How to Use Coffee Pods as Seed Starters

How to Use Coffee Pods as Seed Starters

Coffee pods are an easy and convenient way to get a consistent and quick cup of coffee whenever you need it. But these single serve plastics have been the focus of a lot of negativity. At Wildcrafter Botanicals, we want you to enjoy your coffee no matter how you take it, but we also think that there are easy ways to reuse these little cups so you can love your coffee and feel good about it too! So we’ve put together our tips for how to use your Wildcrafter coffee pods as seed starters.

Our Pods Start Out Better for the Planet

Even if you don’t grow plants at home, we’re proud of the recyclable pods that we use in our products. Although most K-Cups® are technically recyclable, they’re made with a kind of plastic (#7) that isn’t accepted at the majority of recycling facilities. And these cups are sealed with a foil lid and contain a paper filter, so even if you find a facility that accepts #7 plastic, all the components of the K-Cup® will need to be separated before it can be recycled.

How to Use Coffee Pods as Seed Starters

Knowing all this, we chose to use K-Cups® made with #5 plastic, which is accepted by most recycling facilities and is much easier to recycle. We also made sure that the foil lid on our K-Cups® has a small tab on the side that makes it easier to remove for recycling. And our paper filter is 100% biodegradable and compostable. All of these choices put us in the top 10% of easily recyclable K-Cups® on the market, and we’re proud to say that our K-cups® are SCS Global Certified Recyclable.

This puts us in the top 10% of easily recyclable K-cups® on the market! Our K-cups® are also SCS Global Certified Recyclable. The K-Cup® we chose ensures that your coffee stays fresh and is widely recyclable.

Ready to Use Your Pods as Seed Starters?

Here’s what you’ll need to start planting!

  1. Coffee Pods
  2. A Marker
  3. Potting Soil
  4. A Small Spoon or Digging Tool
  5. Seeds of Your Choice
  6. A Flat Tray
  7. A Watering Can or Spray Bottle
  8. A Plastic Clear Cover

Step 1: Prepare Your Coffee Pods

The first and most important step in this process is to collect several K-Cups®, so drink up! Enjoy many cups of Wildcrafter coffee, dumping the grounds into your compost bin, removing the foil lid using our handy tab, and rinsing the cup each time. Don’t remove the paper filter, though—it will help keep the soil suspended in the cup so it can drain properly.

If you want more than one drainage hole at the bottom of your cups, you can reinsert them into your Keurig machine and lower the handle to punch an additional hole, repeating as desired.

How to Use Coffee Pods as Seed Starters

Step 2: Choose Your Seeds

Tomatoes, peppers, peas and leafy greens are all great plants to start indoors. The timing may be different for all of them though! So make sure when you shop that you leave enough time before your predicted last frost for the plants you choose to get started indoors.

Different seeds also prefer different temperatures. Tomatoes don’t tolerate cold well at all, whereas broccoli does better in cooler (not cold) environments. The temperature of the room you’re starting your seeds in is important as well so do your research for the best results!

Looking to start an herb garden? Try these!

  • Basil germinates quickly, so you may see growth in as little as a few days! It doesn’t like too much water, so let cups get nearly dry between waterings.
  • Chives take about 10 days to germinate. Placing several seeds in one cup will result in a clump of chives that can be easily transplanted to your garden (or a larger pot).
  • Parsley is slow to germinate but still easy to grow. Unlike basil, parsley prefers moist soil.
  • Sage may take up to 21 days to germinate, but this hardy herb is quite useful for flavoring food.

Step 3: Label Your Pods

This step is very important, especially if you’re growing multiple plants. Use your marker to label the outside of the pods with the plant inside. Different plants need different amounts of space and sun when they’re transplanted outside. But lots of plants can look similar in their early growth stages.

Labelling your pods will ensure that you move your plants to the right environment when it’s time to take them outdoors!

Step 4: Add Soil and Seeds

Fill each labelled pod to the top with soil using your spoon or tool and place it in the flat tray. Using a plastic tray will help contain any water spills or moisture better, but a cardboard tray can work as well.

Plant your seeds about 1/8 inch below the soil (or the depth recommended on the package) and cover them with soil. You want to make sure the seeds remain just below the soil, even after watering.

Step 5: Water

Use your watering can or spray bottle to water your seeds. You want to make sure that the soil is moist, but not soaked. If the soil is no longer absorbing the moisture, you may have over-saturated the plants.

If you have a tendency to over-water or are working with extremely sensitive plants, you can always drill another hole in the bottom of your coffee pods before using them as seed starters. This extra hole will provide additional drainage if the soil gets too much water. Just be sure not to drill too big of a hole or your soil will have a hard time staying inside!

How to Use Coffee Pods as Seed Starters

Step 6: Cover

Cover your tray with a clear plastic cover, or plastic wrap. This helps to create a warm and moist environment that encourages your seeds to sprout!

Once you see the sprouts, remove the cover, move them to a sunny spot, and continue to water your plants until they’re ready to move outside.

Step 7: Harden Off and Transplant

Some plants require hardening off. This process helps them acclimate from the indoors to the outdoors. This process takes about 10 days.

Take the plants outside and put them in a shady spot for a few hours, then bring them back inside. After 3-4 days, put the plants to a sunny spot in the morning, move them to a shady spot in the afternoon, and bring them indoors at night.

After 3-4 more days, the plants should be able to be left outside all day and night. After 1-2 more days, they’re ready to be transplanted into the ground.

To remove seedlings from their pods, gently place your index and middle fingers in a V-shape with one on each side of the plant. Carefully turn the cup over, then tap up on its rim (not the bottom). When you lift off the pod, your fingers should be holding the plant and its root ball. Now you’re ready to repot your seedling!

Seedling Safety

If you’re worried about starting seeds in K-Cups® because they’re made of plastic, don’t be. Keurig has stated that all K-Cups® manufactured for use in their machines are made from FDA-approved food safe materials and are certified BPA-free.

How to Use Coffee Pods as Seed Starters

Coffee Pods As Seed Starters

Coffee pods are great to use as seed starters because they allow you to be a more sustainable coffee drinker if you love the convenience of single serve coffee. Vegetables, herbs and more can all be started in these miniature pots and will provide you with a bountiful harvest a few months later!

Now that you know how easy it is to repurpose your coffee pods as seed starters indoors, I hope you’ll join me on this plant-growing adventure. Or perhaps you’ve devised a different but equally and creative plan for upcycling your Wildcrafter K-Cups®. If so, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to use the hashtag #mywildcrafter when sharing your creations. We look forward to seeing what you come up with. Until then, happy crafting!