The Q&A Archives: Making Seedstarting Containers

Question: Do you have some suggestions for easy-to-make containers for starting seeds?

Answer: Different plants need different sizes of containers, but most will do well in a 6- by 6-inch pot. Seed germination can take place in shallower soil, but then you'd have to transplant the seedlings later. So, to keep it simple, use the same container for germinating and growing. No matter where it came from or what it used to be, every container must have a drainage hole in the bottom to avoid waterlogging the plants. Drainage holes are usually about the size of a dime. Here are a few ideas

1. Milk cartons. The quart size can be cut down to make 4- by 6-inch containers, or your kids could collect the pint-size cartons from school.
2. Plastic soda bottles. The 2-liter size makes a nice deep container. Cut off the top for easy 6- by 6-inch sizes.
3. Yogurt cups. The individual serving size is a ready-made seed-starting container.
4. Egg cartons. Either the cardboard or the plastic kind will work well for starting the seeds, but you'll have to transplant them to larger containers as soon as they've sprouted.

Make sure that all of the containers are washed thoroughly. As soon as the seeds have sprouted, thin the plants to provide enough room for the roots. Fertilize with dilute liquid fertilizer. This indoor garden will be truly homemade.

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