Sow Clever: Upcycled Seed Trays

It’s the perfect time of year to start growing veg from seed (let’s face it the weather isn’t really good enough to be outdoors all day just yet so sneaking indoors to do some seed sowing is a good thing!) But you don’t need expensive seed trays or propagators. Literally have a look around your house and you will find plenty ideas for free seed trays to use and sow clever…

Toilet roll tubes

We all have loads of these. We normally use them for craft projects but they make excellent planters for seeds. Cut them down a bit in size (you could easily make two pots from each tube) and sit them on a tray and fill with compost. Easy peasy.

Egg shells

You can even grow seeds, such as cress, in egg shells. Look at the funny haircuts above!!!

Egg cartons

And nothing need go to waste with an egg. We have used the egg shell and we can use the carton too. Perfect for growing seeds in.

Milk or juice cartons

Any sort of carton can be cut open (ask a grown up to do that bit) and filled with compost. Wonder if I can grow oranges in an orange carton?…

We grew some brilliant broccoli in this juice tray!

We grew some brilliant broccoli in this juice tray!

Paper cups

Get your mummy and daddy to save their coffee cups and recycle those party cups too. Perfect for growing veg.


Newspapers can be folded up to make little cups for growing seeds in. These are brilliant as they decompose in the ground so you don’t have to upset the teeny roots by taking them out of their pot.

Ice cube tray

Another great alternative to a seed tray. Just make sure you don’t pop it back in the freezer!

Bottles & Pots

Old juice bottles or yoghurt or custard pots are other great ways to sow seeds. The bonus of using a juice bottle is that you can make a lid which then keeps the heat in and makes the seeds grow faster!

So there you go, not only do you save money on the veg you are growing you don’t even need to spend any money on pots to grow them in. Veg-tastic!

To learn more about how to grow seeds in any kind of tray then read my blog here.

Happy sowing,

Lulu xx

Sowing The Seeds Of Love

Hi everybody! It’s less than a month ’til the official start of Spring which is super-exciting! Already plants are pushing through the ground, buds are appearing on shrubs and slowly the garden is waking up from its winter sleep. Let’s have a big stretch everyone as it’s time to dust down your seed trays, rummage through your seed boxes and get sowing. If you’ve never sown seeds before, don’t worry, I will talk you through the process, making it super-easy. Plus you don’t have to have any fancy equipment as I have some neat alternatives to share with you. Come on, let’s do it…

Collecting nasturtium seeds for next year is really easy!

Collecting nasturtium seeds for next year is really easy!

Step One – Organise your equipment

If you are a professional like me you will have lovely seed trays to grow your seeds in. But I think it’s cool to grow them in other things which are lying around the house. I will tell you more about them later. But first things first, make sure you give your trays, cells and covers (or whatever you are using) a good old clean. It gets rid of nasty bugs which could affect your seeds. It’s just the same as us washing our hands before we eat, right?

Step 2 – Fill your containers with compost

It’s important to use a good compost which is meant for sowing seeds to give them the best possible start. This sort of compost is lighter and holds water better which means the seeds can grow more easily. Read your packets in case your seeds have special instructions. We used Verve Sowing and Cutting Compost (it has to be the 12L bags) as it’s a Which Best Buy.

Fill your seed trays

Fill your seed trays

Step 3 – Sow Your Seeds

Remember to read your packet and find out when and how your seeds are to be sown. Some like to sit on the top, some like a light covering. We have sown some of ours slightly early but we don’t have a heated propagator so that will be fine. Some of the seeds are teeny-tiny (like a Pontipine!) so you have to be really careful when you are handling them. I like the pumpkin and courgette seeds as they are big (like me!)

Step 4 – Label & Cover

Make sure you label your trays clearly so that you know exactly what is growing there. You could write the names or draw a picture of what it will look like. It’s important to label as whilst I love growing courgettes in the middle of our flower beds some people might not want their broccoli in a hanging basket 😉 Cover your trays to create a humid environment for the seeds to germinate well. Remember to keep the trays well watered and in a sunny spot.

Alternative Trays

If you don’t have seed trays there are lots of alternatives you can use such as plastic bottles, yogurt pots, tin cans, egg cartons, juice cartons, old boots, milk cartons or any old flower pots you have sitting around. To use a bottle, cut the plastic bottle in half long-ways (ask a grown-up to do this) to create a lid which you can easily flip up to water. Remember to put drainage holes in the bottom.

Use a juice bottle as a seed tray

Use a juice bottle as a seed tray


So there you have it! And already, even in just a few days I can see my seeds starting to push through the soil. I have a selection of pretty flowers growing such as nasturtiums, poppies, sweet peas and cosmos as well as loads of different veg from courgettes and pumpkins to tomatoes (OK, technically a fruit) and broccoli. How exciting! Once your seedlings have developed their first true leaves and are large enough to be handled, carefully pot them into their own small pots. Be careful to handle them by the leaves or you may damage the stem.

Give on, give sowing some seeds a try. I promise you it’s waaaay more fun, more tasty, cheaper and better for the environment than relying on supermarket produce.

Hugs & kisses,

Lulu xx