Most of These Recyclable Seed Pots Can Be Planted Directly Into the Ground
This is the time of year that I start thinking about planting seeds. Some years, I’ve planted hundreds of seeds, so I always try to do it as economically as possible.
My solution is homemade seed pots. They are easy to make and use recycled materials. Certainly frugal gardening at its best.
The other great thing about these seed pots? They can usually be planted directly in the ground, making it even easier during transplant time. Take a hard look around the house and see what materials you already have on hand.
Then get busy making homemade seed pots by following instructions in the posts below.
Do you have any of these around the house?
- Empty toilet or paper towel rolls (directions below)
- Egg shells
- Egg cartons
- Dixie cups, coffee cups (any kind of cup made of paper)
- Cereal boxes (or other light cardboard)
- Shredded paper
- Empty milk or juice carton box
- Citrus fruit
- Muffin pan
1. Use Toilet Paper Rolls for Homemade Seed Starter Pots
All you need is a collection of toilet paper rolls, scissors, potting soil, seed and a waterproof container.
- Cut the toilet paper roll in half
- Make four cuts in the roll, 1/3 of the way up
- Fold in the bottom like you would close a box
- Fill them with a light potting soil, pack it down with your thumbs.
- Add your choice of seed, planting to their proper depth.
- Place the planted pots in a watertight container and give them a good watering. You want to completely soak the paper roll and keep it wet the whole time you are growing.
- Place your container in a Ziploc bag or cover it with a clear plastic bag. You are creating a small greenhouse, trapping in the moisture, until the seeds sprout.
- Take off the plastic once your seeds reach the top. They will need air circulation, otherwise, the toilet paper seed pots may mold.
Once the seeds have sprouted and are hardened off, these toilet paper seed pots can be placed directly into the ground and will compost away. They are especially good for planting any kind of seed that does not like to have its roots disturbed. Consider getting a head start on your melons or sunflower, peas, and beans. This is also a fantastic project to do with the kids.
Here’s a related blog post for making other kinds of frugal seed pots from upcycled materials: 11 Ways to Start Seeds in Recycled Containers
2. Cereal Box Paper Mache
Recycle your old cereal boxes (or other light cardboard) and make paper mache seed pots. Make a paper pulp, add the secret ingredient (flour) and push the pulp into cupcake tins. Follow the link for full instructions.
I wonder what would happen if you added fertilizer into the paper mache mix?
3. Pulp Paper Pots
Use your excess shredded paper and make these clever paper pulp seed starter pots.
4. Save Egg Shells
Use your egg shells to grow seedling. These are the ultimate natural seedling pot! Pierce a hole in the bottom of an egg shell so the moisture can drain, add soil and the seeds. Find full instructions at the link for this post from Apartment Therapy.
5. Egg Cartons
You can skip the egg shell and start your seedlings directly into egg cartons. Add the soil and the seeds. Keep them moist and tear apart the individual sections. Of course, these can be planted directly in the ground.
6. Newspaper Pots
You can wrap newspapers into pot shapes and use them as seedling starters. Some people use a wooden newspaper pot makers (pictured left) but you can just as easily do it with a can from the pantry. Here’s a tutorial to make square newspaper pots from Mr Brown Thumb..
7. Paper Cups
And finally, if you have a party and use paper cups for your guests, don’t throw them away. Save some time and use these cups as seedling pots. Just punch a hole in the bottom before adding the soil and tear off any excess part of the cup before planting in the ground.
This picture shows plastic and paper and obviously – you don’t want to be putting that plastic in the ground!
8. Citrus Peel
You can make some fantastic biodegradable seed starter pots out of empty citrus peels, which you would have discarded anyways. Just cut a lemon, lime, or orange in half crosswise, hollow it out, drill a hole in the bottom to give extra water a way out, and fill the citrus halves with soil.
These seed starter pots are not only a boon for your garden when they compost and release all those yummy nutrients into the soil but also a joy to look at. If instructions are unclear, here’s a link to the full tutorial on MyRomanApartment.
9. Empty Carton Boxes
Yep, don’t discard those empty milk or juice carton boxes – they can make some lovely and practical DIY seed starting trays for FREE!
Just rinse them off, cut an opening on one side (where the seedlings will grow), fill the boxes with potting mix, and you’re good to go.
10. Disposable Muffin Pans
For this project you’ll need a recyclable tin muffin pan and muffin paper liners. Plant the seedlings in the pan cups lined with paper liners. When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, plant them along with the paper cupcake liners in your garden. It’s THAT easy.
What other homemade seed starter pot ideas do you use?
thanks for the mention! loving the other ideas 🙂
Katelynn Stokes says
Great ideas! I love the one for egg shells, they become so cute seed starters. I sometimes use cut in half soda bottles and make self watering starters. It’s a great opportunity for my girlie to watch the seeds growing inside.Thank you for the ideas!
First of all .. you are too awesome bro this is awesome stuff right here!!
Now i wna adopt your toilet paper roll box technique.. just wanted to ask.. when i plant these directly in the ground, how long does it take to decompose? by the time the roots reach the end of the box will it have decomposed away or will the roots be able to break through the box?
awaiting your reply.
cheers bro!! 😀 😀
The roots will break through the TP rolls.
I did a handmade paper in the house. I must say that even comes out very cool these methods. It’s easy just need to do them well. Meuse add to them a little gruel for wood to make it more durable. It can be done in several ways – I did this unusual http://www.open-youweb.com/how-to-make-paper/ recommend the latter. Thanks for the nice post.
David Cook says
How Do you tell witch way is up when planting seeds
Good one David!
How do you use Stawberries from the store to use for starts to grow Strawberries
Thank you so many awesome ideas!!
I like to use yogurt cups and the cups from individual servings of microwaveable rice. They don’t compost but they are reuseable and you should be able to get 2-3 seasons out of them. Just be sure to drill a hole in the bottom of each cup. They can be used with seed starter soil, rooting medium or peat pellets.
I really like the idea of using toilet paper tubes. I have been saving them for years, just hadn’t figured out what to use them for yet, except for making fire starters with shredded paper and melted wax. The egg cartons work great for those, too.
danyell rollf says
NO NO NO! I went with the idea of newspaper and they mold!!!!!!!!!!!!
Deseree Mitchell says
I am trying out paper bag pots this year. Just dont know how tall they should be?
Mary Smith says
What a great post! I’m inspired to do something similar for my site (that is, if you don’t mind me running off with your idea!) because so many people are dipping their toes into Veg gardening and I wrote article on Best Plant starter growing trays on my website https://bestgardeninggiftsideas.com/ and we want them all to be successful and fall in love with it like we have!
Dennis Tucker says
Love the creativity. I have an idea along the same line as this. I’d like to make a couple different size biodegradable planters. However, I want these planters to do 2 additional things.
1) I want the material it is made from to be a food source for the plant.
2) I want the bio-degradation to be tightly controlled. Meaning: I want the planter’s structural integrity to be maintained for 1 month from the time of first watering and full degradation in about 1.5 – 2 months.
Is this possible? How could this be done?
Please know if the ink on compostable items are safe. The ink on cereal boxes was not ‘safe’ many years ago. I do not put it in my compost. I also avoid the glossy, colored ad sheets