Planting seeds in eggshells

Will Spring Ever Arrive?

I can tell that March has arrived. I have that desire to get out into the yard and start working in my gardens…..also known as Spring Fever.

Here in Southeastern Wisconsin the weather is not cooperating. This year we have been hit with one snow storm after another. At this time last year the temperatures were already in the 70’s. Now, we still have well over a foot of snow on the ground as I anxiously await to work in my gardens.

For now all I can do is dream and plan for my garden. While I have waited for the snow to melt, I needed to bring spring inside. Planting seeds indoors is a great way to get a jumpstart on your gardening season. So lets get started shall we?

Benefits For Using Eggshells For Your Garden

Today I’d like to show you how to use eggshells as pots for you future plants. What a great way to recycle what you have to create a healthy plant! And an added bonus…No waste and it won’t cost you anything more to get started.

How great is that…and when the weather is just right you can put the entire seedling into the ground and the eggshell will provide nutrients for the plant. According to my source,

Eggshells benefit your garden by:

  • Fertilizing ~ eggshells fertilize your garden. They are a great source of calcium and other minerals, so they are a great compost for your garden.
  • Pest Control ~ snails, slugs and even deer hate eggshells. This is a great way to protect your garden from unwanted creatures.
  • Create the best tomato plants with the help of eggshells ~ tomatoes plants can get blossom end rot which is a lack of calcium and can destroy your tomato plant. Simply put some crushed eggshells in the bottom of the hole that you dig for your tomato plant and then transplant the tomato plant right into the garden.
  • Food for indoor plants ~ Eggshells can be food for indoor plants. Simply add your clean crushed eggshells to some filtered water and leave in a cool dark place for several days. You now have some homemade plant food for your indoor plants.

Who knew that egg shells had so many uses! Of course we have one more use to talk about, starting seeds in eggshells. Lets dive into this!

So grab yourself some seeds and lets get started. I chose to seed two of my favorite annual flowers….four o’clocks and moss roses. You could also choose to add your favorite cool weather seeds to get a jumpstart on your garden.

Starting seeds in eggshells is a very simple process.

  1. Save your eggshells from breakfast. Rinse them out so they won’t become sticky or smelly.
  2. Add soil to the eggshells. You want to be sure to use seed starting soil. This is a lighter soil that allows the root system to grow freely through the plant, creating a strong and healthy plant.
  3. Add the seeds to the soil and slightly push down just until the seeds are fully covered. Make sure you don’t push them to deep. If they are in the soil to deep, it will take longer for you seedlings to germinate.
  4. Water your seeds. I like to use a spritzer bottle, especially for very small seeds, so that it doesn’t push the seeds to deeply into the soil. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked.
  5. If you really want to give your seeds a jumpstart, use a plastic egg carton and put the lid on. This will act as a mini greenhouse. Once your seeds sprout, remove the lid so that mold does not develop.
  6. Put them in a sunny window and enjoy watching them grow.

It made my heart happy to finally see little sprouts shooting up. The next step is sometimes the hardest…having the patience to wait until the weather is ready to plant outside.

Signs Of Spring & When To Plant Outside

If the weather does not cooperate, and your seedlings are ready to go into the soil, you might have to transplant them into a pot until the weather permits.

Simply add some potting soil (it doesn’t have to be seed starting soil anymore) to a pot, add your eggshell and plant right into the soil, and cover with some more potting soil. Water and continue to grow your plants in a sunny window until the weather permits you to plant outside.

If your weather is ready for planting, then simply put the eggshell plant right into the soil, eggshell and all!

As you can see, I am going to have to follow the first step, because this is what is going on where I live…STILL SNOWING, but at least it is melting right? 🙂

As I was shoveling out from yet another storm, I finally got to see a glimpse of spring outside!

For now, every time I walk into my house I also get to see this grand reminder that new life is ready to spring forward.

All in good time.

Do you start your seeds indoors? What has been your experiences with starting seeds?

