How to Reuse Refuse for Seed Starters

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Every year I start my seeds in recycled yogurt cups because they’re a perfect size container and my family eats a lot of yogurts. However, this year, I was a little late to start collecting my reusable containers. This prompted me to get a little creative in my seeding starter containers.

Just last week Karen from The Art of Doing Stuff did a post on how to make paper pots for starting your seeds. I especially like this blog for outdoor projects (like gardening) because Karen is from the Toronto area, which is very close to me therefore when she recommends planting celery, I know that will work for me. And, because we have the same climate, when she’s thinking about getting her seeds started, so am I.

To do this project I had to fish this wine bottle out of my recycling bin. Then I took the newspaper and wrapped it around the bottom half of the bottle. The easiest way to gauge how much newspaper to use is to fold the newspaper in half the long way and then cut down the center.

Leave about 2″ extra extending from the bottom of the bottle. Then fold that in, stuffing it into the recess in the bottom of the wine bottle.
To help the bottom stay in place, I sprayed a mist of water on the bottom folds so they’d stick together.

For my second reuse of refuse – this time kitchen garbage, I reused an orange peel to repurpose as a seed starter container. I was so excited to see my husband picked up a couple of oranges because not only did they compliment our buttermilk pancake breakfast, orange rinds make great starter containers because they can go right in the ground and serve as compost. This is especially ideal for delicate herbs that hate being transplanted – like cilantro. I’ve sabotaged many a cilantro seedling because I damaged it during the transplant from the yogurt cup. Here’s how to preserve an orange ring to use for planting:
1. Cut the orange in half in the direction of the wedges.

  1. Gently run your finger around the edges to separate the orange from the rind. Do not dig down – just the edges at this point.
  2. With 2 fingers, starting at one end (not the side) pull the orange out of the rind in the direction of the wedges.
  3. Your orange will continue to lift out of its peel leaving both the orange wedges and rind intact.

The paper post contains Marigolds that I plant each year. They’re sort of my heirloom plant because for years I’ve been harvesting my Marigold seeds in the fall, storing them all winter, and then replanting the seeds in the Spring.

I plan to do this with all of my plants. Why not! It’s a fun way to perpetuate your garden for FREE! I also exchange seeds and plant seedlings to give as Mother’s Day gifts. Start now and you will have a plant to give on Mother’s Day, which is May 12th this year BTW. You can even create your own seed envelopes from recycled magazines.

Now, I have to share a really cool seedling/sapling story. Anne Frank referenced a chestnut tree several times in her famous diary. It was her only connecting to nature during her two-year stay in the secret annex. In August of 2010 that diseased tree came down in a wind/rainstorm. Now, 11 of its saplings are to be planted around the US. I find it so thrilling to see history spread through botany. You can read more about the Anne Frank chestnut tree saplings on Huff Post Green.

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