Want to save money on seed starting containers this gardening season? Try using empty produce shells to start your seeds. Why not? They're all natural. They're biodegradable. They're toxin free. They're handy. They don't cost you a dime. Plus, they can be very attractive. Why go out and buy special products to start your seeds in? All you need is some soil and a nutshell. Oh ya, it's that easy.
In a nutshell
Every Christmas, you toss hundreds of nutshells in the trash. Then, come February, you go seed starter container shopping, right? Did you know you could use walnut shells to start your seeds? They open easily. They split right in half. Each half can hold a bit of soil and a few seeds for sprouting. Once they're sprouted, you can move the whole thing to a larger container. What could be simpler?
Plant it like Peter, pumpkin eater
Not only can you start pumpkin seeds in a pumpkin shell, you can leave them in the same pumpkin shell when you transplant them. Plus, they already have some seeds clinging to the shell. Oh, yes. Just fill the shell with good soil. Poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and you're set. Pumpkin shells are perfect for planting pumpkins in. After the whole thing goes into the garden, the shell decomposes, to feed the pumpkin. Win!
Note: Don't use pumpkin shells to plant tomatoes. They need more drainage and are susceptible to fungus.
Skip the carton, use the eggshells
Lots of folks use egg carton sections as seed starter containers. Problem is, they get soggy. They can grow mold, too. Not good. Here's a better way. (If you're not vegan, like me.) When you crack your eggs, put the shells back in the carton, to line it. Fill the eggshells with soil to start your seeds. Once they get going, you can leave them in the eggshell for planting.
Note: Once again, the container becomes plant food. Genious!
Coconut shell halves make pretty permanent planters to start seeds in. They're great for herb gardens. Picture them lined up in a kitchen window. You will have to hammer a few holes into them for drainage. Oh, wait, you already did that to drain the milk. How perfect! All there is left to do is add some soil and seeds.
Note: Coconut halves tipping over? Solve the issue by placing them on a napkin ring for balance.
Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.