Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

DIY: Making your own seed starting trays and pots from recycled materials

I love to recycle, and reuse, I believe you do need a little bit of creativity to reuse the apparently useless and soon to be trash into something functional. I also love to garden and to save. I sowed so many seeds. I have many seeds due to my participation in seed swaps and I had to find pots for all of them. Why would buy pots for seeds when I have plenty if I look keenly enough into my home? My husband told me the other day that I utilize everything, I was glad to hear that.

 Besides recycling all our organic waste, we also recycle paper and bottles, which we separate into the recycle can and I also find them useful for my garden, this is how:

Coffee cups, water cups, soda cups: This are a perfect size for bigger plants, like zucchini and pumpkins, where the seeds will reach the bottom of the cup.

water bottles: I cut them in half and plant little seeds like tomatoes and peppers, with the other half I cover the containers to create a greenhouse keeping the warmth and the moist in longer.

~ boxes are the trays,some cups, paper rolls cartons and water bottles ~

juice bottles: Cut them in halves, I use the top to cover the seedlings that I planted outside during danger of frost to protect them and the lower half to plant together seeds, when all of them germinate they must be thinned,fro example: brussels sprouts, flowers, cabbage, broccoli.

egg cartons: They are perfect for seeds which seedlings do not like to be disturb, like cucumbers, (only two plants survived for now out of six, I already have them growing in the ground), they do not like transplanting, as soon as they germinate I cut the egg carton piece where the seed is in and plant it in the ground together with the carton for minimal disturbance. I use the egg carton lid as a tray if it is a plastic egg container, but if it is a paper carton(biodegradable, the perfect one for do not dirturb seedlings) I substitute it for some plastic container.

pastry containers: The pastry containers are a seed starting kit by themselves, the lower half is where you place the seeds with the potting soil and the top can cover it to make a 'greenhouse', as soon as the seeds germintate uncover the pot and place the lid under it, if you grow them inside this will prevent leaking on your floors.

strawberries, baby lettuce containers: They come with holes already for drainage I used them to start flowers inside, or any kind of vegguie.

yogurt containers: It depends what kind you will use, there are some that have the top narrower than the bottom and I think those will give me trouble at the time of repotting or transplanting in the ground ,I used the big one to repot tomato plants, pepper, etc. You can plant anything in there.

Cardboard rolls :( from kitchen rolls like bounty or toilet paper): I used them for gourds, cucumbers, melons.

I used paper too, but I guess I did them too weak( you can see what happened), although since I have so many possible strong containers that will last for next sowing season I don't see the need of using paper next time.I will store these recycled trays for the nextx sowing season( late summer next fall for Sacramento, more about it here)

I detailed how I used each container for, but It doesn't really matter , you should try yourself, that it's just what I did and thought it worked well. The best to learn is from experience.

You can see how my seedlings progress so far here. 


Please let me know how you recycle down here > thanks :)

Views: 11915

Comment by S on March 21, 2011 at 1:59pm
Awesome! Thanks for these great ideas!!
Comment by Alex Demboski on March 23, 2011 at 3:01am
I love it! Especially using the disposable coffee cups-I get caught without my travel cup and I could accumulate these pretty fast, thank you for the idea :-)
Comment by Andrea K on March 23, 2011 at 3:46am
Thanks! :)
Comment by Andrea K on March 23, 2011 at 4:01am
I know I have been accumulating cups too!
Comment by Lauren Klouda on March 23, 2011 at 9:32am
We recycle a ton of containers. Yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, creamer, milk, and water jugs. But I thought we were set for this growing season... and well, you can never ever have enough! lol. Great ideas. :)
Comment by Andrea K on March 23, 2011 at 6:53pm

Hi Lauren, me too I still need to start more seeds, I set outside some gourds vines and the excesive rain killed my plants..Thanks for the comment! Recycling is the way to go for me too :)

Comment by David Ostendarp on March 28, 2011 at 4:11pm
I see people like you doing these kinds of things and I think "Wow" about all I am able to do is control a compost pile, but the fact that you and so many others are able to turn everyday things like recycled containers into useful tools amazes me...I don't think I have the creativity or the patience (I'm an instant gratification type of person) -- but entries like this always help to inspire me to do a little bit more each day.  Thanks!
Comment by Andrea K on April 18, 2011 at 11:39pm
Thank you! When I started recycling pots for seedlings my husband did not like it but now he is into recycling too, and eating healthier, I am glad this inspires , I appreciate youur comment :)


You need to be a member of HOMEGROWN to add comments!



HOMEGROWN.org created this Ning Network.



Join us on:


  • Add Videos
  • View All


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2023   Created by HOMEGROWN.org.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Community Philosphy Blog and Library