Reuse & Repurpose


Reusing & repurposing items to use to start seed sowing

What Did We Do?

If you are a beginner to sowing seeds it can all seem a little daunting, when to sow, what seeds to buy, when to plant out and then there is all the equipment you need. 

Even those that have been gardening for years need to replace their items often. We are here to give you some ideas on what we use that you probably have around the home. 

Use whatever you have, our simple Ideas for starting your seeds

Collect your toilet rolls, they are ideal for planting in, there are several ways you can do this. You can crunch some used paper/packaging paper in the bottom to stop the soil coming out, you can cut 4 slits 1” long at the bottom and fold them up to make a bottom or you can, like we do, just simply fold them to make them square & fill them straight up in your container. Making them square stops any soil going down the sides. 

Clayton folding the toilet roll inserts to make them square

Save your cartons, we use soya milk cartons as we have the most of those, but juice cartons will work just the same. They need to be something waterproof as you’ll be bottom watering (putting water in the bottom of the tray only, this encourages the roots to grow down for the water) in the container.

How Did We Do It?

Using the toilet roll inserts & cut cartons to make planting space. Making them square makes them easy to fill

These little growing cartons, because we are using toilet roll inserts & bottom watering this means no drip tray & can be located to even the smallest window sills

You’ll be surprised once you start looking, what you can find going into your recycling bin that you could use this season to get your seeds started.

Use whatever you have, our simple Ideas for propagation mini greenhouses

Keep your seeds warm & moist by covering your new seeds. Remove as soon as the plants have germinated to allow air to circulate & get the best light. 

1. Propagation tray lids that fit the trays 

These are the lids that come with the trays, they look & work great but are not necessary to get going. 

2. Cut up bottles, plastic cups, glass tubs/jars

We cut these fizzy water bottles up to use the bottom half to plant in & the top half make perfect mini greenhouses for pots. We’ve been using these for over 4yrs now, always come in handy for many projects. (No need to remove screw lids we just used them for another project)

Plastic cups & glass jars work great too.

3. Bread bags, roll bags, old bits of cling film

Using any packaging that would be thrown out to keep these seeds warm & moist is ideal. We are using bread bags, roll bags & used compostable cling film 

4. Cake boxes, packaging, plastic tubs 

We kept these bags that our heated bedsheets came in they are ideal zipped up & left. Cake boxes or any storage box works perfectly too. We propage right in these storage boxes that stay outside (with drainage holes) & tie another one on top with string as a lid.

Milk Carton Growing On The Window Sill Video Reel

Repurposing Items From Around The Home Video Reel

Mini Greenhouse Ideas For Seeds Video Reel

Use what you have, before you start buying new items. You’ll be surprised what you come up with once you start looking! What do you use?

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Katrina & Clayton and family live in East Ayrshire and share their daily life in the garden on instagram. They practice permaculture principles in the garden, reducing & repurposing waste whenever they can. Katrina shows how home educating in nature has helped Clayton thrive.

Clayton Completed The Grow and Learn Course with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society Last Year. This year he started the Level 2 Nurture Course. Clayton is 15, Autistic, Non Verbal & has been Home Educated for the last 5yrs.

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Published by buildingafoodforestscotland

Building a Food Forest -Scotland Edwardian 1903 Home & Garden in Scotland Planting With Permaculture Design

6 thoughts on “Reuse & Repurpose

  1. Great post! I love the idea of reusing and repurposing items from around the home to start sowing seeds. It’s a great way to reduce waste and save money. Have you experimented with any other types of containers for seed starting?


    1. Thank you for your comment. We pretty much use these juice or soya milk cartons for trays because we have so many of them being a family of 5. We’ve planted in plastic fizzy drink bottles before, just cut the top off but we don’t buy any plastic bottles or cartons anymore. We also have our vertical garden where we’ve collected milk cartons from neighbours to use. You?


  2. Great post! I love the idea of repurposing items for seed sowing. Have you tried using any other household items for creating mini greenhouses besides plastic cups and bread bags?


    1. We use whatever we have in the house at the time, cake storage boxes, Tupperware boxes, anything that would go in the recycling like the bread bags etc.. anything that will keep the heat & moisture in until the seedlings pop up! What have you used?


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