Make a Mini Greenhouse with Recycled Items

Learn how to make a mini greenhouse out of a recyclable plastic container so that you can start seeds and small plants indoors!

By Shelley Wigglesworth

Mar 23 2021


How to Make a Mini Greenhouse with Recycled Items

Photo Credit : Dreamstime

We all have a few small, clear plastic cartons with lids hanging around — you know the ones — those clamshell containers that are designed to hold salads and take-out meals. Some are meant to be disposable, while others are intended for reuse, and what better way to reuse these handy little containers than to make a mini greenhouse for starting seeds indoors? A tried-and-true, simple, Yankee ingenuity project for the frugal and environmentally-conscious gardener in all of us, this project is quick, easy, and best of all — it’s practically free!

Materials to Make a Mini Greenhouse

  • A clear plastic container with a cover
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Optional: individual or sectioned seedling cups, such as egg carton bottoms.

How to Make a Mini Greenhouse

  1. Wash and dry the plastic container.
  2. If you are using seedling cups inside your mini-greenhouse, fill them ¾ way with clean potting soil. If you are only using the larger plastic container, fill that ¾ full with clean potting soil.
  3. Plant the seeds according to directions on the packet and water just enough to moisten. A spray bottle for misting works well. Close the lid.
  4. Depending on the weather, the mini greenhouse can be used inside or outside. Once the weather has turned mild, place the mini greenhouse outside during the day, in an area that receives bright sunlight. If using the mini greenhouse inside, place it in an area that receives an abundance of natural light. Be sure to check and see if the soil is drying out when the greenhouse is in full sun. If the soil does dry out, add only enough water to keep the soil moist. Bring your mini-greenhouse in at night and place it out in the sun during the day.

In no time at all, your seedlings will emerge, giving you a head start on your spring planting. When the seedlings become too tall for the lidded space, simply prop the lid open with a Popsicle stick or other device or remove it entirely. As long as the temperature is above freezing, there is no need to keep the greenhouse under a lid, but do remember to bring it inside at night.

When the seedlings begin to outgrow their horizontal space, re-pot in a container until the danger of a frost has passed. After the frost danger is over, plant in the ground and enjoy.

This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.


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