Fill with seed starting mix

DIY Quick Tip – Plastic Food Container = Mini Greenhouse

Do you want to give seed starting a try, but aren’t ready to invest in all the equipment pro-gardeners tell you is necessary?  Or, are you an experienced gardener, but have run out of precious seed trays and room under the grow lights?   Well, the solution to both of these problems is cheap and easy!  Go to your kitchen, open your pantry, cabinet, or fridge door and there you will discover a number of great plastic food containers that can be recycled and repurposed into mini seed starting greenhouses.

While on the hunt for containers in my own kitchen, I found 3 great options; an angel food bundt cake pan from Easter, a lettuce container, and a muffin clam shell from the bakery.  A few other container options you may have on hand are; strawberry clam shells, egg cartons, salad bowls, or a roast chicken container from the deli.  Really, anything that is at least 2 inches deep and has a clear plastic lid will work.   Get creative!

Turning the plastic container into a mini green house is simple:

1)  Wash out the container with warm soapy water, remove any labels, rinse and air dry.

2)  Poke drainage holes in the bottom of the container using a thumb tack.  Place the container on a cutting board and push the pin into the board.  If you turn the container upside down to poke the holes, it will inevitably bend or crack.  Not good.

3)  Fill with seed starting mix  and plant your seeds of choice according to the seed packet directions.

4)  Label the greenhouse and cover with the clear lid.

5)   Place under grow lights, in a sunny window, or outside in an area that receives full sun.  Keep the soil moist and, in about a week, your mini greenhouse should show signs of baby plant life.  Once the plants touch the top of the lid or, have developed their first set of true leaves, remove the lid.  If you started the seeds inside, be sure to harden the plants off before transplanting them outside.

There you have it, a cheap, easy and effective way to start seeds.   This would work great for starting lettuce, flowers, cucumbers, or even tomato starts.   I would not recommend starting root crops like carrots or radishes though.  A mini greenhouse would also be an excellent way for children to give gardening a go.  Give it a try and let me know how it works.  Happy recycling!

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