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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 September 16, 2019

                  How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                  How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                  You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                  We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                  The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                  Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                  1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                  Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                  For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                  • (1) Research
                  • (2) Deciding the topic
                  • (3) Creating the outline
                  • (4) Drafting the content
                  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                  • (6) Revision
                  • (7) etc.

                  Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                  2. Change Your Environment

                  Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                  One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                  3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                  Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                  Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                  My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                  Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                  4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                  If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                  Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                  I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                  5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                  I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                  Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                  As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                  6. Get a Buddy

                  Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                  I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                  7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                  This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                  For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                  8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                  What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                  9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                  If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                  Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                  10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                  Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                  Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                  11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                  At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                  Reality check:

                  I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                  More About Procrastination

                  Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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