Frugal DIY Seed Starters

Spring is in the air and if you’re like me, you can’t wait to get your hands in the dirt again (planting seeds of course)!  Depending on where you live, you may already have your little seedlings in the ground.  Or you may just be beginning your plans on this year’s garden.  Wherever you are, here are some handy tips on some frugal (and fun) seed starters.

Making Newspaper Pots

Save that Sunday Paper!

You are buying the Sunday paper for the grocery coupons, right? Here’s another way to put that paper to use! Make your own seed-starting cups.

What you’ll need:

Old newspapers

2 or 3 jars in a variety of sizes, depending on what you’ll be starting from seed


Follow these simple steps to create your own seed starting cups, fill with soil, plant your seed, place in plastic trays and water. Once your seedlings are up and the

weather permits outside planting, transfer the entire plant in its newspaper cup into the garden.

Take a single layer of newspaper, cut or tear and fold for an approximate fit for the jar you’ll be using. With the folded edge aligned with the bottom of the jar, begin rolling the newspaper around the jar as shown in these photographs:

Stand the jar upright with the newspaper wrapped around it.

Tuck or crush the torn, rough edges down inside the opening of the jar (loosely).

Remove the jar from the newspaper.



Invert the paper cup and push the jar down inside the cup to flatten the bottom.


Fill seed cup with potting soil (in this photo, aged compost is being used). Now your seed cups are ready to have seed added and seedlings started.


Toilet Paper Roll Pots

Toilet paper rolls also make great seed starters and we ALL have those around! I’ve seen several examples on Pinterest, but here is the simple version. Some folks cut the roll in half and get two starters out of one roll. Or, get a bit more fancy and make nice folded bottoms, like these.

Make a Mini Greenhouse (or two)

Making your own mini greenhouses is easy, especially if you saved the plastic, domed containers you get from sandwiches, cakes, doughnuts, etc. Find a place to set these aside as you use them through the year and you’ll be ready to go come spring. You can even scavenge them from church potlucks or that sort of thing. (One of the side benefits of helping with clean-up!)

Just fill the bottom of the container with soil and plant the seeds as directed. Since the dome  helps keep things moist, you’ll only have to spray with a spray bottle as the soil begins to dry. If things begin to look overly-moist or you see signs of mold, leave the cover off for a day or two to let things dry you. You should remove the dome once the seedlings have a good start.

Making Seed Tapes

If you’ve seen those roll-out seed tapes and wished you could afford them, you can! In fact, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost of commercial seed tapes. Cut a section of paper towels to the desired size. Dollar Stretcher has a great step-by-step tutorial.

Happy planting!

 Frugal seed starters works for me!  To see more Works For Me Wednesday tips visit:  We Are That Family

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One thought on “Frugal DIY Seed Starters

  1. Love the toilet paper roll idea, hadn’t heard that one before! I bought a soil blocker from Johnny’s seeds several years ago and that is my favorite way to start seeds – no pot required!

    Molly says: Happy seeds and happy wallets! Here’s to spring & seedlings.

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