Organic Gardening Guide Series 2021: Frugal Tips to Start Seeds!

February 3, 2021

These ideas are inspired by the This is part of my Organic Gardening Guide Series 2021.

Gardeners worldwide look forward to each growing season with great anticipation. I believe that most gardeners enjoy when they can save some money, while enjoying their gardening. There are various creative ideas that can help save you time/money, and improve your seeds’ germination. Today, I want to focus on some of the frugal methods used to sow/germinate seeds. Remember, whatever you do, do not start your seeds in cheap potting soil!


  • Use leftover plastic garden containers: You can use the container that your previously bought flowers came in. You can also save your own containers from this upcoming season, and use them to start seeds in. These flower containers come in many shapes, and sizes (see photos below for examples):
  • Soak your seeds prior to planting. Most sources suggest to soak them in warm water for anywhere from one hour to overnight. I tend to do it the longest with the big ones. I soaked my ginger root for a couple of days, changing the water each day. (see photo examples below):
  • Use clear plastic bins as mini greenhouses to start your seeds.
  • Make your own Gardening Journal to keep track of your garden’s progress. You can easily customize a blank college ruled lined notebook into the best 2021 Gardening Journal! You can use the Kellogg’s Gardening Guide as your example of the pages/information that you wish to include:

  • Use the free Gardening Apps: There are several to choose from! You can keep track of your plants and organize your gardening information. Here’s an example of one of my favorites—Gardenize. You can find it at the App Store, it’s free! Please refer to my previous blog: The Best Gardening Apps of 2021! (see photo example below):
  • Use the foods you already have in your kitchen to grow new plants: You already have it in your kitchen! For example: sweet potato, potatoes, garlic, green onions, and spaghetti squash can all be regrown from the food you already have in your kitchen! Note: I advise you to use organic produce for this. (see photo examples below):
  • Egg cartons are a great way to start seeds indoors. If you use cardboard egg cartons, you can cut up each individual cup, and plant them straight into the ground when ready. Note: You can also use the eggshells to hold your seeds (see photo below):
  • Label your containers: Don’t think you will remember like I have done so many times in the past and then can’t! There are many different methods to labe your containers. They can be labels on recycled mason jars, or as simple as, sharpie labeled seedlings in plastic cups. They are all perfect! (see example photos):
  • DIY Your own Plant Markers: You can use items that you already have around the house. You can recycle old broken pots or tiles. You can also decorate some rocks from your own backyard, and use them to label your plants! (see photo examples below):
  • Use other recycled materials to label your veggies: You can repurpose anything from your kitchen/home to label your veggies. You can use anything from an old mason canning jar lid to a used wine cork! (see example photos below):
  • Use Yoplait Kids Plastic Cups: You can use any plastic individual/single serve container as a receptacle for sowing your seeds. (see photo below):
  • Use Plastic wrap: You can cover each of your homemade planting containers until your seeds sprout. This will help to keep in the warmth, and create a mini green house effect. (see example photos below):
  • Use Seed Starting Soil Mix: It is lighter. The other stuff may work or it may not. Remember that being frugal is not having to spend more money because we tried to save money and go the cheap route.
  • Be careful with watering. You won’t need to water at all while you have the plastic wrap on. You will want to mist the plants because as they sprout they are not strong. I recommend putting all your pots into a tray and then pour water into the bottom of the tray. This method allows the plants to take in the water from the bottom.
  • Use warm water: I recommend using warm water to mix in with the seeds’ starting soil. Seeds sprout best at temperatures of 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C).
  • You must keep only one plant in each pot: When I started I thought it was a waste to just kill off one plant when I had two perfectly good ones growing. It is a must now. Keep the one that is the straightest/strongest, and looks the best. Just snip the seedling off at more-or-less soil level. Don’t try to pull the seedling out or you’ll probably mess up the roots of all the seedlings, including your keeper (see example photo below):

Use a cardboard box: to start your seeds. Fold the lid pieces inward against the inside walls to reinforce your box. Line the inside with a plastic bag to catch any excess water/moisture and protect the bottom. (please stay tuned for a future blog that will be about how to make this).

  • Enjoy your gardening while saving money! It is amazing to watch the whole process and enjoy the harvest!


Another way to save is by utilizing some common herbs and vegetables from your kitchen to re-grow your new plants. Please make sure that they are organic, and can be re-grown.

Here are some of the common vegetables (and herbs) that you can re-grow from scraps:

Sweet Potato
Green Onions
Bok Choy

What is your favorite frugal tip to start seeds? Please share in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

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