How To Start Seeds In Eggshells

Listen up, novice gardeners! Starting your own garden isn’t very hard to do, and it’s especially simple when you try this easy seedling hack. The great thing about eggshells is that they’re compostable, so you can just plant the whole shell once your flowers or herbs have sprouted. Planting seeds in eggshells is a great way to get started, because you can closely monitor the amount of sunshine and water that your delicate plants are receiving (and, you can make sure that they’re not been whipped around by the elements). Starting from seed instead of seedlings purchased from a garden center is much more cost effective, as well. See below for the written how-to.

What You’ll Need:

Seed-starting potting mix
Seeds
Clean, cracked egg shells at least 50% in tact
Egg Carton
Spray bottle
Pot (for transplanting)

First, pick seeds that would be easy to grow in a window sill, such as zinnias or basil. Herbs are great seeds to start with, and a few different types of herbs makes a convenient kitchen windowsill garden for when you need to grab a few fresh sprigs for dinner.

Rinse out the egg shells, and pat dry. (Don’t throw away the eggs, though – we’ve got plenty of cake recipes for those!) Line shells up in the egg carton. 
Using a spoon, carefully fill each shell with pre-moistened potting soil. 
Sprinkle a few seeds in each shell, and lightly rake the soil over the seeds with your fingertips. Gently mist the soil with a spray bottle of water
. If you didn’t add drainage holes to your shells, be careful not to overwater. Overwatering can cause rotten roots. Mist the potting soil with water when dry to the touch.

Once your seeds begin to develop leaves, plant the entire eggshell into a pot. The eggshell will disintegrate as compost in the soil, providing your plants with nutrients. Place the pot in a sunny windowsill, and spritz with water when dry.

Hide Transcript

Ready to jumpstart your garden with the beginning of spring? Planting seeds in eggshells is an eco-friendly way to grow your garden. When the seedlings are big enough, you can plant the shells directly into the soil!

Materials

  • Empty eggshells, rinsed and dried
  • Recycled egg carton
  • Seed-starting mix
  • Seeds (small seeds such as herbs and flowers work best)
  • Ice pick, awl or sewing needle – anything that can poke a hole in a shell without cracking it

Directions

Break the eggs open and clear out the contents; gently wash and dry the shells. To ensure all traces of egg are gone, you can boil the shells in water for a few minutes.

Pierce the bottom of your clean eggshells with a sewing needle to create a draining hole for excess water.

Next, arrange your eggshells in the carton and then use a spoon to fill each shell with pre-moistened seed-starting soil.

Place a few seeds in each shell according to directions and depth. We used basil because it’s great to cook with. After your seeds are planted, find a sunny window and place your eggshell garden there to start the growth process.

Lightly mist the soil with a spray bottle as often as needed, but be careful not to overwater! Depending on the type of seeds you use, you should begin to see growth in your seedlings in approximately 10 to 14 days.

Once your seedlings grow to about 2 inches, move the entire carton into an outdoor garden spot. When they are large enough to transfer, plant the seedlings directly into the ground or a pot – in this case, our colorful floral watering can – after gently cracking the eggshell around them. The shell will continue to provide nourishment for the plant and soil and will eventually biodegrade.

Not only is using eggshells a great idea to keep more things out of the garbage can, but it’s the perfect example of finding new uses for old things–for more of these kinds of projects that help save the environment, you can see our list of upcycling ideas for inspiration!

We want to hear your comments! Have you tried a project like this before or did you try this one? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comment section or share with us on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Happy gardening!

Growing your own plants from seed is supposed to save you money, but after buying all the seeds, soil, pots, lights and heating pads you begin to wonder if it’s all worth it. Are you really saving anything? If you really want to save some dough, look to “old school” methods of gardening, the ones that taught us to mend or make do. Way back when, before the days of peat pots and trays, folks used eggshells for sprouting seeds.

