Tis the season to start thinking about gardening outside again! I have some very random ideas to share (budget-friendly and earth-friendly). These ideas all involve reusing things (again, teaching our kids to recycle!)
Toilet Paper Rolls used as seed starters:
Again, I am encouraging you to keep a stash of these nifty tubes and pull them out when you are ready to plant some seeds. The awesome thing about them is that once the seedling has sprouted and it’s warm enough outside, you can keep everything right in the tube and plant it right into the ground! The cardboard will decompose!
- toilet paper rolls
Cut about 5 equally-spaced 1.5 inch lines on one side of the roll to make tabs…(see image). Next, fold the tabs inward to close the bottom of the
tube. Don’t worry about sealing it up, it’s just meant to create a base for the planter and will decompose more easily later. Spoon dirt into the “planter” so that it’s about 2/3 full…plant a seed or two! I used cardboard recycled pasta boxes to store these little tube planters in, so they don’t fall over and you can move them around the house so they are in the sun. Hopefully once they sprout and look strong, you can plant them into pots or the ground and have some success!
Plastic Pudding (or fruit) Cups as seed starters:
This is a little less involved – but we had a bunch of pudding and fruit cups that I kept and so I am attempting to grow some seeds in these as well. I poked a few holds in the bottom with a sharp
knife (adults only!) and have them all stored in a larger plastic container so that I can move them around the house or outside as well. We shall see how successful these are in a few weeks!
Juice Carton as seed starters:
Another experiment – I cut the top off of the juice cartons, poked a few holes in the bottom with a knife, and filled it halfway with dirt and will attempt to grow some herbs in there. I LOVE cilantro and want to have loads of it for summer tacos!
Plastic Milk Jug as watering can:
The kids get the biggest kick out of watering the plants but my watering can is heavy without any water even in it! So, I decided to poke some holes in an empty 1 gallon milk jug right below the cap (keep the cap) and they can water the plants much more easily! Plus, it’s a craft in itself to decorate (with permanent markers, if you allow it). Have fun with this one!
Personal Raised Beds:
If you have the space in your yard, giving the kids their own bit of earth is another idea. Last summer I gave my 4- and 5-year-olds each their own 3′ x 5′ raised beds. They planted snap peas, lettuce, and corn. It was a great lesson in responsibility and stewardship. All you need is some old scrap wood to screw together the perimeter of whatever shape and area you need. We added a brick tile in the middle so the kids could weed without stepping on their plants. It’s also easy to sit by the edge for weeding when the bed is raised. I plan on raking out new beds for them again soon for them to plant all their seeds that have sprouted from the toilet paper rolls!
One more idea…using egg cartons as seed starters: click here