Most gardeners have already been scouring seed catalogs for a few weeks and in the coming weeks and months gardeners will buy seeds from seed racks at garden centers. Every gardener has their preferred method of seed starting and what seed pots they use. Frugal gardeners have know for a long time that many items around the house can be converted into homemade seed pots. Everyday household items can be made into seed pots as long as they can hold soil and have some drainage. I did a post on making seed pots from rolling a sheet of newspaper, you can start seeds in a plastic sandwich bag or make a seed starter from a soda bottle. If you aren't familiar with those cheap ways of starting seeds take a moment to read those links and add that seed starting information to your gardening arsenal.
Peat pellets and peat pots have a long history of being used as seed pots especially among organic gardeners. But peat isn't the most environmentally friendly product and many suppliers like GrowOrganic.com are providing coco (made from coconuts) coir seed pellets as an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative. I'll provide a cheaper tip below.
Eggshells are a classic homemade seed pot. Empty eggshells that have been rinsed out and carefully broken to hold a few spoonfuls of potting soil or seed starting mix make interesting seed pots. Remember to clean out the eggshell seed pot by rinsing it and setting it aside to dry. It would be a good idea to poke a small drainage hole at the base of the eggshell so your soil or seed mix doesn't become waterlogged. If you buy your eggs in a cardboard carton you can also use the carton as a seed pot or simply use it as a way to prop up your eggshell seed pots so they don't tip over or roll around. Once your seeds have sprouted and they're ready to be planted in the garden you can plant your eggshell seed pot in the ground; you can give the young roots and seedling a little help by crushing the eggshell seed pot.
Instead of discarding the cardboard toilet paper rolls you can easily turn them into homemade seed pots by filling them with soil or seed starting mix. Like the eggshell seed pot the cardboard roll seed pot is an environmentally friendly seed pot that you can plant directly in the garden once the growing season begins in your area. If you still have the empty cardboard rolls that held your wrapping paper in place they can also be used to create seed pots. I kind of prefer the wrapping paper cardboard seed pot because it is more durable and doesn't become soft so soon. With these seed pots there is no need to create a drainage hole since both sides of the cardboard tube are open. Keep your paper tube seed pots a minimum of three inches in length so when the seed sprouts there will be plenty of soil for the roots to grow into. If you cut your tubes too short you may find it hard to keep your seed pots moist and your seedlings growing.
Yogurt cups, Styrofoam cups, butter/cream cheese tubs and takeout containers also make good homemade seed pots. Just remember to poke holes in the bottom of the container and choose durable plastics that can last as seed pots for a couple of years.
I personally use a general houseplant potting mix to start all of my seeds but others may use a specific seed starting soil mix. The one thing I've learned after a few years of growing from seeds is to prep the soil mix I'm using with a little bit of perlite and to moisten the soil mix before using it. If you enlarge the eggshell seed pot image above you may notice that the soil mix is dark. That's because I moistened it before spooning it into the eggshell and cardboard roll seed pots. Lightly wetting the soil mix for my seeds makes it easier to handle so I waste less and can water easier than if the mix was dry.
The peat pellets tip I mentioned.
Both peat and coco fiber seed starting pellets are good products with their advantages but their drawback to me is price. The seed starting page for Burpee has 48 peat pellets selling for under nine dollars and the coco coir pellets can start at fifteen cents per seed pellet. While good products with their pros and cons I'd rather spend the money on buying seeds. If you visit your local pet supply store you can buy a brick of coco coir for few dollars. The Coco fibers is sold as reptile bedding and is even used by terrarium builders as a soil. If you buy a large brick and stuff either the cardboard roll or the eggshell seed pods with the moistened fiber it is basically the same thing as a peat or coco coir pellet, except it will cost you less.
If you're curious the seeds in the examples above are some Amaryllis seeds I'm currently sowing.
More Seed Starting Tips:
Paper tube seed pots holder
Seed starting in plastic soda bottles
Seed starting in plastic baggies
Seed starter pots from news paper
Home made seed pots
When I collect nasturtium seeds
When I collect Pineapple Lily seeds
When I collect Cypress Vine Seeds