Making seedling cups

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.

Homemade seed starter pots | PreparednessMama

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 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)
  • Newspaper
  • Egg shells
  • Egg cartons
  • Dixie cups, coffee cups (any kind of cup made of paper)
  • Cereal boxes (or other light cardboard)
  • Shredded paper

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.

  1. Cut the toilet paper roll in half
  2. Make four cuts in the roll, 1/3 of the way up
  3. Fold in the bottom like you would close a box
  4. Fill them with a light potting soil, pack it down with your thumbs.
  5. Add your choice of seed, planting to their proper depth.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 are some links to for making other kinds of biodegradable seed pots –

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?

Homemade seed pots from cereal boxes, photo courtesy of Kids Chaos | PreparednessMama
Homemade seed pots from cereal boxes, photo courtesy of Kids Chaos

Pulp Paper Pots

Use your excess shredded paper and make these clever paper pulp seed starter pots.

Paper pulp seed pots from 365 Days of DIY | PreparednessMama
Paper pulp seed pots from 365 Days of DIY

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.

Eggshell seed pots from Apartment Therapy | PreparednessMama
Eggshell seed pots from Apartment Therapy

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.

Newspaper Pots

You can wrap newspapers into pot shapes and use them as seedling starters. Some people use a wooden newspaper pot makers 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..

Paper Cups

Seed starting in paper cups from Henbogle
Seed starting in paper cups from Henbogle

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!

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