Being a resourceful bunch, gardeners generally try to get the most from what they have to hand. Recycling things that would normally be wasted can give us great satisfaction, especially if we also save money in the process.
Using recycled containers for the seeds you soon will be (or maybe have been) sowing is easy. All you need do is have a good look at the recycling bin for easy-to-convert seed trays and pots.
Containers for Sowing Seeds
Containers for sowing seeds is a good place to start. There are many containers that can be re-purposed and put into immediate use, while others may require a few tweaks before they are ready to use. Get creative and make your containers look funky and fabulous.
Empty yogurt containers in all sizes are ideal for sowing a small number of seeds or individual larger seeds. Simply punch several drainage holes in the bottom, a sharp kebab skewer or bradawl work well. Put the pot onto a supporting stump or wood block if you’d rather use a power drill.
Plastic fruit containers, the sort raspberries come in, make great mini seed trays. Most already have holes in the bottom. The clear plastic trays that meat is sold in also make sprouting trays or mini greenhouses.
Toilet paper tubes allow for long root growth, ideal for sweet peas, beans, peas and corn. Put the tubes into a supporting tray so the sides don’t collapse when wet. And, toilet paper tubes can be planted out as they are, since the cardboard will simply rot away.
Used plastic cups, like those hot drinks or beer are served in, make great pots for young plants. They are a decent size and the plastic helps to insulate the roots. Punch three or four drainage holes in the base of the cup and you’re ready to plant.
Your daily newspaper can be used for cheap seed pots. Turn newspapers into handy little propagation pots in seconds by using a paper pot maker or you can do this without any equipment if you need just a few.
Fold a newspaper page in half from top to bottom (lengthways), then roll it around a toilet paper tube leaving the tube sticking out above the folded edge of the paper; this will turn into the rim of your new pot.
Gather up the ends at the bottom of the tube and push them up into the base of the tube. This forms the bottom of your pot. Slide the toilet paper tube out and flatten the base of your pot by filling with potting soil – you’re ready to sow your seeds. Sit the pots side-by-side within a supporting tray so they don’t fall apart.
Label Pots & Trays
Have you ever sown seeds, watched them germinate and wondered what you planted? I think this has happened to everyone at least once! We know what the solution is – label everything with the name, variety of the seed and the date they were sown.
Your own plant labels can be made by reusing wooden ice cream or lollipop sticks or strips cut out of yogurt pots. Write on the labels with a permanent marker pen.
Make Your Own Miniature Greenhouses
Adding a little warmth greatly improves germination. Clear plastic or glass covers help to trap the heat from the sun creating a greenhouse effect, which warms the soil and encourages seeds to start growing. This could include using clear plastic bottles, cut in half and popped over individual pots or plants or panes of glass put on top of seed trays. Simple but effective solutions.
All it takes is a bit of imagination to make pots, trays, labels and mini-greenhouses out of old or used items you’d otherwise throw away. Recycling is good for your wallet and for the environment, so get creative and see how much you’ll save on sowing this spring.
Please leave a comment and share your ideas for recycling in the garden.