Saving money in your garden requires a little creativity that is well worth the effort. Starting your own seeds indoors before the winter ends, is a great way to save money as the cost of purchasing live plants can really blow out. It also gives you a wider variety of options to choose from to help you to feed your family all of their favourite meals for less.
One of the largest costs for starting seeds at home is often the purchasing of seed starting supplies. This includes everything from fancy trays to the correct soil. You can save money by getting creative with recycling containers and purchasing bulk soil to get the job done. Here are some recycling ideas for starting seeds which will help you save money when you start your seeds this year.
Recycling ideas for starting seeds
Toilet paper tubes
This option is great because it reduces waste by making use of the centre tubes of your toilet paper rolls that often end up in the trash or at a recycling centre. These paper tubes can be put directly into the ground when you plan your vegetable and herb garden.
You can make a bottom to each seed starter by making a couple of cuts about 2 inches (5cm) into the bottom of each tube and folding them in. You can also opt to cut the tubes in half and simply pack the soil into each tube, standing them in a tray to get the most use of each tube. Just be careful to water gently so you do not send the soil flooding out.
If you tend to eat a lot of yogurt you will be happy to know that yogurt cups make a great seed starter container. Start by poking some holes in the bottom then line them up in a tray to catch the water that drips out. These pots can not go directly into the soil, so stick with the wider mouth cups that are easier to remove the plants from for placing into your garden.
Plastic jugs and cartons
From milk to orange juice, many of us buy jugs and cartons on a regular basis. These containers are great for starting the seeds of plants that will grow pretty large, before planting out. These are a great options for starting things like tomatoes that need more space but thrive when started as early as possible before planting. Simply cut off the top and add soil for the perfect recycled seed starter pot.
Cardboard egg cartons make a great option for starting seeds for your garden. These are best for those smaller seedlings that just take a long time to germinate. You can start a seed that has a month or longer germination time in these small dimples and use a spray bottle to keep them moist. This takes up very little space or soil, saving you money and giving your garden a head start before planting. You can cut these apart and plant them directly into your garden or into larger pots once the plants have sprouted and are ready to plant out.
A little origami can make for wonderful seed starter pots. One of my favourite options for starting a large number of seeds is to take the used paper to make my own pots by folding them into boxes. This is a great use for old papers you no longer need, scrap paper, and even kids’ drawings done with non-toxic art supplies that you have taken a photo of and no longer need. These containers can go right into the soil and will break down to provide food for your plants.
The plastic containers that your food comes in all make great seed starters. You can use the containers from the produce department, like the ones the berries come in, to plant your seedlings into. These containers are great because you can close them to create a mini-greenhouse to help keep your seedlings warm and humid so they thrive.
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Tips for recycling everyday items as seed starters
While reusing is always a great option, not all things should be reused, especially in your garden. Plastic containers that once held things like soap and cleaning supplies can hurt your plants or contaminate them. Even if you wash the containers well, they will still have chemicals that soaked into the plastic that can get into your food supply.
Be sure to use only non-toxic materials, as you want to keep toxins from getting into your soil and plants. While there are already toxins in the environment, you can prevent more from being added. When using paper products, pay attention to any ink or glue that was used on them, as they may affect your soil and in turn, your food supply.
Have you used any of these recycling ideas when starting your seeds?
Just remember, the bigger your plants can get before it is time to put them out into the garden, the bigger your seed starter container needs to be, unless you want to repot your plants before they are ready to go into the garden.