If you'd rather not buy plastic flats or peat pellets for your seed starting, it's very easy to make seed starting pots out of items that were destined for the recycling bin or compost pile (or, worse, the trash!) Here are three easy, free ideas that work very well.
If you buy the occasional newspaper, consider putting them to use as seed starting pots. It's very easy to make these pots, and you can plant everything, paper pot and all, at planting time. The newspaper will decompose fairly quickly in the soil.
Things to Consider:
- Don't use magazine paper or other shiny or very thick paper. You need it to be able to break down in the soil, and magazine inks often contain heavy metals -- definitely not something you want in your garden!
- You can use any size container you want as the base for your newspaper pot. A baby food jar or yogurt cup would work well for tiny seedlings that you'll be potting up into larger pots before they go outside.
- When you plant your seedlings outdoors, make sure that the top of the newspaper pot is below the surface of the soil. Otherwise, the paper will wick moisture away from the plant's root system. If it isn't below the soil's surface, simply tear some paper from the top of the pot.
This is another no-waste seedling pot option. Like the newspaper idea, above, you plant the eggshells along with your seedlings in the garden. They'll break down, adding a small dose of calcium to your soil as they do so. These work best for seedlings that you plant out when they are still fairly small: lettuce seedlings, spinach, and herbs would all do well started and planted out in an eggshell pot.
Things to Consider: - Make sure you clean the eggshell before planting it up. - Don't forget to poke a few small drainage holes so your plant doesn't get waterlogged. An icepick, small screwdriver, or thin nail will work well. - To make it easier for your plant to spread its roots once you plant it in the garden, gently squeeze the eggshell before planting it -- this will break it up just enough to let the roots find their way out of the pot. 3. Toilet Paper Roll Pots We have plenty of them around, unfortunately. Mine very often go right into the compost bin, but around seed starting time it's not a bad idea to start saving your toilet paper rolls to make easy, no-waste seed starting pots from them. These could not be easier to make, and they're especially good for plants that have a long taproot and don't like being transplanted (think sunflowers, Echinacea, and parsley.) Things to Consider: - Like the newspaper pots, above, make sure the entire roll is below the surface to avoid water being wicked away from your plants' roots. - If you're worried about the pot not breaking down quickly enough, you can cut slits up the sides of the pot, or try to peel off the outer layer of the roll. - If you're finding that the rolls aren't standing up straight on their own after they're planted up, try either tying some string around a grouping of them or containing them in a shallow bowl. There you have it: three ideas for seedling pots that don't require you to go out and buy a bunch of plastic stuff. No cost, no waste. Works for me! Watch Video: Permaculture Gardening