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Starting Seedlings

Category Seeds
Give your seedlings a head start by planting early. Start indoors if you garden in colder climates. This is a guide about starting seedlings.


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March 10, 20108 found this helpful

I used a discarded zip container that a comforter was in and an unused Rubbermaid container to start an indoor greenhouse. I used peat pots and seeds gleaned from last fall's bounty. In a week, the seeds have started to sprout! I placed it inside in a sunny window.

By Katy from Amherst, VA

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By 5 found this helpful
January 11, 2010

My tip is saving all the polystyrene cups you get at take outs, and use them for potting up seedlings. The take-away trays can be used as mini propagators sitting nicely along a sunny window; no need for a big glass house.

Source: My old auntie told me.

By jimmy from Ireland

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By 2 found this helpful
March 10, 2009

Anyone every wonder what to do with those hard plastic containers which hold a roasted chicken? I get salads with these hard plastic containers too. I just couldn't see throwing them away. So, I was watching a gardening show and they were talking about those packs to start seeds for the garden. I plant a small garden, I just couldn't justify the expense. Then I began looking at a chicken container I'd just emptied and was going to toss. Hey here's the same thing only smaller!


Using these containers I can stagger my plantings and label each mini seed starters. I also am using egg cartons, cutting a dozen egg carton in half is just right and will sit on the raised part of the bottom. so if/when I over water, the pots don't sit in water. When planting, I just slit the carton and put it in, no transplant shock either. So now, my produce won't be ripening all at the same time and my growing season will be extended. I look forward to seeing these seeds grow.

And hey, if you have kids, let them do this and watch their interest in eating their produce. (smile)

By Dee from Salem, OR

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By 4 found this helpful
May 3, 2010

I save the cardboard centers from toilet paper. These are excellent for starting seeds for my garden in the early spring. When the conditions are right for planting, I simply plant seedling in its cardboard core.


By Judi S. from Six Mile, SC

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By 3 found this helpful
February 25, 2015

In addition to serving as "food" in a few months, these plantings are helping me to "Think Spring" and avoid the winter blues! Some of the planters have just one seed-type, others have a variety.

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March 27, 2007

This is a quick tip for starting those seedlings inside. I get people to save me their plastic cups from 7-11.


They are perfect for starting plants and with the dome lid, it is like a mini greenhouse.

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By 2 found this helpful
April 10, 2018

Start your seeds in plants already growing in the house instead of using many small cups for starting your plants ahead of the growing season. Just plant them right along with other plants you have growing in the house. When they get big enough to transplant, you can move them into other containers or directly into your garden.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 7, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for starting seeds. Post your ideas.


By sandy (Guest Post)
March 25, 20050 found this helpful

i dont have good luck with seeds. but my boss gave us seeds for Easter. they alweays look soo puny when they come up and then they die.


what am i doing wrong.

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March 28, 20050 found this helpful

Try starting a few flowers or vegetables from seed in the house.

By ptreskovich

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April 15, 20050 found this helpful

Start all of your seeds in egg shells. No need to transplant them since you can put the shell right in the ground and they will act as a fertilizer.

By sewingmamma

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April 15, 20050 found this helpful

Start seeds in cardboard egg cartons filled with a little soil. When your seedlings get big enough to transplant, cut the sections apart, slit the cardboard just a bit (it will be soft) and plant the egg carton and seedling together.

By Linda

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April 15, 20050 found this helpful

Use disposable roasting pans to start flowers and seeds inside. Only $1.00 each at a dollar store, and way cheaper than the "official starters".


By Liz

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By Sue (Guest Post)
April 16, 20050 found this helpful

For the person who received seeds for Easter. Make sure you use a sterile seed starting mix and not regular potting soil. You also have to make sure the soil stays moist and never dries out. Regular potting soil has all kinds of bacteria, etc. which will make the plants leggy and "dampen off". I have had plenty experience now with starting seeds and have learned my lesson on this topic. Also, once the weather starts getting warmer you should bring the plants outside and get them accustomed to the outside temperatures before actually planting them in the ground.

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April 23, 20050 found this helpful

The little plastic "clamshell" to go boxes or containers from the deli, are excellent for starting seeds. Punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage, add soil, plant seeds and close the lid. Place in sunny spot (mine are on the shelf of my barbecue). The hothouse effect works really well. Be sure to open when the seedlings need the space, and keep it moist. (you should see condensation on the lid).

