Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inexpensive Solutions

When comes time to start sowing for the new season, whether it be for a vegetable garden or for flower beds, sowing pots and trays should not be complicated, and they should not cost too much. Garden centers sell plastic pots, paper pots, mini greenhouses, trays of all sizes, etc... But in my opinion, they are pricey, and usually unnecessary. There are other, cheaper solutions, and they are easy to find, as long as one knows what to look for.

Grocery stores are an absolute gold mine for gardeners who don't want to spend a fortune. There are so many containers and lids that can be put to use in the sowing season.

A bit of recycling
Yogurt, grapes, ice cream, chocolate goodies, meat, cream cheese and slush are only some examples of foods that come in very interesting containers. Some can be used as pots, others as water trays. Some lids are also excellent as water trays.

There are however a few things to remember when using recycled containers. First, every container and lid should be cleaned and disinfected before use in gardening. Also, holes should always be pierced in the bottom of sowing pots. This allows the excess water to escape and helps prevent the seeds from rotting.

When that's in place, you're good to go!!! Here are a couple of pictures showing examples on my use of recycled containers.

Chocolate goodies container used as sowing pot for romaine lettuce, placed in an ordinary water tray

Family pack ground beef container used as water tray, containing pots from plants I bought in previous years. 

When the containers are made of transparent plastic, it becomes even more interesting. They can then be used as mini greenhouses... as long as there can be aeration with the help of holes / spaces / openings.

Mini greenhouse dome made with a q-tip container. 

From left to right: 1) Ready-made fish filet containers on top of eachother;  2) Dip and lemon containers that came with the fish filets - also on top of eachother; 3) A slush cup. 

The fish filet containers make perfect trays AND perfect greenhouse domes, as well as the smaller containers that came with it. The slush cup makes very effective individual mini greenhouses. They could even be used in a kindergarten or school group, where each child would have its own little greenhouse by the windowsill or on the terrace. Not only do they make pretty cute greenhouses, but their dome already has a hole in it to allow aeration! How perfect is that. :)

Grapes containers also make excellent mini greenhouses. There are already holes in the bottom and top of the containers, which provide both an escape for excess water and decent aeration. The lid often "snaps" on so it's easy to keep the greenhouse closed. It can be open when the seeds have sprouted. Sometimes, I also cut the lid free and use the container itself as a greenhouse dome.

I find it fun to be on the hunt for usable containers, and it also makes me feel good to recycle items this way. It makes my gardening hobby that much greener. :)


  1. Try egg cartons..they will absorb the water and can be planted in the ground

  2. Hi Cheryl, Thank you for your idea. :) I have read it somewhere before and thought it sounded great. My only concern was that egg cartons compartments are quite small. I wonder how long would go before I would need to transfer the plants anyway. Perhaps they're good to use for things to sow when we are absolutely certain that night frost will be over before we're ready to transplant the plants out in the open. I'll have to look into that! :)