When starting seeds, you probably head to your local nursery or home improvement store and look through seeds, or you take a peek at the latest seed catalogs. Then you pick up a bag or two of soil and decide what you’re going to put your seeds in while they grow.
You can buy expensive seed-starting inserts and propagation trays, or you can use materials you already have around your house.
Here are six items in your home you can use to start seeds:
1. General household trash
You can use items milk cartons, yogurt containers and ice cream buckets. Simply clean them thoroughly and punch holes in the bottoms for proper drainage.
Newspaper is great for creating seed pots. When your plants are the proper height, you can simply dig a hole and place it, newspaper and all, in the soil. There is a tool specially made for making this type of pot, and you can get them at your local nursery or online. Or even easier, you can use a can or other cylindrical item you have laying around the house.
Simply roll the paper around the can and fold over the bottom to keep in shut. You can use a small piece of tape if you need to, but not too much if it’s plastic tape because it takes too long to degrade. The paper also will help keep weeds away from your plant roots.
3. Toilet paper rolls
Similar to the newspaper planting pots, you can use toilet paper tubes to plant your seeds. Some gardeners prefer the tubes because they are sturdier. There are lots of different strategies to seal the bottom of the tube so experiment and see which works best for you. The simplest way, however, is to fold the sides in at the bottom and squish it down till it stays put. You also can plant these directly into the soil in your garden.
4. Cupcake wrappers
There are benefits and drawbacks to using paper cupcake wrappers to start your seeds. First, the benefits – they are cheap and most people already have them around the house. They come in all sorts of patterns and color, so they look attractive as they sit in your windowsill, or wherever you start your seeds. They are thin and biodegradable, so they can be planted directly into your garden soil where the paper will dissolve in a matter of days.
One drawback to using cupcake wrappers is they are thin and flimsy and will most likely require another container to help them keep the soil inside the wrapper. Another is that they may not be deep enough to give your plant’s root system room to grow.
5. Muffin tins
Muffin tins can be a fun and decorative way to start your seeds, especially if you keep them in your home before the weather improves. They are sturdy and you probably have a few in your house that you can use. While they cannot be planted directly into soil, you can reuse them every season. Drainage for muffin tins can be tricky. You can buy muffin tins and drill holes in the bottom of each cup for drainage, or if you want to use your tins for more than planting you can add a little bit of gravel or some marbles to the bottom. Make sure that you have plenty of room to add seeds and soil on top of the marbles or gravel before use.
6. Egg cartons
Egg cartons are one of the easiest things to use because they are already shaped and can be planted directly into the soil. However, they are quite shallow — which means that you will have to transplant them into your garden after a relatively short period of time.
Which household items do you use to start seeds? Share your tips in the section below: