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Seed Starting Cups made from your Recycling

May 3, 2012

Last month the preschooler and I planted seeds for our vegetable garden … peas and broccoli.  This weekend they made their way into the garden.  She and I experimented with making our own seed pots using items from the recycling bin and I thought I’d share the what we did and how they turned out.


I ripped sheets of newsprint in half lengthwise (about 6″ wide) and used an empty water bottle as a mold.  1 length of newsprint was plenty for a single cup and created the prefect size cup for 2-3 seeds.


We had a few empty drink holders from a drive thru that allowed us to wedge the newspaper cup into it, helping to hold it’s shape and keep it up right.


Next we created a scoop for the dirt using the plastic water bottle.  We tried using a large spoon from the kitchen but it was taking way to long, the preschooler was getting frustrated and it was making quite a mess.  So we improvised and made a great scoop from the water bottle that naturally fit the see cups perfectly and really helped keep the soil from spilling outside the cups.

To make the scoop, I cut a portion of the top of the water bottle off at an angle, starting just below the neck of the bottle with the threads for the cap and curving down 3 inches and up 1 inch, across and back up to the neck.  It not only works well for the preschooler, but I plan to keep this scoop in my top soil bag for filling pots this spring and summer.


Water bottles also make great watering tools for little hands.  The small opening helps them direct and regulate the amount of water they put on freshly planted seeds.


I also strongly recommend placing the containers on a cookie sheet.  When they get wet they have a hard time keeping their shape and that makes them very difficult to move.


Since newsprint bi-degrades quickly we could have put these cups straight into the ground.  But we opted to remove the newsprint so we could space the seedlings further apart.


We used toilet paper rolls to start our broccoli seeds.  I like how compact they are, that they allow roots to develop down the tall column of dirt.  But overall they were not my favorite of the two methods.  They were difficult to remove and it the soil didn’t stay in tact around the roots, leaving a very bear little plant – I’m really hoping they survive the transplanting!


Do you buy your plants or do you grow them from seed?

What are you planting in your garden this year?  So far we have obviously have the peas and broccoli, but we also planted 6 tomatoes, and 3 8 foot rows of green beans.   Once the peas are done, we’ll put in a couple cantaloupe vines.  I have a four foot square section left … any suggestions on what I should plant there?

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