DIY Home + Garden If you're a gardener and would like to start plants from seeds this year, then save your Easter egg cartons, they make the perfect container for starting your seedlings.

Published on April 29th, 2011 | by Wenona Napolitano


Use Junk and Trash to Help Make Your Garden Grow

seedlings in egg cartonI have been busy planning my summer garden. By this time of year, I usually have it planned out by now but here in Michigan the weather has been so cold, wet and pathetic I haven’t done much. I don’t even have my seeds started yet and I need to get them planted this weekend or they’ll never be big enough to transplant once the weather is warm enough to put everything in the ground.

There are so many things you can use from your trash or recycling to help make your garden grow.

Garden Containers

I have my egg cartons saved from Easter and I have two boxes of pellets to go in the cartons along with seeds I saved from last year’s plants and a few new packets I bought. I also have some fab pots and containers I found while cleaning out my basement I plan to use in the garden and the old bathtub saved from the remodel but I’m not sure if it’ll become a garden bed or small pond yet.

I also found a few items I’ll be transforming into plant trellises. The sides of an old wooden playpen will make a gorgeous trellis for my morning glories. The sides of an old semi-fancy metal shelving unit will give my raspberries or grapes something decorative to vine around.

From the Trash

You can use common items found in your trash or compost bin too.

  • Use eggshells saved from all your Easter eggs for pest deterrents once the plants are in the ground.
  • A bucket of coffee grounds will help enrich the soil for planting. Mix it in when you till.
  • Shredded newspaper makes great mulch in the flower garden. Use it under wood chips for extra layering and insulation.

What trashy or junk items do you use to help make your garden grow? Tell us about your garden craftiness in the comments.

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About the Author

Wenona is married with three crazy kids that range in age from 4 to 18. She is a freelance writer, poet and the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book. She enjoys reading, writing, crafting and gardening. She tries to do all of these as "greenly" as possible. Her writing has appeared in several local and regional publications, Pack O Fun, Today's Creative Home Arts, and Indiana Living Green magazines as well as numerous online sites including,,, eHow, Associated Content, Suite101 and

6 Responses to Use Junk and Trash to Help Make Your Garden Grow

  1. Billy says:

    This is a very interesting idea. One in the children’s book I’ve seen that from egg containers can be made vase handmade. Take the egg packing containers, stirred and the resulting mass coated with any form you wish to receive. After that, put in the oven for a weak reduce the heat and allow to dry. After this form to get and removed from the blanks and you have a great and boundaries for the child.

  2. Lorraine says:

    I use paper grocery bags to make biodegradable pots for starting seedlings. Check out the tutorial here:

  3. *When planting in very large pots or buckets….fill the bottoms with packing peanuts,then add the soil. It makes it a lot easier to lift and move.
    *keep old pantyhose to use as tie ups for tomatoe plants. Or put a bar of soap in the foot and tie it near the garden hose for easy clean up.
    *Use plastic cupcake containers as mini greenhouses to start seedlings.

  4. sheryl says:

    We invested in a chipper shredder a small one and shred all our leaves in the fall. It makes great mulch in the garden and on the compost pile. Insulates holds in moisture it can get hot a dry here in the south then breaks down into organic material. This year we also invested in soaker hoses…waters on the ground nothing evaporates and believe it or not off of 2o potato vines this year we dug 30 pounds of red and yukon gold potatoes with this soaker hose mulch method…..

  5. Michaela says:

    I use the  “Bed in a Bag” zippered plastic bags to make a greenhouse for my seedlings.  It works like a charm – unzip to mist – then zip it back up and it fills with moisture.  It’s the greatest find for the heavy duty packaging material and mine has lasted more than year – so far!

  6. Pingback: How-to: Make Your Own Natural or Recycled Pots for Plants and Seedlings | Crafting a Green World

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