• Free starter pots, courtesy of your recycle bin

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    Making drain holes in yogurt cupsMake your own starter pots from yogurt cups… Here’s how!

    If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a hard time finding inexpensive 3-inch pots for starting small plants or seeds. And if your family is like mine, you probably go through quite a few snack-sized yogurt containers. so -(starter pots) + (yogurt cups) = Problem solved! You’ve just discovered a source of free starter pots! (Well almost free, since you bought the yogurt to begin with. 😉

    Until a few years back, I used to wash those used yogurt cups and send them straight into the recycle bin. Then I realized they were an excellent size for planting seeds or cuttings. (They also make very nice rooting cups or catch pots, so you might consider that too, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of punching drain holes.)

    So without further ado, here is how to make starter pots out of a yogurt cups:

    What you’ll need:
    Some single-serve yogurt containers
    A large metal needle (or metal nail)
    A potholder
    A lit candle
    A well-ventilated area to work
    An old rag (or small paper towel)
    Optional: Acrylic paints and some paint brushes for decorating

    To begin, please be warned that if you choose to follow these instructions, you do so at your own risk. Be sure to work in a well-lit and well-ventilated area and always take proper precautions when working with open flame, sharp objects, and fumes from melting plastics and paint.

    1. Thoroughly wash and dry your yogurt containers and set them out on your work surface, open face down.
    2. Light the candle
    3. Grip the dull end of the needle or nail in your hand while it is protected by the potholder. (The metal will conduct heat.)
    4. Carefully hold the sharp end of the needle or nail in the flame of the candle for a few seconds
    5. Poke the needle through the bottom of the yogurt cup, pulling side to side to make a larger hole. (The needle should go through easily, if it does not, heat the needle for longer.)
    6. Wipe any excess plastic onto the rag or paper towel.
    7. If you prefer more drainage, repeat the process and poke two or more holes.
    8. Repeat the needle heating and hole poking until all yogurt cups have drain holes.
    9. If you wish, get out your paint set and decorate the outside of your new pots! (This is a fun part that kids can do.)

    An alternative to melting holes in your pots is stabbing holes in them with a knife. To me (because I am a weakling and a klutz) this seems more dangerous than heating a needle. In my experience, with the stabbing technique, you actually tend to waste pots because they can crack under pressure. Also, I’ve noticed that drainage slits don’t tend to work as well as drainage holes.

    Whatever approach you decide to take, enjoy your new, free starter pots!

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