Introduction: Mini Seedling Greenhouse

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Make an easy mini greenhouse from trash to raise seedlings.

Step 1: Find a Container

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A clear plastic berry box with a hinged lid will become the greenhouse.

Step 2: Save Toilet Paper Cores.

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Gather up three toilet paper cores.

Step 3: Flatten Edges

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Flatten in half, open, then flatten the other other way so that four edges are creased.

Step 4: Cut in Half

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Step 5: Cut Slots

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Cut along each of the four flattened edges about a quarter of the way up the tube.

Step 6: Fold in Each Segment

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Fold and unfold each segment, making good creases. This will make it easier to fold up the bottom

Step 7: Close Up Bottom

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Fold in each flap, one over the other, as you would to close a cardboard carton.

Step 8: Store Pots in the Greenhouse

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The pots can be stored in the greenhouse until ready to be filled with soil.

Step 9: Fill With Soil

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Fill each pot with soil or potting mix. It is a good idea to do this over a sheet of paper, cardboard or plastic to catch the excess soil.

Step 10: Tamp Soil Down

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Step 11: Plant Seeds

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Plant a seed or two into each pot then place them in the greenhouse. Water each pot.

Step 12: Close Top

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Close the top to keep the soil warm. Place the greenhouse in another plastic container without holes to catch the water and keep moist. Because the pots are so small they tend to dry out quickly.

Step 13: Transplant When Ready

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The lid can be propped open on warm days.
After the seedlings are big enough, transplant, pot and all. The roots will grow straight through the cardboard which will break down quickly in the soil.


jlyvers743 (author)2013-04-05

What a wonderful idea and very well explained, thank you!

ClareBS (author)jlyvers7432013-04-05

Thanks, it's my most popular instructable!

chalespinosa (author)2012-05-09

Incredible simple, but excellent idea. Will plant my pomegranate seed, Thank you.

ClareBS (author)chalespinosa2012-05-10

Thanks for your comment and good luck with your pomegranate seed.

jessyratfink (author)2012-05-09

This is awesome! great idea. :D

Vicki in Ohio (author)2012-04-01

I gather old refrigerator trays and veg. bins from appliance stores before they throw them away or junk them . I start alot of seeds this way. hope this helps someone.

ClareBS (author)Vicki in Ohio2012-04-01

Good idea, I like re-using things too. Free is best.

Hildegardista (author)2012-02-10

Good idea! When planting the seedlings you have to make sure all of the cardboard is buried. Otherwise it will evaporate the water around it,thus damaging the roots.

ClareBS (author)Hildegardista2012-04-01

I add a collar of cardboard around all seedlings when I plant them, otherwise the cutworms chew them off at the stem overnight.

hyazzie (author)2011-10-20

annnnnd done! this was suuper easy and fun thanks:)

mlayton howell (author)2011-10-18

My tip for an easy way to make holes in your plastic containers.If you have a metal skewer for kabobs heat the tip for a few seconds and poke away. If it cools down reheat. Just be careful and remember one end is HOT.

ClareBS (author)mlayton howell2011-10-18

That's a good idea. I have a pyrography tool for wood burning, I might even try that with a spare tip.

bajablue (author)2011-09-16

I love the entire concept of this Ible!

5 Stars!!!

ClareBS (author)bajablue2011-09-16

Thanks. Lately I've made it even more simple. I simply tamp seed raising or potting mix into a toilet roll tube not even closing the bottom. If the mix is tamped in it stays there. Sometimes I leave the roll whole, sometimes I cut them in half. The part of the roll that stays above ground when planted in the garden even deters cutworms which kill a lot of seedlings in my garden.

jwoo2023 (author)2011-04-27

can't you tape the holes up?

ClareBS (author)jwoo20232011-04-27

You could tape up the holes but then water might settle in the greenhouse and waterlog the seedlings. Better to let them drain.

velacreations (author)2011-04-10

Why don't you try it without the container? Soil Blocks are easy and work really well:

ClareBS (author)velacreations2011-04-10

Great instructable for professional-looking seed raising blocks. I might even try it!

bhenson (author)2010-04-25

The little pots made from TP tubes is a great idea.  I have a large family and we generate alot of these!

I made "mini greenhouses" for some of my seedlings this year using plastic shoeboxes I had around.  I drilled a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage on one shoebox, filled it with soil and planted my seeds.  The other shoebox went on top--upside down.  I held them together with a binder clip at each end.  They looked alot like something you would pay actual money for in those gardening catalogs.  I planted directly in these for salad fixin's in March, when it was too early yet to plant outside, but they would do well for the little TP tube pots, too. 

ClareBS (author)bhenson2011-03-28

Using plastic shoeboxes is a cool idea. Anything free to help the garden grow and keep us out of the supermarket is a great idea.

veggiedude (author)2011-03-27

Awesome idea!! I had a buddy at work tell me about your idea using tp tubes. I had to see it!! I have been saving the tubes for awhile now. Thanks for giving me something to use them for. YOU ROCK!!!

ClareBS (author)veggiedude2011-03-28

I've come up with an improvement which helps the seedlings grow after they are transplanted.
Use the full length of the tp tube. crumple up a small bit of newspaper to stuff in the bottom third or so then fill with seed raising mix. When the seedlings are big enough to transplant just pull out the newspaper and tear off the empty bit of tp tube. The roots will hold the soil in place long enough to plant and the roots won't have to push through anything. The collar at the top of the tube also helps keep cutworms off the seedlings until they can fend for themselves.
Happy gardening!

fixitbear (author)2010-04-10

Thanks for your note.

When I try to make holes in a container like this I usually end up with a useless wadded up piece of plastic.

fixitbear (author)2010-04-10

How and with what tool/s did you use to get the perfectly round holes in the plastic without breaking it?

This is a great idea by the way.

ClareBS (author)fixitbear2010-04-10

The plastic container, which had strawberries in it, came that way. I don't know of an easy way to make holes in a plastic container. When I make holes in yoghurt containers I use the point of a pair of kitchen scissors over a block of wood to keep the holes fairly small.

neddup98 (author)2010-04-06

Great! So far my never-throw-anything-away-policy had only one use for toilet roll cores  - keeping appliance cords tidy  - and used yogurt cups for seedlings. These dinky little pots are perfect for germinating single seeds. Wet the bottom to encourage them to sit square before filling with soil.

Our town is running an Earth Day soon. I'll have a sample with me to show our local horticultural society.

ClareBS (author)neddup982010-04-06

Thanks, I look forward to "seeing" the seedling pots at your Earth Day event.

neddup98 (author)ClareBS2010-04-08

Yea! I've already got 12 little pots germinating seeds - parsley, cilantro, lavender - for planting this spring and there is another strawberry basket in the fridge just waiting to be emptied. These particular containers hold a 3x4 array very nicely.

You can use paper towel cores as well but they are a little more substantial. I like how the toilet role cores soften up when the are wetted. They will allow the roots to grow  through them  easily.

We are in eastern Canada. March has been unbelievable. No snow for the first time in recorder history and +30C only a couple of days ago but pissing with rain today. It's gonna be an early season. I have great hopes that your little pots will come through for me.

Best regards


RICKBUD (author)2010-03-12


handprints (author)2010-01-06

So very very cool!!!  I love it and will make it very very soon!!!

rodriguezalba (author)2009-08-06

what a smart idea. Thanks I am going to do this, i hate throwing away the plastic berry containers.

About This Instructable




Bio: Retired teacher from long ago and semi-retired graphic designer who loves the outdoors. American expat living in New Zealand for over 20 years.
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