Jumpstart your Spring Garden using Recycled Plastics

Plastic cups

Did you know that U.S. airlines use 1 million plastic cups on flights every 6 hours? According to the Council of Clean Air, enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the equator over 300 times. That is a lot of plastic! Plastic that ends up in our landfills and our oceans. Although we sort and recycle our plastics, sometimes its nice to figure out a second purpose before they end up at the recycling plant. My husband came up with this nifty idea for a Spring gardening project using solo cups and lettuce and fruit plastic containers. 

Too many leftover solo cups from a party? Give them a new life as a transition home for your young starter plants.

 If you are like me, a burst of warm weather is enough to get you out shopping for starter plants. Unfortunately, here in Kansas it can be 75 degrees one day and 25 degrees and snowing the next. Too volatile to put those tender herbs and vegetables into the ground. But what to do when they start to outgrow their starter pods. Solution, drill a hole in the bottom of each Solo cup and add potting soil. Transfer your starters into their new home, gently spreading the roots, water and and  you have a transitional home for your young plants.   

Plastic fruit and vegetable containers 

What to do with all those plastic containers? Salad, fruit and yes, donuts come in these sturdy plastic containers that quickly fill up your recycling bin. Use them as portable green houses for seed starting.   

 

 

Strawberry and blueberry containers come with holes in the bottom for rinsing. You will have to drill a series of holes in the bottoms of your salad and donut containers in a 2 inch grid pattern. Stack your likesize containers and drill through all layers to speed up the process.  

recyled_plastic_greenhouses.JPG 

Fill containers halfway with potting soil. Follow your seed spacing guide from package direction and stay at least an inch away from the sides. Cover seeds with light depth of potting soil and gently pack. Remember to label each package with seed name. Lids can be used for extra warmth until seeds start to germinate. 

Its important to take advantage of warm sunny days but no one wants to move all the individual containers out into the sun and bring them in. My husband came up with this handy-dandy tray cart to easily move plants in and out. A child’s wagon or a wheelbarrow will work as well.

K-cups 

Single serve K-cups are convenient, but pile up quickly. They make great starter seed cups. No need to drill holes as the machine does it for you. You will have to scoop out the coffee grounds, which I did and added to my compost pile. So a win-win on K-cups. Fill with potting soil to midway point then place in two seeds. Once seeds germinate, weed out one plant leaving the healthiest one to grow. If weather is still a problem, you can use Solo cups as a larger transitional pot.

These are simple solutions to re-using plastic products. The possibilities are endless. Get creative and remember its cool to re-use!

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3 comments
Patricia Gordon says

Brilliant! I’ll be starting some seeds this weekend. This is Jose’s first foray into gardening. I’m going to try not to overdo it, but man is it great to have some muscle!

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