Seed starting tips

  1. Make your own mini greenhouse. Salad containers like this one work great. You may also cut off the bottom of a milk jug or water bottle. High humidity ensures a higher germination rate. Even covering a container with plastic wrap would work.
    Salad container green house

    Clear plastic clamshell containers make great mini greenhouses for seed starting.

  2. Recycle newspaper into plantable pots. Cut newspaper into 6-inch strips. Roll a strip around a small can (soup or tomato paste cans work well), leaving about an inch of paper overlapping the bottom of the cylinder. Fold the overlapping part over and fill your paper pot with seed-starting mix.
    recycled newspaper pot

    Make your own paper pots by wrapping strips of newspaper around a soup can.

  3. Use the bottom of paper egg carton as a planting tray. Add a little seed-starting mix to each cell and plant according to the seed packet’s directions. Cover the container with plastic wrap to hold in the humidity. After the seeds have sprouted, you can remove the wrap and cut apart the cells. Since paper egg cartons are biodegradable you can plant them right into the ground.
  4. Use egg shells as tiny planting bowls. Instead of planting directly in the egg carton, save it and use it to hold the egg shell halves. Fill each egg shell with soil and plant your seeds. If you’re concerned about salmonella, you may boil the shells first.
  5. Use peat pellets – the old standby! Add water to the pellets to make them expand and then poke your seed into the indentation on top. I like to remove the netting around the peat pellet when planting outdoors to give the developing roots more freedom.
  6. Plant your seedlings in peat pots filled with soil. Like the pellets, the entire peat pot may be planted directly into the ground when the danger of frost is past.
    Peat pots

    Tomatoes and peppers planted in biodegradable peat pots.

  7. Sow seeds directly outdoors. Some seeds, like tomatoes and peppers, need to be started inside to ensure a long growing season. Other plants that mature more quickly, like lettuce or radishes, do better when planted directly in the ground outside. Read the back of your seed packet to determine what’s best for your seeds.Tips from