I’ll be honest– I’m slightly grumpy at the thought of gardening season starting up again this year.
Normally I can hardly wait for the ground to thaw so I can get outside, but last year was brutal… Let me tell ya.
But, I’m a glutton for punishment, so you can be sure I’ll still be outside come April working in the dirt and getting my garden spots ready. I’m definitely going to pray for a better result than last year though. 😉
Some of you that live in warmer climates have probably already started some of your seeds. However, us Wyoming folks usually don’t get to plant our gardens until the last part of May (and even then there still might be snow!), so I have a little bit of time before I need to get my tomato seedlings going in my improvised greenhouse.
There are many ways to start seeds– and of course, home and garden stores sell all sorts of little containers, pots, and kits that you can use.
Those work fine, but since I usually err on the side of frugal, I like to find other options whenever possible. Here are a few of my favorite ideas– both ones that I’ve personally tried, and ones that I would like to implement in the future.
Eight Ideas for Frugal, Re-purposed Seed-Starting Pots
1. Homemade paper pots- This is one of my most favorite methods. Homemade newspaper pots are simple to make, and you can make pots of any size. I also love them since you can place the pot directly into the soil. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has a tendency to mangle delicate little seedlings when I’m trying to transplant…) You can check out my DIY Paper Seedling Pot tutorial here.
2. Toilet paper tubes– These are easy enough to come by, and I like that they are biodegradable and can be put directly into the ground. You Grow Girl has a helpful tutorial— she makes slits in the bottom and folds them over to form a small cup.
3. Recycled potting packs/trays- If you’ve purchase those little plastic packs of flowers or vegetable starts in the past, don’t toss the containers. These can easily be re-filled with soil and used again and again.
4. Random containers and pans– I’ve experimented with quite the hodge-podge of containers in the past. Really, any sort of small container or pan will work–You may or may not need to pokes holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. (Look for flexible containers that will allow you to squeeze them– this will save you much headache during planting time. If you use rigid containers, it can be quite difficult to remove the root mass without damage…)
A few ideas:
- Small yogurt cups
- Sour cream/cottage cheese containers
- Milk cartons (cut the top off)
- Foil roasting trays or lasagna pans (Sometimes they come with a clear plastic lid that fits over the top. This can help to create a mini-greenhouse effect and keep your little babies from drying out.)
- Cardboard boxes
- Those random plastic storage containers that have lost their lids…
5. Egg cartons- Egg cartons are a favorite seed-starting item for many folks. Pack each cup full of soil, and simply cut each section apart when you are aready to plant. These are also biodegradable and can be placed directly into the ground.
6. Eggshells- Ah… egghshells. So much potential in such a little item. I’ve already put together a post of 30+ ways to use eggshells for other things, but they work well for containing your tiny seedlings too. My only worry would be that they are a little on the small side– you probably won’t want to plant larger veggies in them (aka tomatoes). But perhaps some of the smaller varieties? Apartment Therapy has a helpful tutorial here.
7. Ice Cube Trays- I’m always finding piles of old plastic ice cube trays at yard sales and thrift stores. These would make ideal little compartments for smaller seeds.
Photo Credit: My Roman Apartment
8. Avocado skins or citrus halves- This idea is not only functional, but also pretty! I love My Roman Apartment’s idea for using hollowed-out citrus peels as pots. Or salvage leftover avocado shells from your compost pile and put them to work.
What are your favorite repurposed items for starting seeds? Share your tips in the comment section, and I will add them to this post!
One more thing– this doesn’t really have anything to do with starting seeds, but it’s only available for a limited time, so I wanted to give you a heads up! If you are a fan of those eBook bundle sales that have been floating around, you might want to check this one out. The Health Library Sale gives you 50 health-related resources (eBooks, papers, etc–$835.32 value) for one low price of $39.97. I’m not a fan of all the books in this bundle, but there are stil a BUNCH of others that are definitely worth the price. You’ll definitely want to have a look- more info here.
This post contains affiliate links.
Can't Get Enough Homesteading Goodness?
Join over 67,000 others who get the weekly Homestead Toolbox delivered fresh to their inbox. It's packed full of recipes, ideas, and homesteading tips you can actually use (no fluff), plus a copy of my very popular mulch gardening how-to guide.