Growing Ideas

Starting Your Seeds The Eco-Friendly Way

Start your seeds the Eco-Friendly way

Recently I have been having conversations with Sunglo customers and fellow gardeners discussing how to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly when gardening.  Since this is the time of year when we all start planting seeds I thought I would share some ideas on eco-friendly containers that you can use to start your seeds.

Starting seeds is a great way to get a head start on your garden so you can start enjoying fresh homegrown produce.  With the use of a greenhouse, you can start seeds even earlier and grow more vegetables by lengthening your season.  In this blog, we will explore some of the best eco-friendly and sustainable ways to start seeds versus the traditional black nursery trays or pots.  


When starting seeds there are of course the essentials:

  1. Seeds
  2. Growing medium
  3. Container/ Tray/Pot
  4. Humidity domes
  5. Light/Heat/Time

Eco-Friendly Seed Starting Tips

Tip 1: Reusing Materials

Sunglo Greenhouse Seed Starting


Recycling plastic that is readily available is fun and an easy way to be more eco-friendly.  Reusing non-biodegradable materials is a great way to become more sustainable.  Much of the food we purchase from the grocery store is packaged in plastic and perfect for seed starting, so be creative.  The clear plastic salad containers make great seed starting flats and as a bonus sometimes has a lid that serves as a humidity dome.  Milk cartons, yogurt cups, cottage cheese, and sour cream containers make the perfect little pots.  Make sure that any container you use has holes so that excess water can drain out of the growing medium.

Even more sustainable is paper pulp packaging which is biodegradable. You can use old egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, or newspapers to create biodegradable seed starters that can be planted directly in the soil when the time comes.  I have even used cardboard drink carriers.  


Tip 2:  Use Sustainable Products 

Visit your local Garden Centers to find sustainable seed-starting pots or kits.  Most are now carrying eco-friendly seed starting kits,  paper pulp pots/trays, Fertil pots (wood fiber), coir pots, and Cowpots (composted cow manure) 

Cow Pots are 100% Renewable

As more gardeners are demanding eco-friendly alternatives to plastic nursery pots there are now many innovative products coming to market.   If your local Garden Center isn’t carrying these products, encourage them to start stocking those items.  

Tip 3:  Newspaper Pots

If you enjoy crafting then I encourage you to make your own pots from newspapers.  These are quite fun to make and can even turn it into a family craft night.  Newspaper pots are easy to make and best of all biodegrade so can be planted straight into the garden beds.  There are many youtube videos with instructions on how to make these, just search “newspaper pots for seedlings”.  There are also affordable pot maker form kits available online.


Tip 4: Soil Blocks

Soil Blocking Tools by Lee Valley Tools

Soil Blocks are gaining in popularity with gardeners as a seed-starting technique.  This is the most sustainable option as it leaves a little carbon footprint.  Soil Blocking has been in use dating back to early civilization.  These soil blocks are made at home by you and require little outside inputs.  The idea of soil blocking is shaping the growing medium into cubes that act as both the medium and the container.  These soil blocks are then planted directly into the garden.  This technique requires you to invest one time in a soil blocker tool.  You can find resources online. The trick to being successful is in your soil mix recipe.  

Sunglo Greenhouse Soil Blocking

A Sunglo Customer shared the soil mix recipe she uses for her soil blocks.

  • 1 and 1/2  buckets* of brown peat
  • 1/2 cup of lime
  • 2 buckets of coarse sand or perlite
  • 3 cups base fertilizer
  • 1 bucket soil
  • 2 buckets compost

*bucket=Home Depot size bucket

Mix together all ingredients. Wet the mixture thoroughly into a soft putty consistency. When you squeeze the mixture, moisture should seep out between your fingers.

Tip 5:  Make your Own Garden Tags

Your garden tags can also be easily created by reusing materials around your house such as plastic containers, aluminum, or popsicle sticks. 

Homemade Tags by Dancing Tree Tops

In conclusion, be creative!  I hope you have found these tips helpful and encourage you to become more sustainable in your garden.   Starting seeds can be an eco-friendly and sustainable practice with a little effort and creativity. By using recycled materials, sustainable products, newspaper pots, or soil blocks you can start your garden in a way that benefits both the environment and your own health. Happy planting!


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