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7 DIY Seed Pots From Common Household Items for Starting Seeds Indoors

Treehugger / Steven Redmond

Your recycling bin can be a great source of materials for making your own seed starting pots.

Planting season is rapidly approaching, and if you have a sunny window, you can get some of your veggies started indoors right now. The sooner you start your seeds, the bigger the plants will be when it’s time to put them in the soil, and the quicker you’ll be able to begin harvesting food from your garden.

Most garden centers sell plastic trays and pots, soil blocks, or peat pots to use for starting seeds indoors, but if you’d like to start your seeds without having to go purchase a bunch of new stuff, there are a bunch of inventive DIY seed pots that can be made from items you probably have in your recycle bin right now.

1. Newspaper pots

Small seedling pots can be made by rolling doubled-up sheets of newspaper around a small jar, then gluing the bottom together with wheat paste, or by folding the paper into a square pot and stapling the edges together. The entire pot can be planted in the ground once the soil is warm and the seedling is mature enough to be put in the ground.

2. Egg cartons

Cardboard egg cartons can be used to start a dozen seedlings, and then cut apart to plant each one when it’s time to plant them in the garden. As with newspaper seedling pots, there’s no need to remove the plants from the pots before planting, as the cardboard will break down in the soil as the plant grows.

3. Eggshells

If you’ve got egg cartons, you probably have egg shells as well, and while they can be crushed to make a great soil or compost pile additive, egg shell halves can be used as seedling pots as well, and naturally, they fit perfectly inside an egg carton tray. A small hole will need to be punched in the bottom of each shell for drainage.

4. Paper towel or toilet paper tubes

Not everyone uses paper towels, but pretty much everybody buys toilet paper, and the paperboard tubes in the center of both of these items can be cut to form small seedling pots. There are two different methods of making pots from these paper tubes, one of which is to just leave the bottom open and fit the tubes tightly together in a tray (easiest), and the other is to cut several vertical slits in the bottoms of the tubes and to fold the resulting flaps to form the bottom of the pots (takes more time, but the soil won’t come spilling out the bottom if you pick these up).

5. Yogurt cups

If you’re going to indulge in single-serving packaged foods such as yogurt cups, at the very least you can give them a second life by making the plastic containers into small seedling pots. The larger yogurt containers will work as well, but take up much more room, so in this case, the smaller yogurt cups offer more versatility. Cut a series of small holes around the bottom edge for drainage, and after planting the seedling into the garden, wash and dry the cups for use again and again.

6. Paper coffee cups

If you regularly get coffee or tea in a paper to-go cup (because you keep forgetting your reusable mug, of course), or can raid the office trash or recycle bin for these, they make great seedling pots as well. Be sure to punch some small drainage holes in the bottom, and when you’re ready to plant them in the garden, you can pull off the bottom of the cup and plant the rest, or remove it entirely and add the old cup to your compost pile.

7. To-go containers

Clamshell containers, especially those with a clear lid, can make great planting trays for seedlings. Simply punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage, fill with soil, plant the seeds, and use the clear lid as a mini-greenhouse until the seedlings have emerged. Planting seeds into trays like this is best suited for starting a lot of plants that you can then repot into individual pots once they have their first true leaves, or for growing microgreens for the kitchen, such as sunflower sprouts, buckwheat “lettuce”, or wheatgrass.

Seed pot trays

You’ll want to have trays to hold your DIY seedling pots and keep water and soil contained, which is another good use for the to-go containers. Cases of soda or canned goods come in conveniently sized trays for holding seedling pots, which can also be lined with a used plastic shopping bag to keep counters and windows tidy. If you have access to really thick cardboard boxes (such as the cases that bananas are shipped in), both the top and the bottom of the boxes can be trimmed down into trays, which are thick enough to stand up to being dampened frequently without coming apart. Old plastic Tupperware-type containers can often be found at thrift stores and garage sales, and also make great seedling trays.

Making your own homemade seedling pots is a great way to repurpose common household items and get a headstart on gardening season, without having to go out and spend a bunch of money at the garden center for new pots and trays. It’s also a bit of an art to learn which pots are the most convenient for you to use, based on how easy they are to get or make, as well as which trays work the best for holding the most amount of pots in each sunny spot in your house.

Your recycling bin can be a great source of materials for making your own seed starting pots.

