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10 Seed Starting Pots Made from Recycled Materials

10 Seed Starting Pots Made from Recycled Materials

Those of us in the northern hemisphere who are fairly green-thumbed and happiest when digging in the dirt have probably begun to plan this year’s garden by now: sketches have been made, seeds have likely already been ordered, and although the soil will still be too cold to plant in directly for another 8 weeks or so, we can get a head start on our veggies and herbs by starting our seeds indoors. There’s no need to go overboard and spend a fortune on fancy starter kits or designer seed starting pots; all that’s needed is some potting soil, seeds, and whatever you may have lying around the house.

1. Folded Newspapers

Newspaper Seed Pots

    This is one of the most eco-friendly started pots imaginable: newspapers can be found pretty much everywhere, and a few simple folds are all that’s needed to create perfect little pockets for nurturing your seeds. Once folded, fill the pots with soil, pop in your seed(s), water, and place in a sunny spot.

    2. Cardboard Egg Cartons

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    Egg carton planter

      One of the most common ways to grow seedlings is to use a cardboard egg container. Just fill each individual egg cup with soil, drop a seed or two into each section, and water. You just have to make sure to keep these well-watered, as the cardboard tends to suck up a great deal of moisture over the course of the day, and dry soil = dried-out seedlings.

      3. Egg Shells

      Egg shell planters

        After you’ve cracked an egg or two open for your favourite omelette, don’t compost or throw them out immediately! If you’ve broken them in such a way that the shells are mostly intact (like, if you’ve just peeled the tops off for a soft-cooked egg breakfast), just wash them gently with soap and water and let them dry. Fill them with soil, pop a couple of seeds into each one, tuck them back into their carton(s), and water them well. You won’t have to remove the shells to transplant the seedlings; just crack the bottoms open for the roots to grow out from the bottoms.

        4. Jars

        Empty baby food jars are ideal for this purpose, but any clean glass jar will do. Once you’ve used all of the contents, wash the jar thoroughly with dish soap and water, and be sure to rinse it well. Let it dry completely. Pour a bit of gravel or some small pebbles into the bottom, and then fill with potting soil.

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        5. Mini Yoghurt Cups

        Those individual yoghurt containers aren’t just perfect little snacks when you’re on the go: they’re ideal for growing individual plants that need a bit of extra root-room. Use them to start sunflower seeds and beans, or herbs such as mint, cilantro, or parsley. If you plan to grow plants in them and not transplant them (like in a miniature windowsill herb garden), then poke holes in the bottoms for drainage and add a few pebbles before you pour in the soil.

        6. Pastry Containers

        Pastry box

          You know those plastic take-out containers with the little pop-slots? Pastries such as croissants, danishes, and such usually come in them, and they just end up being disposed of as soon as the last crumbs have been licked from the bottoms. These containers are perfect miniature greenhouses: fill the bottom portion with soil, plant your seeds, and then just pop the top closed in between waterings: it’ll create a warm, safe, humid environment for your little seeds to flourish.

          7. Paper Cups

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          Paper cup planter

            Unless you’re dragging a reusable cup with you every time you go to a cafe, chances are that each take-out coffee you purchase is served in a paper cup. I like to hope that you’ve been recycling these, but aside from turning them into mulch, you can also use them as planters. Larger cups are great for growing herbs on a windowsill, while smaller ones (like espresso cups) are better for things like tomato seedlings that you’ll be transplanting once the weather warms up. (These are ideal for kids to plant beans in: they sprout so quickly that the kids remain interested, and they can eat the green beans when they grow!)

            8. Cardboard Toilet Paper Rolls
            Toilet roll seed starters

              This one might sound a bit weird, but it actually works: take a toilet paper roll and make a few long vertical cuts into one end, then fold them inwards to create a cup. Fill that with soil, add seeds, water, and you’ll have plants in no time.

              9. Juice Cartons

              Slice the spout tops off, fill with soil and a few seeds, add water and sunlight, and poof! Seedlings. This one is best for those that grow quickly, but will need to be transplanted once they’re about 6 inches tall, like beans, tomatoes, and peppers.

              10. Cans

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              Can seedling

                Strong and sturdy, empty cans are ideal for starting all kinds of seeds. Empty tomato paste cans are great for individual ones, while larger cans like 28oz soup cans are great for mixed lettuces and such. If you want to be cheeky, you can use empty bean cans to grow your bean seedlings, tomato cans for tomato plants, etc.

                Try to use heirloom, organic seeds whenever possible, and never spray toxic chemicals into your garden! If you feel the need to fertilize your plants, use organic compost, ground eggshells, or “compost tea”. Save your seeds when they’re ready to be harvested, and you’ll be able to grow your own food for years to come.

                Reference Guide

                growing with plants

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                  Catherine Winter

                  Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                  Last Updated on January 11, 2021

                  11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                  11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                  Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

                  Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

                  1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

                  Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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                  2. Stress Relief

                  Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

                  3. Improved Sleep

                  Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

                  4. Appetite Control

                  Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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                  5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

                  When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

                  6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

                  Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

                  7. Mosquito Repellant

                  Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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                  8. Pain Relief

                  While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

                  9. The New Anti-Viral

                  Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

                  10. Improved Cognitive Function

                  Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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                  11. Money Saving

                  With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

                  Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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