Buying a few packets of seeds with good intentions is all very good – but you could easily find dibbers, plant trays, pots, and markers, all of which can be a strain on your budget if you’re not careful.
Savvy savers can often find substitutes in everyday items that make sowing easier, and you don’t need special tools to prick out seedlings or fancy labels to identify what you’re growing.
So what could you have in your home that could replace the cost of garden ephemera?
If you are sowing seeds in individual pots like large sunflowers or green beans, you are not wasting money on a dibber. An old pencil will do just as well to drill the hole you want to put the seed in.
2. Lolly sticks
Don’t throw away lollipop sticks. Keep them as a plant marker. This is invaluable if you’ve planted a multitude of seeds in trays in your greenhouse or windowsill but can’t remember what you planted.
3. Teaspoon or fork
Often a teaspoon or fork is enough when carefully pulling out a seedling that needs to be transplanted into another pot. Just spoon gently around and under the seedling and you can easily pull it out and barely touch it as you move it into a larger pot or into its final position.
4. Toilet paper tubes
These are perfect, pre-made, biodegradable plant pots which, in turn, are ideal for single seeds or seedlings. Simply make four vertical cuts on one end of the cardboard tube and fold the flaps inward so that they overlap and form the bottom of the ‘pot’. Leave them on a saucer while the seedlings are still in their infancy so that the water does not seep from the bottom of the tubes when you pour them.
Save eggshells from your morning boiled eggs to make seedling pots out of them. However, wash them gently but thoroughly first to make sure that all of the egg is out. Egg shells hold seed compost and a seed sits comfortably in the egg carton while you wait for germination. Once the seedling has emerged and is warm enough to put in the garden, place it in its final position in the eggshell pot and squeeze it to reveal cracks and breaks so the roots can escape into the ground.
6. Plastic milk cartons or bottles
This is such a simple seed coat starter kit – just cut the bottom of a 2L or 4L container and you have an instant seed coat. Drill small holes in the soil to allow drainage. Once you’ve added compost and planted your seeds, you can reattach the top of the bottle to the soil to create an instant lid for plants that need it.
7. Fruit and vegetable bowls
How often do you throw away a basket that once contained grapes or other fruits and vegetables? These are ideal to use as starter seed trays, as some cups, such as B. grapes, already have holes in the base. Just remove all the stickers from the packaging, wash them off, add seed compost, then seeds. If the basket has a sturdy plastic lid instead of a leaf, save that too, as this will further protect your seeds and keep the contents warmer and give them more chances of germination.