20 Upcycled Seed Starter Pots You Can Easily Make At Home

Spring is my favorite time of year. Not only is it great to see the weather start to warm but there’s so much life. Trees begin to turn green and flowers begin to bloom – which reminds me, it’s time to start thinking about your summer garden. If you’re planning to plant a vegetable garden this year, now is the time to get started. Not outside of course, the weather is still just a bit too chilly for that. But, you can start many of your vegetable seedlings indoors and I’ve got a wonderful list of 20 DIY seed starter pots to help you along.
You can of course, buy seed starter pots at any gardening center and they even have them at the Dollar Store. But, why would you spend money buying them when you can easily make them yourself and save your money for those seeds? These DIY seed starter pots are all things that you can upcycle – things that you would probably otherwise throw in the trash. Instead of adding to the landfill, why not turn those items into seed starters and get started on your garden today? Speaking of your garden, you should really check out these 6 gardening hacks that are sure to help you in the garden this summer.

Some of the DIY seed pots in this collection can be planted directly into the ground when they’re ready to go outdoors, which makes it really easy for you. You just drop them in and you’re all set. Others are not biodegradable so you’ll need to pull the seed and its dirt out of the container but you can then reuse those containers next year to start your seeds again. I love upcycle projects that turn trash into treasure. Of course, I love anything that makes my life easier, like these 100 expert gardening tips. I assure you that there is something in here that will help you to grow healthy plants easily.

If you’ve been longing for spring so that you could start gardening, now is the time. You can start those seeds indoors and then you just have to transplant them when they’re ready. This saves you money because you don’t have to buy plants that have already been started and it helps you to grow a wonderful vegetable garden that will give you delicious veggies all summer long.

Table of Contents

1. Chinese Takeout Container Seed Pods

Most of those takeout containers from your favorite Chinese restaurant are water resistant, meaning they won’t leave water spots all over your house when you use them to start your seeds. You will need to remove the seeds and dirt from them when transplanting them outside but these are really effective seed starters and they’re free if you eat a lot of Chinese takeout. They also make really nice planters if you want to put flower seeds in them.

2. Egg Carton Seed Pods

Cardboard egg cartons are perfect for starting those seeds. They’re about the same size as those little seed starters that you can buy but if you already have them on hand, then they’re free. Who doesn’t love free? You just cut the top off the carton and then use the individual sections to start your seeds. Fill them with potting soil and plant those seeds. You can put several seeds in each section to get them started and then just thin them out as they begin to grow in.

3. Ice Cream Cone Seed Starters

Ice cream cones work great for a number of reasons. They are the perfect size for starting seeds and they are biodegradable so you can just plant the entire thing when your little seedlings are ready to go outside. They’re really not expensive either. You can get a box of 24 or so for a couple of dollars at the Dollar Store – just buy the cheap ones since you’ll be using them to plant and not to eat.

4. Upcycled Juice Carton Seed Pods

ey’re big enough to hold several seeds and give them plenty of room until it’s time to weed them out and transplant them. Surely you remember starting seeds in school and using those little milk cartons from the cafeteria? This is the same concept.

5. K-Cup Seed Starter Pods

K-cups are great. Not only do they contain the most delicious coffees – or teas or hot chocolates – but the actual cups can be upcycled to create the perfect sized seed starters. You just rinse out the coffee or whatever was in your K-cup when you made it and then peel away the lid to reveal the perfect little seed starter pod. You can even leave in the coffee – it’s great for helping plants to grow. You’ll need to remove the seed from these before transplanting since they aren’t biodegradable but you can clean them up and use them again and again.

6. Repurposed Loofah Sponge Seed Starter

Did you know that you can grow your own loofah? You can and you can use that loofah to start your seedlings. While this is something that you will need to get started on this year and it won’t pay off for seed starters until next year – what a great idea this is! If you really want to go all out and do a homemade seed starter, this is a great way to do it and the loofah is biodegradable so you can plant the seeds right into the ground and not worry about taking them out of their starter pod.

7. Self-Watering See4d Starter With Plastic Bottles

Those old plastic bottles really do gum up the landfill. What if I told you that you could upcycle all those soda or water bottles into seed starters and that those seed starters would be self-watering? You really just have to separate the bottle in half. The top half holds the seeds and sits into the bottom half which you keep filled with water. You’ve got an upcycled seed starter and one that will never run dry.

8. Repurposed Mason Jars

I love anything to do with repurposing mason jars. Really, I look for ways to use these jars all the time and love this idea of turning them into seed starter pots. If you’re like me, you have tons of canning jars and you can instantly turn those jars into seed starters. The smaller jelly jars work best for starting seeds but you can transfer them to larger jars if they grow too tall before it’s time to put them outdoors.

