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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 21, 2020

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                  Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                  your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                    Why You Need a Vision

                    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                    How to Create Your Life Vision

                    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                    What Do You Want?

                    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                    Some tips to guide you:

                    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                    • Give yourself permission to dream.
                    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                    Some questions to start your exploration:

                    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                    • What qualities would you like to develop?
                    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                    • What would you most like to accomplish?
                    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                    A few prompts to get you started:

                    • What will you have accomplished already?
                    • How will you feel about yourself?
                    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                    • What does your ideal day look like?
                    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                    • What would you be doing?
                    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                    • How are you dressed?
                    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                    Plan Backwards

                    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                    • What important actions would you have had to take?
                    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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