Growing plants from seed? Get them started with paper cups!

This weekend, I decided to get some seeds started in preparation for the spring gardening season. As some of you might remember, I started seeds in an egg carton last year, and I’d fully intended to do that again this year.

I ran into a small problem, though. When I was ready to get started this weekend, I discovered the carton I’d been saving for this got thrown away, and I had no starter pots on hand.


To the internet I went, and found the idea of starting plants in paper cups.

We have a bunch of paper cups we rarely use, so why not? Here’s what I did.

Poke Holes
For some drainage, I poked holes in the bottoms of the cups with a pin. I think I made enough to provide some nice drainage, plus they made the most entertaining POP every time I pulled the pin out again.

As a side benefit, it annoyed my husband enough to have him come upstairs and ask what I was doing.

I did see a suggestion to cut the entire bottom off of the cup, so you could just stick the whole thing in the ground when the time comes. Since I’m not very coordinated, and I can see that ending poorly, I just decided to go with the holes.

Label Sticks
This year, I learned to label my Popsicle sticks before actually starting the seeds. It’s always easier to do something when you’re moderately organized, first.

I know most of these are edible flowers, save maybe the Morning Glories and Butterfly Weed.

You might notice I’ve decided to grow two of each plant. This is partly because I’d like a couple of these for indoor plants, and partly because you never know what will come up, and what won’t. Ideally, I would have planted four of each, just in case, but I don’t have the space for that.

I’ll probably sow some of the leftover seeds outside after the danger of frost has passed, as well.

Pre-moisten Dirt
I read somewhere that it’s best to pre-wet your potting soil when starting seeds, which makes perfect sense. In nature, the earth is usually very wet after the snow melts, so why not replicate that inside?

It’s easy enough to do. Just put a bunch of potting soil in a bucket or bowl, and slowly mix water in. I just kneaded it with my hand, but you could probably use some sort of gardening implement. It should be clumpy and damp, but not like soup.

This is left over from when I’d filled the cups and pots, but it’s the consistency you’re looking for.

Fill Cups
Next up, fill your cups with your potting soil. I filled them most of the way, since the seeds don’t need a thick layer over them. I also filled two small pots, since I’m going to try growing spaghetti squash, and I’ve read those seedlings grow like crazy.

Add Seeds
Finally, you add your seeds and the markers! Seed packets usually have directions on how each seed should be treated, but if not, there’s always information on the internet.

The Nasturtium that I started, for instance, suggested taking a file to the seeds in order to aid germination. I hadn’t known that, so I gave it a try, and we’ll see what happens.

Now, it’s time to nurture these little ones and see what happens! Just like last year, I’ll keep you up to date.

By the way, the potting soil I use is from Miracle Grow, and it’s always worked out for me. You can always make your own if you compost, but since I don’t, Miracle Grow it is. You can find it at Target, through the affiliate link below:

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