Seedling Container Ideas – 10 Things You Can Get for Free


Seed Starters For Free (Or Almost)..How Many of These Things Do You Have on Hand?

Looking for some ideas for seed starting containers that are free (almost) that you may have on hand that could be things right from your own recycle bin? It’s true that seed trays are important – we use them and will continue to do so. It depends on your plans for your potential yield. You may have 200 seeds…the potential to run out of trays, or space, could happen too. So let’s take a look at some everyday objects you can re-purpose into the ideal seed starters. Beginning with….

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seedling starter ideas

Egg Cartons

Yes, of course I wanted to mention this one first. Chances are you may have gotten exposure for the first time of gardening . SO this one may be all too familiar to you. Both foam and cardboard cartons work grat…except that in the case of the foam ones you’ll have to pierce holes in them to drain out (I used a pushpin). I had success with plants like beans and squash. Cherry tomatoes may be fine but bigger types probably wouldn’t work as well for. Cardboard cartons, being porous, the roots will just break on through.

seedlings in egg cartons


Yep, if you break them right in the middle cleanly and rinse them out well, they can be great for this. Broken eggshells have great nutrient value for plant life, so it stands that as seed starters these can do fine. Or course, standing them up in something might be tricky unless you revert them back to their original place of origin (the carton)

It does seem a little odd, planting in these when you’ve got their compartments too, but hey, it makes perfect sense. I’ve also heard of people planting things like miniature violets in these for fun, so that’s another great use you may not have thought of.  And if you’ve got unique hen breeds that lay eggs in varying colors like green and pink, this will be the icing on the cake as far as creativity goes.

eggshells used as seed starters

Used K-cups

If you drink K-cup coffee, this is one of the best ways to make use of those spent pods. If you’re willing to eviscerate the contents (kind of messy, but doable with a sharp pocket knife) The way the coffee brews, a hole in the bottom is already pre-punched, so why not take advantage of that.

Also, keep in mind, if you like to drink those flavored “gourmet” style coffees in the pod style, you’ve got a gold mine here as they have no filter in them to have to dig out. They’re usually made with milk powder. So you’d be a fool to throw these away. Save them, fill them up with dirt and start planting!

kcups used as seed starters

Ice cube trays

If you’ve got an excess and a few you don’t mind letting go of, as you will have to drill a few holes in each compartment for drainage, an ice cube tray is a good option.I don’t know about you, but it’s wintertime here and I don’t need that much ice right now, plus our fridge has an ice maker so I would be amenable to doing this I needed something in a pinch.

Empty Water Bottles (cut off the bottom)

As these excel in the role of providing water on autopilot, those 16-oz water bottles could be great for seeds. Cut the bottom off *about an inch below the label) and use a thumbtack to punch holes int eh bottom. They do tend to break down easily, but for this propose they’re great (especially for seedlings of slightly bigger plants like tomatoes. This is a bush bean here.

bean plant sprouting

For larger plants, you could also create starter containers using the 1-liter size which are slightly bigger and will accommodate more growth.

TP Rolls

I keep these for my cats to play with, but have you considered using these as the perfect biodegradeable seed pod? Cut in half and fold down one end so it is closed off on the bottom, do the same for the other one. You could also do this for a paper towel roll, it would probably give you about 4 pods roughly. The paper will break down from moisture but tit will serve its purpose

Empty Yogurt Cups

Oh yeah, save these, too! I eat yogurt on the reg so this comes as no surprise. Be sure to rinse and wash them out real good first. Or even those yogurt serving portions that come in the six pack size that are separated one at a time. They are the ideal size and shape.

Solo and Dixie Cups

I got this idea from my former sister in law who was starting her garden with these. One of the best reasons to use them is that you can write on the sides what the plant is. and keep track easily. Solo cups aren’t free but they don’t cost much either, and they’re great for plants that will eventually get big in the future. I used these and while I don’t plan to use them as much this year they did come in handy. Don’t forget the drainage holes too.

solo cups for planting seedlings

And you can reuse them every year (as long as they hold up) Yes, these are very basic, but they work! Tip: Don’t leave them outside after you’ve transplanted everything, too much exposure and they’ll dry rot.







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