Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making your own seed starting pots

I'm loving this time of year. There is just a hint of warmer weather and it is time to start thinking about my veggie garden. Every year I plan a wonderfully abundant and luscious garden in my mind. And then real life happens and I get sidetracked. My garden ends up being a hodge podge of plants. As usual, I have grand plans for my garden this year. It starts with seed starting mix.

Trying my best to reduce, reuse, and recycle I decided to make my own seed starting pots this year. I've been collecting toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes for several months. I just toss them in a shopping bag in my utility room. Besides the paper tubes, all you need is a dish of water, a pair of scissors, your seed starting mix, and a waterproof tray. Supposedly you can plant this recycled tube with the plant in the garden and it will disintegrate over time. We'll see how it goes.

Hold the tube sideways. You'll get two pots out of the toilet paper tubes and 4 pots from the paper towel tubes.

Cut the tube in half.

Then make snips at one end. While looking down into the tube imagine making snips at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00.

Only snip down 3/4 inch or so.

Next, fold the snipped flaps down. You might need to pinch the fold to keep it from unfolding.

For extra "staying power" I dip the folded end in water for 2 seconds and the moisture helps to weight the end and keep the paper together.

Scoop up some seed starting mix with the little cup and place it in the tray. A little extra toilet paper won't hurt anything.

I was careful to order heirloom seeds this year. They have not been genetically modified.

After planting two seeds in each pot, I labeled each pot with labels made from an old window blind. I'm starting two types of tomatoes, two types of peppers, basil, parsley, red onions, and lavender. Most everything else will be directly planted in the garden in May.

I live in a passive solar house which means my home faces south with deciduous trees allowing sunlight to fill my home in the winter. Our brick floors absorb the heat during the day and stay warm for a while through the night. The seeds have the perfect warm place to sprout. Once the seeds sprout, I'll be moving the trays out to the insulated garage. They will stay under a grow light until the garden temps are more favorable.

Out in the garden, I top dressed the garden with compost, aged horse manure, and peat moss. I planted spinach, lettuce, carrots, and snow peas under row covers. This week I'll continue planting with Yukon gold potatoes and onion sets. Now if I can just keep the chickens out of the garden.

I'm linking up to Frugal Friday over at The Shabby Nest. Check out the wonderfully frugal ideas her readers have come up with (including this idea).


  1. What a wonderful post about starting seedlings! My husband and I ran about after we read this to find all the toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes we could and sat down and starting cutting them to make the cardboard holders. How creative! I've tried Dixie cups, but I like the toilet paper tubes better!
    Thank you for this post!

  2. What a great idea! I am in the process of planning the garden and I love the idea of your seed starters, and the genetic modification of seeds hadn't ocurred to me, so thanks for the tip.

    Do you mind sharing where you found your heirloom seeds?

  3. Hi Kelly, I purchased my heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, MO. I was very pleased with my order. I think it arrived at my home in less than a week. They even threw in 2 packs of carrot seeds for free.

  4. What a great idea! We are starting our first garden this year, and I love learning from knowledgable people like you. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a great idea! We are starting our first garden this year, and I love learning from knowledgable people like you. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Wow! This is my 2nd year starting seeds on my windowsill with my 4th-6th graders, but I just bought new trays, because I didn't know how to reuse them! Yours are great! I will keep this in mind for next year!


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