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Earth Friendly Recycling for Your Garden: Making Seedling Planters from Stuff Around Your House

Updated on May 2, 2015

If you find yourself at the checkout of a big box store wondering why you are paying $50 for the privilege of growing $20 in vegetables, you are not alone. Whether you are looking at paying $3.99 a pot for “starter” tomato plants or $15 for biodegradable seedling pots, you just might wonder whether there’s any point in growing your own vegetables. While there is always a benefit in eating fresh beans, tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce, there is something to be said for a little frugality.

Before you plunk down a mini-fortune in store-bought “naturally-organic-earth-friendly” coconut-husk planters imported from the other side of the planet, consider the following 5 options for earth friendly seedling planters that won’t break your budget.

Lemon Seedling Planters.

Do you ever wonder what to do with the leftover lemon once you’ve squeezed out all the juice? Surprisingly, they make attractive, biodegradable, seedling planters. Just scrape out the remaining pulp, fill them with potting soil and seeds and you are ready to go. Unlike the newspaper planters, lemon planters stay fairly intact until you put them in the ground. Consider using toothpicks to support them in a cup.

Newspaper Seedling Planters

Simple to make, newspaper seedling planters require very little effort. Take a full sheet of newspaper and tear it along the seam. Fold that paper in half and roll it around a small juice glass. Secure the paper about a half an inch from the top with a piece of masking tape. Now fold over the bottom and secure that with tape as well. Gently slide the seedling planter off of the glass and fill with potting soil. Once you’ve complete a dozen of these, place them in a foil tray or lasagna pan and you’re ready to plant your seeds. Once you seedlings have sprouted and grown at least two inches, feel free to plant them in your garden.

Eggshell Seedling Planters

If you’re careful, empty egg shells can be filled with planting soil and placed back in the egg carton for an innovative, biodegradable planter that not only serves as a home for your new seedling but feeds your garden in the process. Make sure to add your seeds before you fill your eggshell to the top as it won’t be able to handle the pressure of pushing in seeds after the fact.

Toilet Paper Tube Seedling Planters

While not the most attractive planters in the world, toilet paper tubes work well as planters. Simply fold over the bottom, fill with soil, and add soil. Since toilet paper tubes are all the same size, they are much easier to arrange in a foil pan than newspaper or lemon seedling planters.

Ice Cube Tray Seedling Planters

While not biodegradable, ice cube trays can serve as seedling planters in a pinch. Remember that unlike they’re biodegradable cousins, ice cube planters are waterproof which make them easy to overwater. Consider drilling a hole at the bottom to alleviate this problem.

Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. With a little forethought, items around your house can be reused, repurposed, or upcycled to fill your needs. From creating a watering can by drilling holes in the metal lid of a glass container to composting your kitchen waste, you can reduce your need for gardening supplies while helping to preserve the environment. No sense shipping coconut husks from Fiji to create biodegradable planters when you can do the same thing with stuff you find around your house.


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