An added advantage is you can transplant the entire pot, since the newspaper will soften and degrade in moist soil.

Perhaps the main attractor for me was that the newspaper pots are much cuter than the boring plastic pots.

bean seedling in a PotMaker pot

Making pots with the PotMaker is definitely craft-time of the Third Grade variety. In other words, it feels completely satisfying. The easy directions are clearly stated on the box. First, the newspaper needs to be measured and cut. While the length of the newspaper can vary from 10 inches or more, the width of 3.5 inches should be adhered to. I was quite pleased to come up with an adaptation to the basic protocol. I started adding an extra flap that can be tucked in the pot at the end to keep the end from unraveling out.

pots from the PotMaker
At first, striving too hard for perfect pots, I rolled the newspaper strips too tightly on the wood dowel. The newspaper should be wrapped loosely or it will take some effort to pull it off.

This would be a great project for kids. If I had one, I'd certainly keep him or her busy making me cute, re-purposed, DIY, biodegradable seed pots.

I love how many more of these newspaper pots fit in my seed germination area than of the larger, plastic pots I was using. I have noticed that they do dry out more quickly, so best to check moisture more often. That's no problem for me, since I love to moon over my seedlings.

All in all, a satisfying project and a good product.

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