Seedlings should be planted indoors about four to eight weeks before the last frost date for your area. All you really need are organic soil, seeds and containers—and when it comes to that last item, look no further than your own home.
Rather than heading to the local gardening supply store or co-op for those flimsy plastic seedling planters used by greenhouses, consider repurposing items that would otherwise end up in the trash. Not only will you be eliminating the need for those disposable containers—they always seem to tear—you'll be reusing an item before you recycle it (big eco-karma points!).
The containers that can be used for seedlings are pretty much endless: any shallow plastic, wood or metal container will do.
Here are my top picks for re-purposed seedling containers:
- milk cartons
- egg cartons
- tuna or salmon tins
- Jello and pudding cups
- bottoms of plastic pop bottles
- Lunchables trays
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese containers
- plastic cookie trays
Poke holes in the bottoms of the containers to ensure the roots of your plants get enough aeration to maintain a healthy and not-too-moist soil. For small containers, think one plant per "pot," but if you're using a larger container, sow seeds 2 inches apart to prevent overcrowding (very bad for seedlings' health). If you notice seedlings are touching when they start to sprout, transplant some to another container. And remember, keep your burgeoning plants warm! Air temperature should be at least 75°F during the day and 65°F at night.