A truly green thumb!

March 28, 2017

Use compostable or biodegradable pots for your spring plantings

If you’re like me, the longer days and warmer sun have you digging out seeds and potting soil.  When starting plants indoors, why not consider using compostable or biodegradable pots instead of plastic ones?  Here are a few options:

  • Peat pots: very common commercially
  • Cardboard: egg cartons work really well; so do empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls trimmed to size (picture here).
  • Newspaper: ever tried origami? With a bit of folding, you can easily make your own pots; here’s a nice video showing how.  (It’s a good idea to avoid coated or heavily coloured paper.)

Another advantage over plastic: no need to remove them or risk damaging roots when transplanting, because they’re completely biodegradable!

More and more commercial nurseries are moving away from plastic pots; so why not you and me too?

Egg cartons, a great option for spring gardening

If you use eggs, you’ll be familiar with egg cartons. Most are made of recycled paper and molded pulp, and can be recycled with conventional paper as long as they’re clean. But here’s an alternate use: cardboard egg cartons are perfect for starting spring seeds or growing a window garden.

The process is simple: just rip the lid off (and recycle it); fill the 12 ‘cells’ with potting soil; drop in your seeds; cover them up; water and wait. You may need to water a bit extra at the start until the soil and cardboard are well soaked, and you’ll want to put a tray underneath to catch water that seeps through.

Cardboard egg cartons biodegrade, so when the time comes to transplant your seedlings into a garden, you can just separate the cells of the carton and plant them directly into the soil. In fact, they’ll likely be on the verge of falling apart anyway, and some roots may have already grown through – a bonus!

Spring has sprung – it’s time to use those cardboard egg cartons to get a head start on gardening! (Here’s a simple three-minute how-to video.)

(Note: foam cartons can work as planters too, but they are not biodegradable so seedlings would have to be removed from them when transplanted. Unfortunately, not many recycling programs accept foam, so it’s best to avoid it in the first place.)