How To Make Eco-Friendly Seed Starters

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Before we go into seed starters, I have included affiliate links in this post for an amazing company that makes thee best gardening resources for kids that I can find. I believe in these products whole heartedly to make gardening with your kids fun and planet friendly. I may receive a small commission if you choose to buy through these links at no extra cost to you.

Gardening can be a magnet for plastic and other non recyclable items such as compost bags, plant pots, seed trays and plant labels and so many other materials

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here is 4 simple ways to sow seeds without plastic. These are also fantastic ways to teach kids to grow their own plants while looking after our planet.

Egg Carton seed starter.

How to try making this seed starter..

• Enough compost to fill your egg cartons.
• Some Egg cartons
• Scissors
• Seed packets or seed catalogues
• Glue
• A tray or dish
• Seeds

How to make it.

  1. To begin with, decide what seeds you’d like to grow and buy or collect your seeds. You can also regrow some saved seeds from your kitchen scraps. Find some ideas in this post on how to grow a beautiful garden for free.
  2. Take your seed packets and cut out the pictures of your plants. You can also use seed catalogues or print out pictures to use. You need one for each type of seed you will grow. Check out Gardening for for a wonderful selection of seeds and gardening fun for kids! (You can even get 10% off with our affiliate code GHK10. It’s so wonderful to see a gardening company supply really helpful and cute items directly for our kids and not simply an afterthought)
  3. Get the kids to fill the egg cartons with potting soil. We found it’s easier to use a spoon for this.
  4. Glue the pictures representing each seed on the inside of the lid of the egg carton in the corresponding place in the tray. You could number the segments the number the pictures in the list if that’s easier too.
  5. Put the egg cartons on your tray, water them and place on a sunny windowsill.
  6. Wait for your seeds to germinate.

Winter gardening doesn't have to be expensive, use recycled objects like these loo roll tubes to sow seeds in.

Cardboard tube seed starter


1 toilet paper roll (or 1 paper towel roll)


Potting Mix

Seeds of choice


Make your own paper pots


1.Cut 4 slits in the bottom of the toilet paper roll around 2.5cm deep.

2 Fold in each of the 4 flaps and crease.

3.Fold down each flap, overlapping as you go, and fold the last flap under like you would a box to keep it together.

4.There will be a small hole at the bottom of the container for drainage.

5.Fill with potting mix and plant seeds according to instructions on seed packet.

6.Allow seedlings to grow until their roots fill the tube, make sure to keep the tubes moist.

You might even see roots growing through the paper tube but that’s normal, it means it’s time to move them on.

7.Once it’s time to move the seedlings into a place they can find more nutrients. Take the whole seed starter, loo roll and plant, and put them a large pot or directly into the soil. You can plant everything including the loo roll tube as this will biodegrade.

Orange seed starters





Potting mix

Seeds you want to grow



1.Using a knife, cut off a small section from the bottom of the peel so it can stand up.

2.Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the orange until you reach the rind.

3.Fill with compost and plant seeds according to instructions on seed packet.

4.Help seedlings grow but spraying with water

5.Once it’s time to move the seedlings, plant in a large pot or into the soil, orange rind and all. It will biodegrade.

6.Care for your plant based on seed packet instructions and watch it grow.

Paper seed starters


1 full sheet of leftover paper. We reuse a lot of paper the kids have “drawn” on.


Seeds of choice



  • Fold paper in half lengthways
  • Take something the size of your chosen pots, a deodorant tin or tin of beans for example.
  • Twist around the tin leaving 2 to 3cm sticking out of the end.
  • Press down on the table to fold the overlap part underneath to seal the pot.
  • Fill with potting mix and plant seeds according to instructions on seed packet.
  • Allow seedlings to grow by caring for it according to package instructions.
  • Repot or plant out as necessary.

What other seed starters do you use?

So there you are, 4 simple ways to make and use eco-friendly seed starters. What better way to explore growing with your kids than to care for the planet too. Don’t forget to check out our post on recycled garden projects for kids too.

1 thought on “How To Make Eco-Friendly Seed Starters”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. My little son is a crazy gardener. I’m surely going to try this with him. I have bookmarked this page for reference 🙂

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