There are many choices of seed starting pots for a home gardener and each has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at our six best options!
I love, Love, LOVE starting my own seeds! First of all, because I am cheating and getting a jumpstart on spring, getting the chance to stick my hands in the dirt after only a couple of months’ hiatus. Also, I know that I’m doing something that is frugal and organic, which is a great feeling!
I mean, you can grow a tomato as organically as you want once you get it home from the nursery’s greenhouse. However, let’s be honest, do you really think they give a hoot and a half about organics? Well, maybe they do in your neck of the woods, but around here “organic” is something all those hippies on the west coast dabble in. We’re practical here in the midwest (and “feeding the world” don’t you know? Pf!)
So, I played around with starting seeds for a few years now. However, once I realized that onion seeds need to be sown as early as January, I got serious about my new winter hobby. Do you really mean I only need to skip November & December in my gardening calendar?! It was music to my ears! (Being such the addict that I am regarding gardening and all).
Quick Tip: When you keep good records with the SmartSteader homestead management app you can learn which seed starting pots are most cost-effective. With SmartSteader you can record gardening expenses and yields. So with each year’s experiments, you will have real numbers you can use to make the decision as to which way of starting seeds is best for YOU!
Seed Starting Pots: PROS & CONS
So, over the years, I’ve tried most of the ways that a backyard gardener starts their seeds. Here’s the rundown of what I learned are the pros & cons of seed starting pots. Beforehand, I want to assure you that you should always take into consideration your garden’s needs and your own. My favorite seed starting pot may be or may be not yours too.
That’s totally normal and fine! You should just find your own!
1. Egg Cartons As Seed Starting Pots
Cardboard egg cartons can be used to start a dozen seedlings, and then cut apart to plant each one when it’s time to plant them in the garden. As with newspaper seedling pots, there’s no need to remove the plants from the pots before planting, as the cardboard will break down in the soil as the plant grows.
- Readily Available.
- Size Limiting;
- Difficult to maintain even moisture levels;
- If it gets too wet, it could rip.
2. Newspaper Pots As Seed Starting Pots
As I already said, this way of starting seeds is a lot easier than others, as there’s no need to remove the plants from the pots before planting. The cardboard will break down in the soil as the plant grows. Also, you can learn how to make newspaper pots in an easy and fun way on this website.
- Readily Available;
- Can decompose if planted in the ground;
- Environmentally Friendly.
- Time-consuming to prepare especially if you’ll be doing a large number of pots;
- Don’t wear white while making them. No seriously, you’ll ruin it.
- Easily rips if saturated;
- Susceptible to molding- Mine got quite slimy.
3. Cardboard Tubes As Seed Starting Pots
Next is this easy and environmentally friendly way of starting seeds. Moreover, here we have a fun tutorial too on learning how to make Cardboard Tubes into seed cups.
- Readily Available;
- Environmentally Friendly.
- Don’t quickly decompose in the ground- I suggest at least ripping them open prior to planting so those little roots can get out.
- Can rip if saturated during watering.
4. Peat Pots As Seed Starting Pots
In effect of the higher price, these pots can be shuffled and moved around and are still environmentally friendly. However, they have to be bought. So, if you are interested in this way of starting your seeds, you can buy Peat Seed Starting Pots on Amazon at a budget-friendly price.
- Environmentally Friendly;
- Can be planted in the ground and decomposed;
- Can be shuffled and moved around if allowed to dry out a little first.
- More expensive;
- Can rip if oversaturated;
- Can be susceptible to molding;
- Wicks away moisture from the soil so you have to water more often.
5. Plastic Seed Starting Pots As Seed Starting Pots
Also, if you’ll be using a self-watering tray, be sure to poke a few holes in the bottom first. No matter how I start them, I transplant tomatoes up into plastic cups because they’re so tall and narrow. I bury the whole stem right on up to the bottom of the first true leaves and a beautiful root system will establish itself by the time it’s ready to go into the ground.
- Can be inexpensive especially if salvaged;
- Reusable and with careful handling can be saved from one year to the next.
- More expensive;
- Can rip or get a hole.
6. Soil Blockers As Seed Starting Pots
If you need one at a fair price, you can buy a soil blocker on Amaon anytime. Even though I’ve never tried seed starting plugs like those on Amazon, the advantages and disadvantages are about the same with the exception of price.
- One time investment;
- Easy to use, and quick to make once you get into a groove;
- No containers to break;
- Environmentally friendly;
- No root shock;
- Roots don’t get bound;
- Works great with homemade potting soil mix.
- Expensive initially;
- If you need to shuffle your seeds into different trays it can be tricky to keep them from breaking if they’re loosely made or wet.
- You’re limited to size. If you want to upsize using to a larger one, you’ll need to purchase multiple sizes. Not all plants need a large block of soil so you might need to buy a second one to accommodate those need.
- If your seeds don’t germinate, your soil is stuck. There’s no adding it back in to be made into another one. It’s just wasted space.
Finally, what are the best seed starting pots? Well, as I said before, it really depends.
Honestly, I don’t see myself ever making newspaper pots or ones from cardboard tubes again. It wasn’t worth the upfront time investment for the advantage of using “free” materials. So, if I’m pressed for time, I’ll probably reach for a plastic pot or maybe a Jiffy pot. It will irritate me come planting time that I’ve used the Jiffy pots, but that’s trouble for another day.
Ideally, if I have the time, I’m going to go with the soil blockers. Because I believe that in the end, a soil blocker produces a pot that is the best for the seedlings and the most user-friendly for the gardener. However, these are my thoughts and personal preferences.
Therefore, look within yourself and to your garden’s needs and decide for yourself. Which are your favorite pots for starting your seeds? However, when you find the answer, do not hesitate to share it with us in the comment section!