Containers for Seed Starting

It won’t be long until I can start planting the first seeds of the year. I can’t wait – I always get itchy to get my hands in some dirt. I begin to dream of being in the garden, working the soil and being in the sun.  For now I have to content myself with starting seeds indoors. Part of the process is getting my hands on containers for seed starting.

What to use for containers for seed starting:



Once you start looking around, you may be surprised at how many used containers you can recycle into seedling pots. Get creative – the idea is to reuse and recycle! Why buy seedling trays if you really don’t need to?

seed starting, containers for starting seeds


I save any type of container I think I’ll be able to use for seeding – cartons from coffee cream (great for tomato seedlings), wide squat canned veggie containers and the wonderful tall containers that hold the malt we use for making beer. When I get ready for seeding, I punch holes in the bottoms for drainage, 3 holes per container will do.


seed starting, containers for starting seeds


Years ago, I bought several packs of styrofoam cups. I know, not very environmentally minded of me BUT since I am very careful with handling them, I can reuse these as well. I still have some from the first year we moved up here and they are still going strong.


seed starting, containers for starting seeds


Also, whenever we hit a Costco and buy things in bulk, I save the cardboard trays – usually they have plastic wrapped around the outside.

I don’t pull off the plastic as it adds another layer of protection during watering. I’ll keep seedling pots in these trays until I can move the plants out to the garden. The trays are really strong, especially with the plastic on. We keep every styrofoam tray we can get our hands on too – they are handy for putting seedling plants in our windowsills.


seed starting, containers for starting seeds


If you aren’t doing it already, save every type of container you can find. I have had these little seedling containers for years (picture above). Although they are good when first sowing seed, because they are so small, I end up having to transplant them. This is something I avoid if I can. I don’t mind transplanting once but don’t like having to do it more than that.  I’ll find someone to pass them along to or just get rid of them. I don’t like using them.

Using the styrofoam cups works the best for me – I seed them in the cups, and don’t transplant again until I am ready to pop them into the garden.

Easy is best! Why create extra work for yourself? Reusing your pots and trays is cheap, cheap, cheap. There is no point in spending lots of money on those trays with the cell packs and covers. For every move you make planning and starting your veggie garden, think about it. Is there a way to use free materials, or reuse something you already have?

I seed the cups in my potting room, then move them into my seedling room, where Graham has hung lights. They stay in here until they are up and doing well. Then I move them upstairs into the living room in front of the big windows.

By the time mid-May rolls around, the living room is inundated with plants, plus I still have a full seedling room downstairs. For the hardier seedlings, I can put them in our unheated Greenhouse. Depending on the nighttime temperature, I can cover these with Remay cloth and remove it in the morning.

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What’s Growing?

We have lift off on the few seeds that I have started for the season. Five different kinds of peppers and four different kinds of tomatoes. Today I am starting parsley, the plan being to again make a small batch of parsley wine later this year.


non GMO

All the seeds are heirloom and I’m growing such a variety of them because we want to save seed from each of them. The peppers and the tomatoes will be planted in the greenhouse, once it is warm enough. They likely won’t move to their new home until the beginning of June, as we have such cold night temperatures here.


Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve had to start them without the lights, unlike past years. They did a LOT better when they had their own room.


Sweet and Hot Peppers

This year they are upstairs with us, hanging about near the windows where they can get the most light. When they get a little bigger I will transplant each into their own pot. A few years ago, I forgot to transplant 3 pepper plants into the greenhouse and here’s proof you can grow peppers in little pots.

There is a lot of yardwork to be done around here, raking and cleaning up all the flower beds. I am working on raking the worst of the lawn area, pulling up the dead grass. I have had the chickens give me a great head start with this, as they have been roaming around scratching at whatever they can find. They were doing too good of a job and starting to be a nuisance in the flower beds which is a bit dangerous at this time of year. Now they have temporary fencing set up for them, so they have the run of the grass down between their coop and the animal garden. Plenty of space for 11 girls to find something to do and eat and they are out of my hair, so to speak.