By Linda

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July 7, 20050 found this helpful

Heat a metal barbecue skewer in the flame on the stove and use it to poke holes in containers you want to use for starting seeds. The hole will melt thru, and the plastic container won't crack.

By Linda

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Answer this Question...

March 1, 20120 found this helpful

What is the reason for covering seed trays with glass when the trays are to be left in a greenhouse?

By Clive from Staffordshire, UK


March 2, 20120 found this helpful

To conserve moisture while the seeds germinate, is the only reason that comes to my mind.

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March 5, 20120 found this helpful

It creates the same effect as being in a greenhouse.

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Answer this Question...


Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

By 3 found this helpful
May 27, 2015

Photo Description
Am I the only one who thinks that the birth of a seed is a beautiful, artistic miracle?

Photo Location

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March 14, 2014

Photo Description
ThriftyFun is asking us to share our gardening photos. At this time, my garden is under snow and frozen slush. I love gardening, and this nasty weather can really put me in the dumps. I find the best way to lift my spirits is to get some plants started indoors. I visit my little 'grow area' several times a day. I always walk away feeling a little bit better.

Shown here, is a small cardboard box filled with little cells I made from telephone book pages. Planted within are Pink Beefsteak tomato seed. In my area, the last frost date is around April, 15. At that time, these little babies should be just the right size for transplanting outside.

Photo Location
My home, North Carolina

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March 21, 20190 found this helpful

Snow on the ground doesn't need to hinder your getting an early start on planting your spring seeds. Grab some gallon milk jugs and follow the steps in this guide for starting seeds in the snow.

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February 25, 20170 found this helpful

Recycle your milk jugs by adding holes to the screw style caps and the handle and to use for watering seedlings in your garden. This is a guide about using a plastic milk jug for watering seedlings.

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October 18, 20150 found this helpful

This is a guide about starting seeds in egg cartons. This common household food container that often ends up in the garbage, can be reused to get your garden started.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 4, 20100 found this helpful

Starting Seedlings

Tips for starting seedlings to plant from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas here.

Keep Them Warm On Top Of Fridge

On top of the fridge or freezer is the perfect warm place to place your covered seed containers.

By mary

Egg Shells for Starting Seedlings

I just read this in "Backyard Living". Use egg shells for starting your garden plants and use the egg container to hold the egg starts. After cracking the egg, wash the inside of the shell out very well and pick a small hole in the end.

By Sue Archer

Using Paper Egg Cartons

When planting seeds, plant them in the pressed paper kind of egg cartons. That way, when they are big enough you can just cut the sections off and plant the whole thing in the ground.

By Regina

Easy Method of Growing Seedlings Directly In Dirt

Take a bag of dirt, flatten it out. Cut openings where you will plant the seeds, water and plant seeds. I find that I am probably pulling up seedlings along with weeds when I plant directly in the garden. This way, you are less likely to do that because this method isn't going to have any weed seeds commingled with the seeds.

By Holly

Ingredients For Seedlings

  • Vermiculite
  • peat moss
  • H20
  • plastic wrap
  • condensation
  • germination
Ta Da!

By Bekkicat

Using Cottage Cheese and Yogurt Containers

Cottage cheese or large (qt) yogurt containers are great for starting plants, and usually fit right inside a decorative pot. Just drill a few holes. When I want to make a few holes in a plastic container to plant cuttings in it, and I don't want to go get the drill, I use a metal barbecue skewer. I heat the tip in the flame on the stove and it pierces the plastic like butter!

By Linda

Use A Baking Pan

When planting your seeds to start seedlings to plant in your garden, if you have the room, use your biggest aluminum baking pan. It'll need to be shallow. This way will be even easier than planting them in eggshells or yogurt cups.

By Terri H.


Starting Seedlings

I have not had much luck with any of the above ideas.Granted they are most cases free, but I swear by the Peat Pots. They aren't free, but only cost pennies, and give your seedlings a much better start. The photo shows a pot as you buy it( on the left) and the one on the right has been soaked in water and is ready to insert a seed in the top. They hold moisture for several days, and when your seedling is about 6 inches high, just plant pot and all in the garden. Great to start your own tomato plants.
Harlean from Arkansas (05/22/2007)

By Harlean

RE: Starting Seedlings

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