Cheap, Easy Seed Starter Pot Ideas

Commercial seed starter kits are a little more expensive than homemade versions -- photo courtesy Cynthia Albright/

It’s not quite spring yet, but already I’m getting ready to start cold-hearty seedlings for my early spring “winter” garden. In the past, I’ve gone out and bought those tiny little peat pots with the compressed pellets. But this year I’m trying to save a little money.

The internet is full of ideas for seedling pots. Here are a couple of really good ones that I’ve found.

Egg Cups – If you have a clear plastic egg carton, you can start your seedlings in the little egg dividers. The lids of these cartons make a quick and simple greenhouse. If you crack your eggs carefully and rinse the shells out, you can put half-shells into each compartment for tiny little seedling pots that are easy to remove when the seedlings reach transplant stage. If you use a cardboard egg carton, you have a nice biodegradable container.

Water Bottles – Bottled water is great for drinking, but not so good for the plastic waste that it leaves behind. You can save those bottles from going into a landfill by re-using them to make little pots, greenhouses and even cold frames. Cutting the end off of a water bottle will create a tiny seed pot. Cutting the bottle in half and taping it back to create a hinge will make a small greenhouse or bell jar.  You even collect them to make the walls of a larger greenhouse structure.

Newspaper Pots – Newspaper is non-toxic and biodegradable, so it makes a perfect starter flower pot. Take a newspaper and fold it into thirds lengthwise. Place it on its side and put a bottle or glass over it to create a tube. Then roll it around a bottle or glass. Remove the newspaper roll from the bottle and fold one end inward to create a bottom.

Toilet Paper tubes – The cardboard insides of a tube of toilet paper or a paper towel tube also make a great starter pot. You can fold the ends inward as you did with the newspaper pots, or place the tubes in an egg crate to create the bottoms.

Paper Cups – Paper drinking cups are cheaper than peat pellets and are more instant. Just make sure that your paper cups have no wax coating and that the ink on them is non toxic.

Photo courtesy Shari Weinsheimer/

Yogurt Cups, Pudding Cups and Plastic Cups — Again, these plastic cups are not biodegradable, but if you are going to throw them out/recycle them anyway, you may as well use them. Some pudding cups are made from clear plastic, you should be able to tape two of these types together to make a tiny greenhouse. Just remove the top cup when the seedling starts to brush the top of the cup. By that time, it should be ready to transplant.

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2 Responses to Cheap, Easy Seed Starter Pot Ideas

  1. Spencer says:

    I love to find ways to recycle pots. I use a lot of large yogurt pots. I love the idea about newspaper as well. I love to find ways to reuse and repurpose stuff from around the house.
    Spencer recently posted..Desert or Oasis? You May Be Surprised

    • Tracy says:

      A lot of people are starting gardens right now partially because money is tight. Using recycled and DIY seed starter pots is a great way to cut down on the startup costs for a garden.

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