Benefits of Starting Seeds in Eggshells

Starting your seeds in eggshells has a number of merits:

  • They’re practically free. They are the disposable part of the egg, the part you don’t eat.
  • By using them, you’re recycling — finding another use for something that is typically discarded.
  • They add nutrients to the soil because they are transplanted into the ground right along with the seedling. Eggshells are especially high in calcium.
  • They make the transplanting process easier because the entire shell goes into the ground, avoiding transfer shock on the plant.
  • Once in the ground, they deter certain pests and insects, including grubs that dislike their coarse feel and won’t go near a plant that has them around it.
  • Eggshells are fun to use, and so easy that even a child can do it. In fact, this makes a great project for the entire family and is one used by many grade-school teachers.

How to Use Eggshells as Seed Starting Pots

Gather the following items:
Eggshells
Egg cartons
Ice pick (or sharp pointed knife)
Seed starting mix
Seeds
Spray bottle

  1. Collect eggshells for several weeks. As you use them, try to break off the very tip of the egg only, so you’re keeping more than half of it intact. Rinse the shells thoroughly and store in a sealed plastic tub to keep odors at bay until you are ready to use the shells. (If you find store-bought eggshells too brittle, try buying fresh eggs from a local farmer.)
  2. When you are ready to plant, take your ice pick (of knife) and make a tiny hole in the bottom of each shell for drainage.
  3. Set the eggshells inside the egg cartons and fill them with your seed-starting mix using a spoon.
  4. Plant several seeds in each shell, following the guidelines on the back of the seed packet.
  5. Moisten the soil thoroughly with water using the spray bottle. Set the cartons in a location that gets plenty of light and steady temperatures of between 65 and 75 degrees.
  6. Keep the soil from drying out and turn the carton occasionally to promote even growth.
  7. When the seedlings are ready to transplant outdoors, cut the egg cartons into individual sections. Tap the eggshell gently on a hard surface to break it and give the roots breathing room and a chance to grow. Place both carton section and eggshell directly into the ground. Both the shell and the cardboard will eventually biodegrade into the soil.

Want to learn more about using eggshells to sprout seeds?

Check out these websites:
Crushed Eggshells in the Soil from Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Plant Projects with Kids from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Service

Starting Seeds in Eggshells… Cute and Yes, Even Practical

You can start seeds in almost anything these days… peat pots, seed trays, toilet paper rolls, newspaper rolls, paper towels, or even that good old-fashioned thing called the ground.

But have you tried starting seeds in eggshells? It almost seems like an urban myth, with rumors that it’s possible, but little proof of people who have actually done it successfully.

Well, I can say with absolute certainty that it works, it’s ridiculously easy, and yes, it’s even practical.

While you can’t start a whole season of vegetable seedlings in eggshells, it’s handy if you just want to start a few herbs or flowers indoors, and have limited space in your house. An egg carton fits perfectly on a small windowsill, and by the time you’re ready to transplant the seedlings, everything goes back into the cycle by way of planting, composting, or recycling.

What You’ll Need:

  • Empty eggshell halves, rinsed
  • Recycled egg carton
  • Seed starting mix, pre-moistened
  • Seeds (small seeds such as herbs and flowers work best)

Start with clean eggshells. It’s perfectly okay to use unevenly cracked shells, as long as you have at least half the shell intact.

Arrange your eggshells in an egg carton. Using a spoon, fill each eggshell pot with pre-moistened seed starting mix.

Place a couple of seeds in each “pot” according to your seed-sowing instructions. Leave the egg carton in a sunny south-facing window in the warmest room in your house.

Lightly mist the soil with a spray bottle every couple of days as needed. Since there are no drainage holes, take care not to overwater. A fine mist is all that’s needed for seed germination and new growth.

Once your seedlings have emerged, snip the weakest or smallest ones to allow the largest seedling room to grow.

After your seedling has developed its first set of true leaves (these are actually the second set of leaves to appear, after the cotyledons), you can transplant it into a larger pot or directly in your garden after a period of hardening them off.

Gently crush the shell and remove a few shards around the bottom. You can plant the whole thing this way, and the eggshell will decompose in the soil, feeding extra nutrients to your seedling.

Tear apart the egg carton and toss it into your compost pile, or add it to your recycling bin. Then… start your next batch of seeds with your next empty egg carton!

