Friday, March 30, 2012

Seed-Starting (K.I.S.S.)

Stacy Tornio is a writer and author of the new book, PROJECT GARDEN. She created this guest post. For more information on getting kids outside and gardening, look for Stacy’s book on Amazon. Or learn how you can win a copy for yourself here

Starting seeds inside doesn’t have to take a lot of time or energy. Some people have a complex seed-starting system that begins months out. They have everything perfected from soil and light needs to automatic watering. You don’t have to be that complicated, though.

Late spring is a good time for kids to start seeds indoors because once they sprout, you can go ahead and transfer them outside. (Many indoor seedlings fail because they don’t have enough light. They get “leggy” and start reaching for the sunlight. Then they become weak and fall over.)

So now is a fine time to start seeds indoors, especially for kids. You don’t need fancy pots, either. Here are 5 everyday items to consider using to start your seeds. Go ahead and test them out—or come up with your own idea. Even if they don’t work out, it’s still a good learning process.

Oatmeal container. Once it sprouts, move the whole thing outside and grow the plant as a container.

Toilet paper rolls. Cut them in half. Cover one end with paper towel and plant. You can then drop the whole thing directly into the soil.

Yogurt container. It’s plastic, so you can’t put it directly into the ground. But it’s still a good thing to recycle and use for starting seeds.

Old jars. They make great starters, and if they’re clear you might even be able to see some of the root system.

Berry container. An old berry container makes a great place to start seeds, and you can even close the lid to create a bit of a greenhouse effect.


From Daricia: I like Stacy's keep-it-simple attitude about this. It's easy to think you have to wait until you have the right supplies, and then never get them! For many of our common garden plants, it really is as simple as dropping the seeds into some dirt. Remember that first bean you planted in a paper cup when you were a child? Who can you show that miraculous unfolding to? That child could be the world's next passionate gardener!

Read my review of Project Garden here.


  1. I love this post! Great ideas! I’m all about keeping it simple and I also love getting children involved in garden.

  2. Personally I AM a child when it comes to gardening, and especially when growing stuff from seed... It's such a thrill to see something apear out of next-to-nothing and knowing that YOU made it possible.

  3. I do remember the first bean. And the first sweet potato supported in the jar with toothpicks. I love the idea of the toilet paper rolls.

  4. I have lots of t.p. rolls in the seed area of the laundry room (hahaha). Have started lots of seeds, going to be starting some more soon. Like putting the t.p. roll into the ground. Good idea!

  5. Great tips especially for working with my JMG group of 3rd graders! Great post!

  6. Jeg kom bare lige forbi din blog.
    Tak for kigget og dine gode tips.
    Ha` en god dag.