TikTok Seed Starting Hacks You'll Love For Your Garden

From purchasing fully-developed adult plants that you simply have to transfer into soil to shopping around for some still-tiny seedlings that need to be nurtured, there are plenty of different ways to begin growing plants at home. However, the cheapest (though also most difficult) option is starting them from seed. When following this approach, you would buy a dry packet of seeds and germinate them yourself, meaning that you're involved in the process each and every step of the way. Successfully pulling this off is very rewarding and a great way to save some money — as long as you don't spend loads of cash on a fancy setup. Following some simple TikTok hacks involving cheap growing containers and simple planting tricks could help you easily grow your seedlings without blowing your budget.

There are plenty of different approaches to starting plants from seed, and just about all of them require you to keep the seeds damp and warm until they eventually begin to germinate. However, there's also much more involved in growing seedlings, and if you don't take advantage of some of these simple tips, you may face low germination rates. In fact, a rate of 70% successful seeds to 30% unsuccessful is fairly common for many species, per Iowa State University. Thankfully, plenty of TikTokers have taken the time to experiment with different containers and methods, meaning that these hacks have already proven effective for some and could also help you grow as many plants as possible.

Egg carton mini greenhouse

Creating the perfect environment to start seeds can be expensive, especially when working on a large scale. Fortunately, this hack allows you to create your own mini greenhouse out of three simple components: an empty egg carton, some plastic wrap, and a couple rubber bands. After you've cleared out your egg carton, cut a window out of the lid side so you can keep an eye on your sprouts. Add soil to the bumpy side, plant your seeds, spray everything down with water, and close the carton. Finally, cover the hole you created with plastic wrap and secure it with rubber bands to trap in moisture.

Plastic bag germination

When starting seeds, most need an environment that is warm, humid, and sunny. This approach allows you to provide all three of these necessary factors without much fuss. Simply grab two paper towels, a plastic bag, and your seeds. Dampen the paper towels, then sprinkle the seeds on one and sandwich the other paper towel on top. Carefully transfer them into the plastic bag, making sure to fully zip it closed so that they stay damp, and tape the bag to a window that gets a solid amount of sunlight. Occasionally check in to make sure the paper towels don't dry out.

Reuse iced coffee takeout cups

Grabbing a drink from your local coffee shop is one of the best ways to start your day off on the right foot. Unfortunately, repeated trips can add up to lots of plastic waste, especially if you prefer iced drinks. Luckily, these cups can be reused to start seeds. After a good rinse, place plastic wrap in the bottom of the cup, add soil, plant the seeds, water them, and attach the lid. These cups can help trap in moisture and create the perfect mini greenhouse for your seeds, and the clear sides mean you're able to see your progress and let in sunlight.

Dollar Tree germination containers

Here at House Digest, we love a dollar store hack, and this idea is no exception. If you're on the hunt for a cheap container to start your seeds in, consider trying out one of two options found at Dollar Tree: the Sure Fresh Reusable Cupcake Container with Lid or the Sure Fresh Deviled Egg Carrier with Lid. Both of these options are $1.25 when purchased from the store, and they're made of durable clear plastic that will keep moisture from escaping. If you want to make transporting seedlings to the garden easier, you could line them with paper cupcake liners that will decompose when planted.

DIY paper pots

Transferring seedlings into the soil after they've sprouted can be a delicate process, so one of the easiest ways to streamline this step is by starting your seeds in something plantable. This hack allows you to do just that while also repurposing old newspapers that would just gather dust otherwise. Simply grab a straight-sided glass and wrap it in your newspaper. Tuck in the top, pull the glass out through the bottom, and finish off the pot shape with the excess paper at the bottom. Fill the pot with soil and, once your seedlings start to mature, you can plant them right into the ground without worry.

Citrus peel seed starters

Many seed starting ideas involve using some kind of plastic container, but if you're looking for a more natural approach, try using a citrus peel. Simply cut your fruit in half, scoop out the flesh, poke a hole in the bottom, and fill this cup with soil. Plant your seed and ensure you keep everything moist, either by storing it in a greenhouse or covering it with something non-permeable like a glass jar. When it begins to sprout, plant the entire thing in a larger pot. The citrus peel will deteriorate over time and even provide nutrients for the soil as the plant begins to grow.

