DIY Seed Starting: Innovative Ways To Start Seeds This Year

By Bonnie Grant | January 27, 2020
Image by AlexRaths
by Bonnie Grant
January 27, 2020

Becoming a packrat may be the ticket to starting your seeds indoors early. DIY seed starting saves money, is fun and educational for kids, and satisfies that need to grow well before spring. There are lots of household items that can be used to start seeds. Even things you might have thrown out are useful. Keep reading for some of the best seed starting hacks I’ve come to admire with my own gardening.

DIY Seed Starting Has Never Been Easier!

You can grow seeds inside at any time if you are going to grow the plant in a greenhouse or in the home over winter, but just after New Year’s is when the yearning really starts to come out in me. After all, we have endured several months of icky weather and not been able to play in our gardens most of that time. Watching little plants sprout is just what the doctor ordered.

Reusing items for seed planting

When you consider ways to start seeds, your idea may be one of those jiffy flats with the expandable peat discs. While this works great, you have to re-purchase the peat discs annually and usually the flat and its lid will break in just a couple of seasons. I know because I have to buy one almost every year.

Using reusable items that can be planted directly in the ground that would have gone to the compost pile anyway is part of a winning cycle, however. Stop! Don’t throw out that old egg carton! Why? It can be a very useful item during seed starting time. So can a host of other potential “garbage” items. Reusable items for seed planting can include:

  • egg crates
  • toilet paper rolls
  • paper cups

Cartons and containers that would have gone into your refuse can also be used as seed starting containers. If you purchase a sandwich for lunch, don’t throw away that plastic container. It has a second life as a little greenhouse. Milk jugs cut mostly in half make a hinged container greenhouse. Even items you can pick up at the dollar store, such as ice cube trays, are ideal little planters that are both reusable and cheap.

Homemade seed starting hacks

If you want to expend a little effort while getting rid of your junk mail at the same time, make paper pulp seed starters. This is actually really fun!

Shred paper and place it in a food processor or blender. Add a little bit of hot water, not too much or you will have a soggy mess. Pulse the water and paper for 30 seconds and push down any paper into the moist bulk of the mess.

At this point, you may need to add water if the mixture is too dry. You want it to be the consistency of cream cheese. If it’s too wet, place in an old rag and squeeze it drier. Next, put the pulp in muffin cups and press it out to cover all sides thinly.

Allow the paper cups to dry for a few days and, voila, you have neat little individual planters!

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