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Making Plant Containers Using Household Items

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Author of fiction novels, short stories, book reviews and other online content, Peggy Cole has been writing articles on HubPages since 2009.

You could pay $2.95 each for these starter plants or grow them yourself for pennies.

You could pay $2.95 each for these starter plants or grow them yourself for pennies.

Fun Recycled Garden Project for the Family or Just For You

Starting an indoor garden can lift your spirits and get you ready for the beauty of spring. Using your own containers and harvested seeds, starting a vegetable garden is easy.

How to Start Your Garden With Recycled Plant Containers

  1. Begin indoors at winter's end by raiding your trash for sturdy plastic bottles, milk jugs, egg cartons, yogurt cups, small glass jars, and any usable containers.
  2. Using quality potting soil from the dollar store, fill each container about 3/4 full, poke in a few seeds, add some water and place the containers in a drip pan.
  3. Empty Swiffer pans fit nicely in a sunny window sill as a drip pan, or you can use a cardboard box bottom from canned goods.
  4. Be sure to mark the date and type of seed planted in each container. Within days you should see sprouts.

Tips for Using Recycled Containers

Cardboard egg cartons, plastic sports drink bottles, and empty yogurt containers are great for starting seedlings.

Using Egg Cartons to Start Seeds

  1. Cut off the lid of the egg carton and use it underneath as a drain tray.
  2. Poke a hole in the bottom of each compartment for proper drainage.
  3. Mark the date and type of seed on the flap.
  4. Fill each compartment with potting soil removing any debris like bark or sticks.
  5. Use the end of a pencil or a chopstick to push the seeds into the soil to the recommended depth for that particular seed.

How to Make Containers from Plastic Bottles

Plastic sports drink bottles make great containers.

  1. Rinse out any residue from the bottles.
  2. On a firm surface like a cutting board, cut off the upper portion of the bottle with a serrated knife. Trim off any rough edges with scissors.
  3. To soften the top edge of the container, use an old steam iron on medium heat.
  4. Set the iron on the rim of the separated lower half of the bottle.
  5. Gentle pressure will round off any sharp edges and prevent damage if plants rub against the edge.
  6. Careful. The rim needs to cool down before use.
Sports bottles after cutting and ironing the rim.

Sports bottles after cutting and ironing the rim.

Thinning Out and Separating the Seedling Sprouts

Seedlings need to be thinned out before planting outdoors. Clip off the extra sprouts with scissors at the ground line or if you're careful, you can separate the seedlings into individual plants.

Transfer each seedling into a larger container when they're about an inch tall and they start growing secondary leaves.

Transport Your Seedlings to Larger Containers

  1. Carefully remove the sprouts from the egg carton using a plastic spoon.
  2. Fill a larger container about 3/4 full of soil and make a deep hole using a pencil or a chopstick.
  3. Gently glide each seedling into the hole adding more soil to cover the roots.
  4. Add a small amount of water and more soil as needed to stand up the sprout.
  5. Place in a draft free place under a light if possible until the seedlings take hold.
  6. Once the plants grow secondary leaves, move them outside in the sun. Bring them inside if temperatures drop at night.

You Can Save Seeds from Ordinary Vegetables

You'd be surprised at the number of vegetables that will start growing from their own seeds. Tomato is a favorite that sprouts with little persuasion. So does cantaloupe, lemon, watermelon, bell pepper, and other regular veggies bought at the store.

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Read More From Dengarden

  1. Start by separating the seeds from the pulp and membrane that surrounds them. This can be done by submerging them in water or in a strainer under cool running water.
  2. Arrange them individually on a paper towel and let them dry for a couple of days.
  3. Once dry, you can peel them off the paper and store them in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Dried Seeds from Favorite Vegetables

Use glass jars with tight fitting lids to help preserve the life of your seeds.

Use glass jars with tight fitting lids to help preserve the life of your seeds.

How to Prepare Your Seeds for Storage

  1. Remove the pulp and membrane from around tomato, cantaloupe, and pumpkin seeds by rinsing under cool water.
  2. Place them on paper towels to dry.
  3. Store the dry seeds in jars with tight-fitting lids.
  4. Label the jars by type of seed and year collected.

Planting Your Seedlings in the Ground

Plant the seedlings in an area of prepared soil after all danger of frost is over for your area. Consult a Farmer's Almanac or online reference source to learn the best times for planting certain types of vegetables.

Gardening is a great way to relieve stress, enjoy the outdoors and breathe in the fresh air of spring. Using starter seeds and recycled containers, you can grow a nice crop of fresh vegetables for a small investment of your time and money.

Backyard Garden

Plant the starter seedlings outside after all danger of frost is past.

Plant the starter seedlings outside after all danger of frost is past.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peg Cole


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2020:

Thank you, Bhattuc.

bhattuc on August 09, 2020:

Informative and useful. Thanks.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 26, 2020:

Thank you, Chitrangada Sharan. I figured you were a gardening type person and you are so right, "growing our own food is both satisfying and necessary." Hope you are doing well during these stressful and difficult times.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 26, 2020:

This is such a wonderful article, with helpful tips and suggestions.

I like gardening and follow some of these methods, which you have mentioned above.

I am excited to follow some of your container ideas.

Growing our own food, is both satisfying and necessary, especially during these difficult times.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 26, 2020:

Hi Genna, It's nice to see you here. I'll have to check out Rebecca's hub and see what she's up to. My seedlings are ready for planting but it's been raining here. Maybe tomorrow I'll get it done. Thanks so much for the visit and kind words. Hope you are doing well.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 24, 2020:

Hi Peg. I just wrote a comment on rebeccamealey's hub about growing plants and flowers in containers, so your article is perfect timing for me. :-) I have to agree with William -- what clever and creative ideas. Thank you.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 20, 2020:

Thank you, Nithya Venkat. Now comes the harder part of digging in the soil to plant these seedlings. Off to the yard.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 20, 2020:

Thank you for the extra idea for storing seeds, Devika Primic.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 17, 2020:

A great article about making plant containers with household items. I love the egg carton and idea. Ironing the rim of the plastic bottles after cutting them is a great tip. You have given so many useful tips, thank you for sharing.

Devika Primic on May 16, 2020:

A great idea to store seeds. Often I keep in a brown bag.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 13, 2020:

Hello Dora, It's so nice to see you here this morning. May your garden grow abundantly and feed many.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 12, 2020:

So creative! So practical! All's good, but I especially like the egg crates to sprout the seeds. I need all the help I can get. Thank you.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 10, 2020:

Thank you, William. Hope you are well. Stay safe.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on May 10, 2020:

Pretty clever stuff, Peg. Thanks for sharing.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 09, 2020:

Hello Linda, Thank you for dropping in and for the nice comment. So good to see you here. Congratulations on being featured on the front page of successful hub members.