10 Biodegradable pots that are great for starting cannabis seeds

Published May 16, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Akchamczuk

At first, it might seem like plant plots will be the last of your worries in the germination phase of things, but once you try a few different kinds of containers, you will quickly see that there are benefits and drawbacks to all of them. However, if you do opt for plant pots that are biodegradable to germinate your cannabis seeds, you will always be doing something good for both yourself and the environment.

Plant pots of all shapes and sizes are typically made using plastics that are harsh on the environment, and though many of them claim to be reusable, we all know that after a few times of transplanting seedlings, all of those thin materials get bent out of shape and broken, and eventually tossed to the side after being replaced. This is terrible for landfills where they end up taking decades to break down, and it’s also hazardous to the plants that you start in them.

When plastic or plant pots that are made out of similar materials are used, they tend to come attached, squashed together, and in smaller groups, which is great if you want to save space, but it makes the process a challenge when it comes time to transplant your cannabis seedlings to more suitable accommodations, because by the time they’re ready they are root bound, holding them tightly into the tiny cups that are all closely attached.

At this point, you are left with no other choice but to squeeze the bottom of each cup in hopes of loosening the soil and roots within, just enough to slide them out without causing too much damage, but unfortunately, this disruption to the plant's growth will be evident for several days afterward. Any major movement to the root system of a cannabis plant will stunt its growth because it tears valuable microscopic roots that help the plant to absorb nutrients and water.

So, as you can see, plastic is problematic in several different ways, but biodegradable plant pots go around both of the biggest issues with them. They break down quickly after being exposed to natural elements leaving behind little to no trace of toxins or waste, and because of that, they can be planted directly into the soil along with your cannabis seedling, so that you don’t have to take a risk and cause unnecessary damage to the root system.

Warning

Biodegradable plant pots are an amazing choice for starting cannabis seeds, but they do come with one drawback, and it is that the majority of them require some sort of holding container to keep water from leaking everywhere. This means that you will likely need a tray, but even if it’s made of plastic, it should be relatively easy to re-use year after year especially if you invest in something thick and durable.

1. Eggshells

We toss away eggshells every single day without thought, but with a bit of finesse, this regular every trash can be turned into plant pots that are the perfect size for starting cannabis seeds. All you need to do is use a spoon to crack open the top of an egg so that there is only an opening at the top. Then take a small sharp object and poke holes for water drainage, before filling it with dirt and then planting a cannabis seed inside.

2. Cardboard rolls

Toilet paper or paper towel rolls will work for these DIY plant pots. They can be made short or tall, and once they are trimmed down to size with a sharp pair of scissors, all that is needed is adding the soil, water, and cannabis seeds. In no time, you'll have a whole bunch of seedlings that are ready to stick in the ground as is, in perfect little tubes that will break down after a month or so of exposure to water.

3. Empty food boxes

Though it’s always best to avoid containers that are covered in ink that rises away, as it could be potentially toxic to your freshly sprouted seedlings, almost any kind of old cardboard food containers can be turned into biodegradable plant pots with a quick rinse. Just ensure that you remember to poke holes so that water can drain out, otherwise, you’ll risk root rot.

4. Potato

Potatoes are a staple in most households, and they are relatively cheap to buy, but the best thing about them is that they’re not only biodegradable. They're also good to put back into the environment because they add nutrients to the surrounding soil as they break down. To make one, you’ll need a knife to carve out the inner bits leaving behind only a small layer of potato and skin. Just enough to maintain stability and make room for a sprouting seedling. Make a couple of holes in the bottom, fill it with soil, and then you’ll have a ready to go starter pod that can be planted whole for your cannabis seeds.

5. Starter plugs

Starter plugs can be made out of all kinds of natural materials like moss, or wood bark, which are ingredients that are perfect for starting cannabis seeds. They’re generally moldable like play-doh, and all you have to do to use them is add a bit of water and then press your seed inside. In no time, you’ll have a healthy little sprout in a completely biodegradable material that will protect the developing roots and break down quickly.

6. Paper towel

Paper towel is an excellent material for starting cannabis seeds, and you might be surprised to learn how versatile it is because it can be placed on or in virtually anything, and since it doesn’t take much to get them growing, one roll could easily make hundreds of seed starters. You can make a sheet and lay it in a tray, or put some in other plant pots that you have around, and as long as you don’t plant your cannabis seeds too deep, you’ll have seedlings ready to go and safely wrapped in no time.

7. Rockwool

Rockwool makes excellent biodegradable plant pots because they can be bought by the sheet, in cubes, or by the block, and then cut down to size, and it is perfectly safe to plant right into the ground with your cannabis plant tucked away safely inside. Some of the most professional cannabis growers use Rockwool in this manner because it’s safe, effective, and it does no harm to the surrounding environment.

8. Newspaper pods

You don’t have to spend money on fancy biodegradable materials for plant pots if you’ve got some newspaper lying around, as long as it doesn’t have color ink, which can be toxic to sprouting cannabis seeds. Take out one large sheet from a full-sized newspaper, and fold it lengthwise into half, and then once more down then middle again lengthways. This will give you a long strong layered sheet that can be rolled into tubes by tucking the edges into one another and folding in the bottom to hold soil. They will hold up long enough to produce seedlings and break down immediately once they’re planted in the soil.

9. Egg carton

Just like the eggshells that we throw in the trash, the cartons we hardly give a second thought to, aside from taking the extra step and putting them into the recycling, are fantastic things useful for so many DIY projects, including starting your own cannabis seeds. They don’t even need holes to drain, because any excess water will slowly seep out of the paper sides. Just fill the cups with dirt, plants your cannabis seeds, and in a couple of weeks, they’ll be ready to cut apart and plant as is.

10. Peat pellets

Peat pellets are one of the most popular biodegradable temporary pot plants for starting cannabis seeds, because they’re relatively cheap, easy to find, and require little work to use. All you have to do is to soak them in water until the peat absorbs enough to rise to the occasion, and then plant your seeds and wait for the magic to happen. The only issue with peat pellets is that they do tend to produce mold if they’re watered too much, so if you use them, make sure to keep everything surrounding the pods as dry as possible.

A Guide to Using Super Soil to Grow Super Weed

Author

Related posts