Growing seedlings with compostable coffee cups


Occasionally at work I get a craving for some hot chocolate.  When I do, I reach for a company provided compostable coffee cup (I know I should bring in my own cup, but I did say “occasionally”).  When I am done with my delicious beverage, I simply dispose of them in the proper “compostable” reciprocal.  Last week was different, with my recent frustration with the durability of some of my newspaper pots, I got the idea to extend the life of these cups a little longer and grow some seedlings in them.

This particular type of cup breaks down in 47 days, unless you happen to leave one half filled with liquid overnight on your desk, in that case they magically breaks down a few minutes after you walk out the door.  I am planning on growing my tomatoes and peppers in these cups and plant them directly into the soil.  To help with more freedom in root growth I will cut out the bottom of the cup.  I will let you know how it works.

Now if your work does not use these cups, never fear many coffee shops are featuring these same type of cups with the purchase of an overpriced hot beverage.

10 Responses to “Growing seedlings with compostable coffee cups”

  1. Daphne Says:

    I’ve never had trouble with the durability of newspaper pots, though I do treat them very carefully since mine don’t have bottoms.

  2. Robin's Nesting Place Says:

    That is a great idea! Let us know how it works.

  3. Robj98168 Says:

    I am going to experiment with Tully’s compostable cups this year as well as my toilet paper tube starting pots. I am also experimenting with a starter pot made from coffee sleeves and newspaper. I got my tully’s cups at the car dealership where I have my pick up serviced… noticed they had them in the waiting room- so I snagged four out of the garbage.

  4. Red Icculus Says:

    This is a great idea. I plan on using some toilet paper tubes. Hopefully, they don’t break down before they are ready to go in the ground.

  5. Gardeness Says:

    I use any paper cup that doesn’t have a wax coating. I also have luck with paper egg cartons and toilet paper rolls. Sorry to hear some of your newspaper pots failed. I’m going to make up some of those for the first time. Any tips?

  6. KIKI Says:

    I had the same idea when I found a couple of boxes of dirty (brand new dusty Starbucks coffee cups) at my hubby’s job about to be thrown out. I brought them home but I’ve been unsure of it being a good idea or not since I don’t know what kind of chemicals they might contain. They don’t have the recycling symbol on them but I think if I don’t use them it will be okay to throw them in the recycling bin. What do you think? BTW I like your blog redesign, very nice.

  7. flynnguy Says:

    Have you thought about trying soil blocks? They require a special blend of soil (not any potting soil will do but you can mix up your own blend) but they don’t require anything but a tray of some sort to hold them for transport. Eliot Coleman talks about them in his New Organic Gardening book. The 2″ blocker (that makes 4 at a time) can be had for about $35 and seems to be a good size to start with. Then just throw those cups in with your compost at home! I just started this year and no heat mat yet so the seeds are taking a while but it shows promise.

  8. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Daphne, I will admit have been frequently moving mine around and should have put an extra layer of peper on them. Still like the newspaper pots just have to stop organizing the grow box.Robj98168, I need to try the toilet paper pots as well. Trash diving for cups now you are definitely getting serious :)Red Icculus, Pretty sure they will hold up well. My concern would be the narrow shape will definitely have to keep up on watering.Gardeness, As long as you have a few layers of paper around them and you don’t manhandle them like me they should hold up well.KIKI, Well if they don’t break down you can always just keep using them. One bad thing about non-compostable coffee cups is they can be made out of petroleum products and may not break down, well at least during out lifetime.flynnguy, I have checked out the soil blocks and definitely looks like a good option. The initial $35 investment has prevented me from trying but as long as you have something for support when you move them around….except with my recently admitted manhandling of my seedlings may not be the best option for me.

  9. Living A Whole Life Says:

    This is a great idea and I can’t wait to try it!! Karla

  10. Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips | Moseley Architects – Seeds of Green Says:

    […] cups as seedling starters: Guess what we have plenty of in the Richmond office? Compostable cups! Please see Derek L. if […]

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