DIY Compostable Plant Pot Ideas to Grow Vegetables Indoors

Let us kick-start the gardening season with DIY compostable plant pot ideas to grow vegetables indoors.

The weather is starting to improve, but it is still not warm enough to plant seedlings directly outdoors.  Most plants such as tomatoes, courgettes, peas, beans, chillies, eggplants and peppers should to be grown indoors before you can move them outdoors.  Although it is still cooler outside, you can start growing the seedlings inside using everyday household items to grow your vegetables. 

We have a number of DIY compostable plant pot ideas to help you start growing vegetables indoors.  Growing them in compostable materials will make transferring them directly into your garden easy once the temperature warms up and remains in double digits at night.

If you are wondering when to start your seedlings, download the vegetable growing guide to help you get started.

DIY compostable plant pot ideas

First on the list are items you can use to make DIY compostable plant pots, such as toilet roll tubes and newspapers. 

DIY plant pots made of newspaper and toilet roll tubes are the easiest to get started.  Do not throw out your empty toilet roll tubes, cut them in half and use them as seedling starter pots.  The pots do get soggy after a while.  To prevent them from collapsing, place several of them close to each other so that they can form a support structure around each other. Line them up in a waterproof container, fill them with compost and then squeeze a seed directly in the middle of the compost. Water, cover and keep aside in a sunny room.  Check on your seedlings every few days to ensure that the soil does not dry out.

Bean plants in toilet roll tubes
Bean plants in toilet roll tubes

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Newspaper pots seem to be gaining popularity at the moment, but that is only the case if you have newspaper at home.  To make these, simply cut the paper to your required size, roll it around a small jar or can, then glue the end.  Since newspaper is fairly thin, double up the paper so it is more robust. To make it a fully compostable pot, create a thick paste using flour and water.   Spread the paste like glue and allow it to dry out. 

The benefit of DIY compostable plant pots is that you do not have to worry about taking the plant out of its comfort zone when it is time to grow it outdoors.  All you have to do is plant it out in its existing pot and the materials will break down in the soil as the plant flourishes.

DIY Plant Pot Ideas using Egg Cartons

Cardboard egg cartons are great for sowing lots of the same seeds.  For example, if you are growing peas, then you will need to sow many seeds.  Grow the seeds in the egg carton.  When you are ready to sow them outdoors, cut the individual cups and place them directly into the ground.  As previously mentioned, just like the toilet roll tubes, the egg carton and the newspaper DIY plant pots will also get soggy, therefore place a tray underneath to prevent them from collapsing, leaking and making a mess. 

Plant pots Ideas using Eggshells

Eggshell plant pots are a great way to get your indoor vegetables growing.  The next time you decide to make eggs, carefully break shell so that the rest of it remains intact.  Give the eggshells a quick rinse before using them.  The rinse is to take away the smell of eggs while it sits in your house as a DIY plant pot.   

Before planting the seed, make a tiny hole at the bottom or side of the eggshell. This will drain out any excess water therefore ensuring that the shell is not water logged.  Eggs are also a great source of calcium for plants and they are a neat way to involve kids.  As the plant grows, children get excited to see it.

Tomato plant sowed in an eggshell
Tomato plant sowed in an eggshell

Compostable Plant Pots using Citrus Fruits

Did you know you could use orange and grapefruits as DIY plant pots?  These are great for growing seeds in because they will provide the seed with nutrients and when you plant it outside, you can plant the entire orange – no need to remove the plant from its original pot.  The peel will compost into the soil, adding nutrients to the plants as they grow.

What to do with your DIY Compostable Plant Pots

Once your pots are ready for use, place your filled DIY plant pots in a container or a tray and cover them with a clear lid.  This will act as a mini greenhouse.  Then keep them somewhere sunny, warm and moist.  Make sure that they do not dry out. 

The seeds should sprout after 7 to 14 days.  This year, I soaked the seeds in water and kept them in dark place for 3 days.   When I took them out, most of them had started to sprout.  So when I placed them in the DIY plant pots, they started to grow in less than a week.

Tip: if you are planning to grow beans, soak them individually to prevent any diseased seeds from spreading it to others, such as halo. You can learn about how to grow your own vegetables here.

Advantages of DIY compostable Plant Pots

There are several advantages to using DIY compostable plant pots as ideas when growing most of your vegetables from seeds:

  1. The materials are already available in your home therefore you do not have to go looking for trays. 
  2. Using these materials will save you a bit of money. 
  3. It is a fun way to get kids involved.
  4. Most seedling trays are made from plastic; therefore using everyday household items will stop more plastic from entering the waste stream. 
  5. The materials will decompose in your garden therefore reducing your recycling bin waste and providing the soil with nutrients and organic matter.

DIY recycled plant pot ideas

Another way to grow your seedling is by converting old plastic bottles, cans, tins etc. into plant pots.  Although these are not compostable, they are a better alternative to buying new seedling trays. Once the plant is ready to grow outdoors, you will have to remove the plant from the recyclable container.  Do not forget to rinse and then recycle or reuse the same container next time.  

Final Option

Making your own DIY plant pots at home is a fun way to recycle and reuse some of your household waste, especially waste that is compostable.   Using these items means that you can get a head start on gardening, without the worry of finding the ‘right trays’ to sow in when it is still cold outside and DIY stores have not put their gardening season items out for sale yet.  However, if you are still planning to buy gardening plant pots, look into seedling trays that are biodegradable such as the ones available from Amazon.

The Eden Project website has some useful tips on using household items to start plant pots at home.

The Grow Network

Interested in joining a community of growers? The Grow Network is a community of growers interested in growing their own food, making and using herbal alternative medicine for personal health, as well as the environment.

The Grow Network have a load of resources that are useful for beginners and also for experienced gardeners. Joining the community is free. You can also take advantage of the shop which offers organic herbs and online courses on how to grow your own food and medicine.

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7 comments

  1. Joanna I

    Fantastic ideas! We don’t have a garden, just a concrete yard… But I’ve seen these large compost bags in the shops for growing plants in them, so I might start small with the kids and then finally convince husband to get one of those bags for the outside if kids manage to grow something indoors that needs to be transfered to a larger space 😉

  2. Juzaila Jumari

    Great post, sharing this with my husband. He would love these ideas, since the lockdown we’ve been trying to grow food ourselves but living in an apartment is challenging because of space.

  3. Irna

    Aww timely. Awesome post. I’ve just started gardening vegetables recently.. This is really an excellent idea to get the most out of our everyday organic waste an save the earth at the same time..really need to try this!

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