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DCL

You don't need elaborate seed-starting biodomes or habitat-destroying peat pellets to get your greens to sprout. Here are a few methods that are both easy and-if you'd pardon the pun-dirt cheap.

1. Mini yogurt cups: Perhaps you or someone you know has a yogurt addiction. Wash and save the single-serving-size cups, poke a hole in the bottom-center of each container, and fill with seed-starter mix or a sterile all-purpose potting soil.

After sowing the seeds, I like to cover each container with a piece of perforated plastic (cut from newspaper and magazine baggies, then punched all over with a needle), held down by a rubber band, to maintain the moisture and humidity that promotes seedling growth. 2. Egg cartons: Used egg cartons are perfect for raising seedlings, when you use them to prop up halved eggshells you've saved. Poke a small hole at the bottom of each eggshell and then fill them with soil and seeds. I'm also a fan of stuffing egg shells with Earth Plugs, which are made of composted bark fiber and are inoculated with natural rooting hormones, and then popping a few seeds in the hole of each plug.

If you're using a plastic egg carton, shutting the lid results in your own homemade mini-greenhouse. Cardboard-carton "pots", on the other hand, are splendid because they can be transplanted straight into the ground-the cardboard fibers will eventually decompose in the soil, allowing the roots to poke through.

3. Toilet roll: You Grow Girl has easy-to-follow instructions on making a wee seed-starter pot out of a toilet roll. A few strategic snips with a pair of scissors and some folding are all it takes. You still have plenty of time to start your hoarding.

4. Newspaper: A little origami magic turns a single sheet of newspaper into a seed-starter pot that you can later plant whole into your garden in late spring or early summer. No glue, no muss, and very little fuss, this is the perfect indoors activity to keep your hands busy as you're dreaming of warmer weather.

Difficulty level: Easy