Sprouting seeds indoors is an excellent way to get a jump-start on your gardening projects. Whether you’re planning on growing vegetables outside or simply wish to grow your own houseplants from seeds, it’s a rewarding and incredibly low-maintenance process. There are many choices of seed-start-and-grow kits available on the market, but you can just as easily create your own out of items you might already have around the house. Here are some budget-friendly DIY seed starter ideas for you to try.
Paper Egg Cartons
Start saving your old egg cartons if you want perfect seed-starting containers—free of charge. Egg cartons have multiple benefits when you use them for starting seeds. One is it’s a portable container for 12 (or more) separate plants. Each egg cup is the perfect size for a bit of soil and a seedling to grow. You can also break egg cartons apart to separate the seeds and even plant them directly into the ground when you’re ready. As long as you use paper egg cartons, they’re biodegradable and convenient to stick right into the soil for planting.
Toilet Paper Rolls
Another household item you can repurpose into seed-start containers is a toilet paper roll. These small cardboard rolls are the perfect size for starting seeds and larger plant cuttings. Oriented vertically, they can easily fit into larger containers for easy storage and mobility. However, because they have a large hole in the bottom, you can make them more portable by adding packing paper or coffee filters.
Take a small piece of packing paper or a coffee filter and wrap it around the bottom of the tube. Secure with rubber bands or tie them off with string and you have a neat little seed-starter package. This will allow water to drain and evaporate but will keep the soil from spilling everywhere.
Plastic Takeout Containers
While not biodegradable, clear plastic food containers are incredibly useful for starting seeds. You can re-use these containers by first poking a few holes in the container's top, then filling them with potting soil and the seeds or cuttings you want to grow or propagate. Mist the soil with a spray bottle so that it is moist but not soggy. When you close the lid, you have a perfect microclimate to promote root growth. With your new takeout container greenhouse, you can track your progress without disturbing the seedlings just by popping open the lid. With some occasional water and sufficient light, nature will take its course and you’ll save space and money.
These are all excellent ways to repurpose common materials you might already have and are inexpensive to buy. However, some plants and seeds have specific needs for sprouting or propagation. Before you craft your own DIY seed-starting containers, research the best type of care to give the plants in question. This will give you better results and a more enriching gardening experience, indoors or out.