Starting seeds indoors can get expensive really quickly. This year we managed to use recycled containers for gardening, and germinated all of our seeds for practically free!
Some recycled containers worked better than others, so I thought I’d share my experiences here so you can avoid the same mistakes.
With the unavoidable expense of seeds, Seed Starter Potting Mix, and a Seedling Heat Mat, you need to be able to cut costs where-ever possible, and using recyclables for starting seeds is a huge help!
Here in Westerny NY we have a very short growing season, so a lot of our slow growing crops need to get a head start indoors in the early spring.
About a month ago I started saving up recyclables for this purpose. I saved tuna cans, shoe boxes, newspapers, toilet paper tubes, pretty much anything that can hold soil and a seed. Starter pots are expensive, and using recycled containers for gardening is totally free!
I even used some egg shells this year as seed starting pots, because we have plenty of those laying around! I started some sunflowers in the egg shells, having completely forgotten about how incredibly, unbelievably fast they grow. Next year I’ll toss these seeds right in the garden instead!
I used an egg carton to start my pepper seeds. When the little seedlings are ready to go outside I’ll gently tear the carton apart and plant each section right into the garden. The cardboard will compost away in the soil.
Home made newspaper pots worked perfectly to start squash. These pots can be planted right in the ground! The only real downside is that the newspaper starts to disintegrate after a few weeks of watering, so be sure whatever you put in your newspaper pots is ready to go outside within a few weeks.
I tried using toilet paper tubes propped up in a cardboard box to germinate my tomato seeds. These did work for awhile, but the tomatoes outgrew them in a few weeks and had to be transplanted into bigger pots before heading outside. Next year I may try something that grows slower, like herb seeds.
We’ve also been growing herbs and spinach in the sun room for a few months now. Starting spinach indoors allows us to get several extra harvests!
What’s germinating in your neck of the woods?