Caffeinated Seedlings

Tips from our readers on starting seedlings, storing garden gloves, growing green beans, and more.

| February/March 2019

 coffee-seed-starter
Lining a small pot with a coffee filter makes transplanting a smooth process. Photo by Luigi Flori.

Caffeinated Seedlings

Instead of shredding my used coffee ground filters and throwing them in with the rest of my kitchen compost, I use them to line the bottoms of smaller starter pots. Coffee filters make for perfect transportable and decomposable seedling starters.

After dumping the coffee grounds into your compost, clean up the filter a bit, flatten it out, and lay it in the sun to dry out. Once the filter is dry, match it with a small seedling pot. Take the center of the filter and align it to the center of the pot along the inner bottom. Use your index finger to push the filter all the way down to the bottom of the pot, keeping it centered as much as possible. Then, flatten the center of the filter to the bottom of the pot, pushing the filter sides up against the inner sides of the pot.

Don’t worry if the filter hangs over the edges of the pot; you can cut away the edge if you’d like, but I leave the extra material and fold it back once the soil is in place. This way, the extra material can help me pull the little plant from the pot when it’s ready to move to the garden.



After the filter is nice and snug in the pot, you can plant your seedlings. Fill the coffee filter partway with your soil mix. Place your seedlings into the soil, and then fill the rest of the pot with more soil.

Now, all you have to do is wait until your seedlings are ready to move outdoors, and then plop them right into the ground, filter and all. One of the best parts about this gardening hack is that the filter will naturally decompose after it’s transplanted into the garden, so once you transplant it, your work will be done!





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