Are you ready to ditch those plastic trays that harm the environment and create your own simple and free DIY seed starters on your homestead? Then check out the creative ways we have started our seeds this year.

It is so important that we all do our part to stop using plastic. That includes those awful plastic seed trays we used to use. Instead, we opted to go with a more environmentally-friendly and safe method this year.

The best part about these DIY seed starters is that you don’t have to disturb the seedlings when it is time to transplant them. Why you ask? Because the items we use can be placed right in the soil and are safe for the environment.

Using these DIY seed starters is another step towards learning the skills to be more self-reliant. And it’s a great way to get your vegetable and herb garden started.

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DIY Ice cream cone seed starters

DIY Seed Starters

The DIY seed starters we chose were items we had on hand or that we could inexpensively create here on the homestead quickly. All of these seed starters cost us nothing at all so that’s a win for us.

These can be placed directly in the ground in your raised bed garden, or in a bigger pot in your indoor garden too. These also work for starting a medicinal garden.

These seed starters are great to start lettuce and small seeds in. I hope you enjoy this post.

Ice Cream Cone Seed Starters

We are avid ice cream eaters on this homestead and always have a good supply of cake cones. I love starting seeds in these.

To use a cake cone as a seed starter, simply place the cone on the counter, fill it with soil, and place your seed and water. If you do a bunch of these, place them on a tray.

Cone with dirt ready for the seed

Note: Use these cake cones only when you can mist spray your seedlings. If you pour water into these, they will become soggy very quickly. Lettuce, beans, and flower seeds do well in these.

Cone and sprout planted in ground

Toilet Paper Tubes

Everyone uses toilet paper, right? Well, instead of throwing away those cardboard tubes when the toilet paper is gone, recycle them into DIY seed starters.


  • Cut the tube in half.
toilet paper tube cut in half
  • On one end cut four slits about 1/3 of the way up on four sides.
Slices in toilet paper tube
  • Now fold in the four tabs to form a base at the cut end.
  • Place on a flat surface.
  • Fill the tube with some dirt and place a small seed on the top.
Toilet paper tube DIY Seed Starter
  • Mist the top.
  • After the seed sprouts, place the tube and all directly in the ground.
Toilet paper tube buried in garden with sprout

Citrus Peels

Most people love oranges and grapefruit. But what do you do with the peels?

Some people make citrus cleaner, orange zest, and more with them, but have you considered using them as DIY seed starters?


  • Cut the peel in half.
  • Scrape out all of the fruit without damaging the peel.
  • Set on a flat surface.
Empty citrus peels
  • Fill the peel with about 2/3 potting soil.
  • Place a seed in and mist water.
Citrus peel with soil used as a DIY Seed Starter
  • When the sprout forms, dig a hole in the ground.
  • Plant the entire thing, peel and all.
grapefruit peel planted

Egg Flats

Another great DIY Seed Starter is an egg flat. These papery egg crates are great for sorting seeds.

You can use the whole flat by simply adding dirt to all the cells. Then just place seeds like lettuce, for example, and mist daily until sprouted.

egg flat diy seed starters

The other option is to cut the cells apart and use each one individually. Just snip the sides with a pair of sharp scissors and voila, an instant DIY seed starter.

Single egg cell planted ready for in the ground

Again place these on the ground.

Make your own Plant Markers to identify your plants once they are in the ground.

Notes on your DIY Seed Starters

If you want, you may place each seed starter inside a plastic baggie to help your seeds sprout. This forms a microclimate of high humidity to allow your seeds to sprout easily. Also, make sure to set your seed starters on a tray.

There are many other ways of starting seeds at home without using plastic. Do you have any other suggestions for DIY Seed Starters not mentioned here? Please share them in the comments below.

You can also read a complete guide to starting seeds indoors at The Spruce.


  1. Egg shells are another way to go with this!

    1. Author

      I agree but I have a terrible time planting in them without breaking them! I guess I am not fragile enough lol.

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