The Other Planter: Alternatives for Starting Seeds

I am always looking for ways to save money and garden sustainably.  Here are a couple great ways to recycle everyday items, saving yourself a bit of money, and saving the planet as well!

Toilet Paper/Paper Towel Rolls

Take your old toilet paper rolls or slice your paper towel rolls to create these great seed starters.  Many seeds have temperamental roots that don’t like to be disturbed (like melons, and cucumbers). This is a great way to get these seeds started early and still be able to transplant them to the garden without transplant shock.  The cardboard will breakdown in the soil.  Just be sure to slice the sides of the toilet paper roll before you plant so that the growing roots can emerge and reach a maximum amount of water and nutrients, otherwise the plant may stay root bound and not grow.

Note: This is a great way to mimic what peat pots claim to offer (plant-able pots) without using Peat Moss.  Peat Moss is a non-renewable resource and some of the most pristine and beautiful lands in Alaska (among other places) are dug-up and destroyed purely because we are too lazy to use the alternatives we have right here.


Take-out containers

You get these every time you bring home leftovers.  Now these may seem recyclable, but the fact is that in most cases, garbage disposal companies are not equipped to recycle these.  This is the case even here in Portland, Oregon where we recycle just about everything. Luckily, these containers are perfect for starting small seeds.  The dark bottoms retain heat and the clear domes allow sunlight to filter in while still retaining moisture. They are great for herbs and flowers. I start mine this way then transplant them when they are 1-2” tall.  Don’t forget to poke a few drainage holes in the bottom of the tray to prevent the roots from getting waterlogged.


Categories: Seed Starting


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

One Comment on “The Other Planter: Alternatives for Starting Seeds”

  1. May 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on larindasgarden.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: