Cheap alternatives to starting seeds in peat pots

If you start your plants from seeds like I do, I am sure you have used a product called a peat pot.  For those of you that aren't familiar with a peat pot, it is basically a pot that is made out of natural materials that can be planted directly in the ground with the plant.

Peat pots are definitely a great idea but they can cost an arm and a leg.  That is why I started looking for alternatives to using them.  During my search, I tried quite a few alternatives but ended up only finding one that compared to using a peat pot.  If you are interested in saving some money, try these cheap alternatives to starting seeds in peat pots.

The first alternative to using peat pots are used plastic bottles like pop bottles or milk jugs.  These obviously don't work as well as peat pots because you cannot plant them directly into the ground but the price is right.  To turn these bad boys into planting containers, simply cut the top off leaving the desired size below.  Once this is done, poke a hole in the bottom of the bottle and you are good to go.

The second alternative I tried instead of using peat pots is an egg carton.  I figured this would be a good one because of the fact that we have left over ones all the time.  Egg cartons work well to initially start plants but then you have to move the plants to something bigger.  Again, make holes in the bottom of the carton to let excess water drain.

The next thing I tried as an alternative to a peat pot was a piece of cardboard that was used to ship something to our house.  I simply drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom of it, filled it with dirt and planted lettuce seeds in it.

This container actually worked out really well except for the fact that the cardboard started to stink a bit after I used it for a couple of weeks.  I started lettuce in mine and then transplanted them to bigger containers but I could have started a few smaller plants and let them grow big enough to transplant.

lettuce plants started in a shipping container

The last alternative to peat pots I tried was a toilet paper roll.  I know... you would think the dirt would fall out of the bottom but as long as you soak the dirt a few times and let the roots develop, the dirt stays right in the roll.

Toilet paper rolls are an excellent substitute for peat pots for growing medium sized to small plants.  I haven't tried them with bigger plants like tomatoes but I don't think they would be big enough to grow a strong plant.... could be wrong though!

The only negative thing that happens is if the roll gets too wet it can start to unravel.  I have had this happen a few times but once it dries you can roll it back to the original form.  As long as you don't move them around that much, they will work until you can get the plant back outside.

Toilet paper rolls are the best match that I have found so far for an alternative to using peat pots.  Using toilet paper rolls is not only basically free but you can plant them along with the plant just like peat pots.  

Basil and lettuce plants started in toilet paper rolls.

A lettuce plant ready to go to the garden.

That concludes the list of alternatives to peat pots I tried that worked.  I am sure there are thousands more out there but I am satisfied by using toilet paper rolls for smaller/medium plants and plastic containers or breaking down and paying for peat pots for the bigger plants.

Feel free to share below if you try any of these or would like to share any new ones that work for you.  I would love to hear from you!

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