9. Upcycled Plastic Milk Jugs Into Seed Starters

Those plastic milk jugs are so flexible and can be used for so many things. You can turn them into seed starters and there’s actually a way to use an old milk jug to create a little mini greenhouse so that your seeds grow healthy. The next time you empty up a milk jug, just rinse it out and put it away- you’re going to need quite a few of them to start those seeds.

10. Repurposed Muffin Tin Seed Pots

You can use a regular muffin tin if you have an old one to start your seeds, or drop by the Dollar Tree and pick up a few of those aluminum ones for a dollar each. Use cupcake liners in each section and then fill with potting soil and add your seeds. If you have an old rusty muffin tin that you can’t use anymore for baking, this is a great way to repurpose it and make it useful again.

11. Plastic Salad Container Planters

Those plastic containers that you get salad or bakery items in – or rotisserie chicken in some cases – are perfect for starting your seeds. You’ll need to make the potting soil pod, which is easily done with a Dixie cup and potting soil, and then use the container to hold the all in place. Once they’re ready to go outdoors, just remove the potting soil pods and drop them in the ground.

12. Upcycled Newspapers Into Seed Pots

Old newspapers are a common way to make your own seed starter pods and the process is really easy. If you have a few old newspapers lying around the house, you can turn them into seed starters and save yourself from having to buy them. You’ll need to mold them into place but this is really easily done with a plastic cup and some masking tape. You can literally make hundreds of these with a couple of newspapers.

13. DIY Shredded Paper Seed Starters

If you know how to make your own paper pulp, you can keep yourself in seed starters for years. This is a rather lengthy process but well worth the effort. You’ll start by shredding paper and adding it to a blender with some water. This is what creates the paper pulp which you will use to mold your own seed beds. Since the paper is turned to mush with the water, these little starter pods are biodegradable so you can plant the entire thing when it’s time to move your seeds outdoors.

14. Upcycled Eggshell Seed Pots

You knew that you could use an empty egg carton to start those seeds but did you know that you can also use empty eggshells? Eggshell halves are the perfect size for starting tiny seeds and the eggshells are biodegradable. They also help to fertilize the garden once you’ve moved them outdoors and help with pest control as well. So, the next time you crack and egg or two, rinse out that shell and save it for your seed starters.

15. Strawberry Carton Mini Greenhouse

Those little plastic cartons that your strawberries come in from the grocery store can be turned into a tiny little greenhouse. If you want to start seeds indoors and you tend to buy a lot of strawberries throughout winter, you’ve got the makings for a wonderful seed starter. The lid can be used to help seal in moisture and humidity which will help those little seeds grow healthy.

16. Upcycled Tin Can Planters

Tin cans can also be used to make wonderful planters and seed starters. You’ll want to rinse them out really well depending on what was in them and then just drill a hole or two in the bottom for drainage. Any tin can will work although tuna cans are much more shallow and would be perfect for those tiny little seedlings. If you’re using tuna cans, I suggest you wash them out really well before planting your seeds.

17. Toilet Paper Roll Seed Pods

It amazes me sometimes the things that people can do with what would otherwise be trash. Take these seed starters made from toilet paper rolls. This is a genius idea and such a wonderful way to upcycle those empty toilet paper rolls. If your house is like mine, you have plenty of these empty rolls on hand. Each roll makes one seed starter or you could use paper towel rolls and get two starters from each roll.

18. Repurposed Ice Cube Tray Turned Seed Starter

Ice cube trays are less than a dollar each and you can get up to 16 seeds or more in each one – that’s a lot less than you will pay for an actual seed starter. Use a plastic ice cube tray to start those seeds by just drilling a tiny hole in the bottom of each section for drainage. Then fill each section with potting soil and add your seeds. This is a great way to keep seeds organized, too. Just mark each ice cube tray with the types of seeds that they contain.

19. Citrus Peel Seed Starter Pods

Yep, citrus peels. You can turn those orange or grapefruit peelings into wonderful little seed starters. What’s great about this one is that you get an inexpensive seed starter and your house smells wonderful from the citrus peeling. You’ll have to be careful to coop out the pulp from the fruit o that you don’t break the peel. It should be a perfect half to hold your seeds securely.

20. Mini Yogurt Cup Seed Starters

My kids adore yogurt so we go through several little yogurt cups every week. Who knew that I could use those cups to start my seeds? I love the idea of turning trash to treasure and this is definitely that. Just rinse out those cups, fill them with potting soil and add your seeds. You get a great and inexpensive seed starter and your trash won’t be overflowing with little yogurt cups.

20 Upcycled Seed Starter Pots You Can Easily Make At Home Spring is my favorite time of year. Not only is it great to see the weather start to warm but there’s so much life. Trees begin to turn ]]>