How to Start Seeds Using K-Cups

Despite the fact that this summer will be the first summer I've ever had my own backyard garden (hooray!), I've actually managed to earn myself a decent green thumb. Since 2010, I've been a project coordinator for two separate community gardens and in between those positions, I worked for the USDA. So yeah, I know some stuff.

I feel like I need to include some kind of disclaimer that I know that K-cups are no friend to the environment. However, I won't be kicking my caffeine habit to the curb any time soon and we received our Keurig as a gift a few Christmases ago. So, as long as we have it, I'm going to use it. Regardless, I feel like using these little pods to bring plant babies into the world kind of balances out the horrible, awful impact these plastic cups are having on our environment. No? Alright, moving on...

To start, here are the materials I used:
Used K-cups
Potting soil
Spray bottle
Egg cartons

Step 1: Cut off the lids of your K-cups. 
I used a knife and just cut around the rim of the cup. Fun fact: used coffee grounds actually make great fertilizer (source) so I dumped the excess ground into my bag of potting soil and mixed them in. 

Step 2: Label your K-cups. You'll want to know ahead of time how many of each plant variety you want to grow. (If you're a gardening beginner, one tomato plant will produce several tomatoes, so if you're single or in a small family, you really don't need more than a couple plants. Alternatively, an onion seed will produce one onion). Once you've established that, label your K-cups with a Sharpie so you can keep track of which seeds are planted where.

Step 3: Fill your empty K-cups with potting soil. Just lightly scoop enough soil to fill the container. You want the soil to remain loose.

Step 4: Make a finger-size hole in your soil.

Step 5: Drop your seeds into the hole. The green rule of thumb is that you want to drop two seeds into each hole. This guarantees that at least one will grow and you won't have wasted a container on a dud seed. If both seeds grow, you can eventually just thin out the smaller one.

Step 6: Spray your seeds with a just a couple spritzes of water. Seeds need water to germinate, but you also don't want to drown them. Spray them a few times until the soil sticks to your finger when touched. Once you've watered them, cover up your hole and gently pat it down.

Step 7: Place your K-cups in direct sunlight. For the sake of organization, I have all my K-cups in old egg cartons. Make sure that the window you choose gets a lot of sunshine!

Step 8: Wait 6-8 weeks for those babies to grow! Obviously, the length of germination time is dependent upon which you're growing. You can always refer to the handy reference located on your seed packet to tell you when to plant, how deep to plant, germination time, and when to transplant. 

Stay tuned for my next installment...transplanting!  (Can you tell I'm a wee bit of a gardening nerd?)

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Do you have a garden? What types of plants do you grow?

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