Living How to Make Your Own Biodegradable Seed Starting Pots: 5 Plans

Published on March 6th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg


How to Make Your Own Biodegradable Seed Starting Pots: 5 Plans


A few years ago, the folks at CowPots sent me some samples of their “pots you plant” – and I loved them (and, yes, that’s an affiliate link). As a relative newb gardener at the time, I was open to anything that made the whole process of transplanting seedlings easier. Of course, I ran out of the samples they sent… so before going out and buying more to start seeds in this year, I started looking around for DIY options for biodegradable pots.

It turns out I’m not the first to think about this (imagine that!), and a number of people have shared their projects for making their own seed starting pots that can go directly in the ground and biodegrade. These may be some of the easiest upcycling projects we’ve ever featured: they don’t have to look good (since you’re going to bury them); they only have to function well. Here are the options I found for do-it-yourself biodegradable seed starting pots.’

1. Toilet Paper Rolls

We’ve all got these (and many of us, regardless of how green we claim to be, also have paper towel rolls). If you’ve also got a pair of scissors, you’re in business: just follow the lead of our old friend Mike Lieberman in this two-minute video:

Next: An idea straight from your childhood

Image credit: Chiot’s Run via photopin cc

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

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  • rhonda winter

    I am inspired by some of these ideas for organic pots — so many different options there are. We have already had great success using egg shells for seedlings:

  • Chris

    This is a great article! I’ve been trying to encourage my readers to start planting/owning plants at home, not only for the environmental benefits but also for the many personal health benefits. Hope to see more articles like this one!

  • Meg

    Hi Jeff! We are so glad that you are a fan of our CowPots. There are many inventive ideas online for creating transferrable seedling pots. The one major element missing? Manure ;) Our CowPots are made from a patented process that retains the enriching elements of manure, without the smell ;) We hope that when you see the difference, you will give us another go.
    Most Sincerely,
    Meg Watt
    PR and Social Media Manager
    The Liquid Fence Company

  • Pamela

    I really like the idea of going fact I grow an organic garden and harvest my own seeds from the years crop. I worked many ways to grow them and find paper towel rolls to be the best. I would NOT use toliet roll paper due to the nature of how they are handled. I have had test done and there is a good amount of fecal matter that is found on toliet paper rolls. So I highly recommend paper towel rolls as a subsititue. I’ve been an organic gardener for 8 years. I also grow lavender.

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