Solo cup pots

If you're planting something that doesn't need tons of humidity, this solo cup tutorial might be for you. All you'll need are two solo cups, a knife, soil, and seeds. Cut a few small slits in the bottom of one of your solo cups, then stack it inside of the one that hasn't been cut. Fill the top cup with soil, plant your seeds, and completely soak it with water. The extra water will drain into the gap left between the two cups and, when the soil starts to get dry, it will reabsorb the excess. However, monitor your seedlings to ensure they always have enough water.

Add cinnamon to soil mix

Starting seeds is a process that often involves a lot of moisture which, if not properly controlled, can lead to the development of some unpleasant side effects. To help fend off fungus, repel gnats, and give your plants an extra level of protection when they're first getting started, consider sprinkling a bit of cinnamon into your soil. Cinnamon, while more commonly used as a spice or fragrance, actually has some powerful anti-fungal and pest-repellent properties that can seriously help out your seedlings without causing any harm to the plants.

Toilet paper tube seed pots

If you haven't had much luck making your own seed-starting pots out of newspaper or citrus peels, consider going for something less flimsy: toilet paper tubes. Cut one of these tubes in half, then cut some notches around the edge so you're able to fold the material in to create a bottom. Fill these with soil and seeds, then water them. Once you eventually transport them into the garden, these pots will dissolve in the ground. However, they won't deteriorate as quickly as something like newspaper, so they're still easy to handle. Paper towel tubes are also great to use for this purpose.

Toilet paper seed starting

You can easily use your toilet paper tubes to create biodegradable pots for your seedlings, but did you know that you can also use the paper itself to start quick-sprouting seeds and make planting easier? Simply roll out a few squares of toilet paper, space out your seeds in a line in the middle, and fold up the bottom third of the toilet paper to cover them. Spray everything down with some room-temperature water, and to store, roll the toilet paper back up on a cardboard roll. When it's time to plant, simply unroll the toilet paper and bury it directly in your garden.

Supplement growth kits with a plastic bag

If you're just getting started with gardening, especially if it's your first time growing from seed, you're more than likely beginning your journey with a growth kit that includes a pot, soil, and some easy-to-grow seeds. Unfortunately, starting seeds in these pots can actually be a bit difficult thanks to the fact that the soil will quickly dry out if it's not repeatedly watered. To trap in some moisture while your seed gets to work on sprouting, simply water the plant and cover the top of the pot with a plastic bag to help trap in any moisture that would otherwise be lost.

Make a cornstarch mix for easy seed distribution

Planting tiny seeds by hand can get tiring, especially if you frequently have pain or soreness in your hands after completing such a fiddly task. Luckily, there's an alternative method that could help out. Mix up a slurry of cornstarch and water, then heat it up while stirring continuously until you get a gel-like consistency. Let it cool, scoop it into a plastic bag, and add in your seeds. Mix them in until they're evenly distributed, cut the corner off of the bag, and then pipe this gel over your soil to easily plant the seeds evenly.

Repurpose old yogurt cups

Starting your own seeds can help you save money when gardening, but all those savings instantly fly out the window if you feel the need to invest in an involved, expensive setup. There are plenty of things around the house that you can repurpose as pots, and yogurt cups are one of the easiest. Simply poke some holes in the bottom for drainage, place them on something to protect your surface from water like a rubber mat, and plant your seeds. After placing your pots near a window and making sure the soil stays damp, you should notice seedlings popping up in no time.

Bottom water your seeds

When watering your seedlings, the easiest method typically involves spraying or dripping water over them to cover the top of the soil. However, this may not ensure that all the soil gets wet, so it may not be extremely beneficial for your seedlings. Instead, try watering them from the bottom of their container. To do this, ensure your seed containers have holes, then place a tray underneath them and fill the tray with water whenever necessary to keep the soil moist. 

Reuse plastic fruit containers

When you buy produce like cherry tomatoes, strawberries, or grapes from the grocery store, it's likely that they will come packaged in a plastic carton. These cartons are meant to contain and protect more fragile fruits, but they're also great for starting seeds, especially if other containers you're using are trapping too much moisture and leaving your soil waterlogged. Simply clean them out, fill with soil, and plant your seeds. The closed lid will simulate a mini greenhouse, while the small holes will ensure some water is released. For easy transport, you could also line the bottom with coffee filters and plant directly into the ground.