Frugal Gardening Tip #4
I realize I’m in a gardening bubble here in Central Texas. It’s February and my seeds are ready to go into the garden beds this week. The North East is still digging out from piles of snow. We each have our own gardening challenges. I will fill you in later about the frustrations of growing in 100-degree heat in July and August.
For those of you still battling winter, I feel your pain. You may be getting antsy to get started with your seed planting, so I’d like to remind you about 11 frugal ways for starting seeds in recycled containers.
1. Milk jugs can be used in many ways in the garden. Try cutting one in half to make a self-watering planter or make a milk jug greenhouse.
2. Plastic food containers with lids make great mini greenhouses too. I always keep a few around for seed starting purposes. The ones to keep cupcakes safe are my favorite because of the separate compartments. I’ve been know to purchase cupcakes, just for the container!
3. Paper cups work really good in a pinch. So do plastic cups, just be sure you make a few holes for drainage.
4. Egg cartons are also favorites around our house. They decompose easily and you can just tear off a portion and plant it directly in the garden.
I also like this egg carton idea from Way2GoMom’s Gardening Pinterest board
5. Egg shells – Use your egg shells to grow seedling. These are the ultimate natural seedling pot! Pierce a hole in the bottom of an eggshell so the moisture can drain, add soil and the seeds.
6. Recycle cereal boxes – or other light cardboard and make paper mache seed pots. Make a paper pulp and add the secret ingredient (flour) and push the pulp into cupcake tins.
7. Shredded paper – Use your excess shredded paper and make a pulp. Put them into cupcake tins to dry and turn them into seed starter pots. Plant directly in the garden.
8.Toilet paper rolls – Our popular post Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starter Pots, from earlier in the year describes it all. Get a family with lots of girls to save theirs for you!
9. Newspaper seedling wraps are easy to make with a can of tomato paste and a strip of paper by following these steps:
- –Get a full-size sheet of paper and cut it in half. Now you have 2 pieces about 10 x 18
- –Fold each piece in half again, so you have a length about 5 x 18 inches You now have a long strip.
- –Fold the open end down by 1 inch. This will serve as a lip for the pot and help it to be sturdy.
- –Get a round object to use as your pot form. It could be small and tall like a tomato paste can. You can also use water bottles or even cans of vegetables. Don’t use something too big, you want it to wrap around at least 2 times.
- –Place your form at least 1.5 inches from the bottom of the paper, this will be the area you fold for the bottom.
- –Starting with the edge that has the seam, fold the extra in to make a flat bottom.
- –Place a piece of tape over the bottom to hold it together and keep it upright (this will be removed before planting).
10. Old seed tray packs from last year. I always have a stash of 10 to 15 of them somewhere. As long as they are still in good shape you can wash them with a weak bleach solution and use them again next year. I have a few of those dome covered seed starting kits and I recycle the plastic inserts. No matter what size the cell pack, they are all standardized to fit in the trays. If you don’t have one of these tray setups, go to the dollar store and get a roaster pan with a plastic dome. It works just as well.
11. Plastic water bottles can be cut in half and used as mini self-watering pots.
The self-watering pot is not going to get you any garden style points, but it very effective at keeping your seedlings watered.
- Take a plastic water bottle and cut in down at least half way. The top part with the cap will be your planting area.
- Turn the top upside down and fit it into the bottom, making sure that the bottle top is no more than one inch from the bottom. You may have to adjust by cutting off more of the plastic on the bottom part.
- Put potting soil in the top and plant as usual, giving it a good watering.
- Water to the point that there is excess water stored in the “reservoir” below.
- The soil with your seedling will take the water as it needs it.
See also – 7 Ways to Make Homemade Seed Starter Pots for links and detailed directions.