This post updated from an article that originally appeared on August 3, 2011.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Now is the time when many of us are thinking about our spring gardens. No matter if you want to plant flowers or grow your own food, you need to know how to get started. And the best part is, it’s easy — and it all starts a few seeds, some basics, and a little TLC.

What You Will Need To Start Seeds Indoors:

Seeds — Purchasing fresh seeds will give better results than using older seeds, so pull out the seed catalogs or go online and select the plants you would like to grow this year. An advantage of starting plants from seed is that you will have access to many more choices, including harder-to-find plant varieties and organic seeds. It is also economical. If you are new to starting seeds, you may want to try these easy to grow choices: zinnias, morning glories, sunflowers, nasturtiums, parsley, basil, tomatoes, and squash.

Containers — There are many types of containers suitable for starting seeds, such as trays, flats, egg cartons, cans, eggshells, and plastic containers, but it is important they are well cleaned and have good drainage. If you decide to use a fiber or peat pot, be sure to wet it thoroughly before adding soil so the pot does not draw moisture away from the growing medium.

Soil — It is best to use a commercial seed-starting mix since it is lightweight, sterile, and free of weed seeds. It will provide the loose, fine-textured, well-drained medium necessary for delicate seedling roots to grow. Potting or garden soil is not recommended due to the heavier weight and the potential for weed seeds, insects, and pathogens.

Sunlight — Seedlings normally need plenty of bright indirect sunlight — approximately 12 to 16 hours per day. A south facing window is most preferable, but if this is not possible, you may use artificial light as a supplement or substitute — either grow lights or fluorescent shop lights.

How to Start Seeds:

  • Always read individual seed packets for specific instructions on how to start seeds. Seeds should typically be started about four to six weeks before you plan to transplant outdoors, making sure the transplant date will be after the last frost. Consult the Farmers’ Almanac Frost Table to estimate the last frost for your region.
  • Fill containers to within 1/4 inch of the top with seed-starting mixture, and level the surface. Water the soil well, and then allow to completely drain.
  • Using your finger or a pencil, make an indention in the soil for the seed. The hole should be four times as deep as the seed is wide. Cover the seed with soil.
  • Temperature and humidity are the two most important factors for seed germination. Keeping the air temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Use a spray mister to water the seeds and new seedlings, or water from below by setting containers on a drip pan filled with water and allow the moisture to soak up through the bottom. Keep soil moist, but not overly wet since seeds will rot if they receive too much water. Cover containers with plastic to hold in humidity (ventilating daily) until the seeds germinate, then remove the covering.

  • Consult seed packets to determine light requirements for germination. Some seeds need total darkness in order to germinate, but most require plenty of light. Once germinated, all seedlings will need healthy doses of light each day. If using a windowsill as a light source, rotate containers periodically to promote even growth.

Get Ready To Transplant!

  • Once one or two sets of real leaves develop (the first set of leaves is actually a set of food storage cells called cotyledons), you can transplant each seedling into its own pot. At this point, it is okay to use an all-purpose potting soil. Water the seedling thoroughly an hour or two before transplanting to the new container. Also at this time, you may begin adding a diluted organic liquid fertilizer once a week.
  • Around ten days before transplanting the seedlings outdoors, begin the process of hardening off to help the tender plants adjust to the upcoming change in environment. When daytime temperatures are at least 45 degrees, place the plants outside in a sheltered area for a few hours, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside each day.
  • Once all danger of frost has passed, transplant the seedlings outdoors. A cloudy day is best for transplanting to avoid wilting of the plants. Water the outdoor soil thoroughly before planting the seedlings to help prevent transplant shock. Dig a hole double the size of the plant’s root ball. Set the seedling inside the hole and fill so that the root ball is covered by 1/4 inch of soil. Water deeply each day for the first week.

When you’re ready to transplant, be sure to consult the Farmers’ Almanac’s Best Days Gardening calendar for the proper Moon phase for this task. Remember, this calendar goes by phases of the Moon, not weather. So you want to be sure conditions are “weather permitting.”

To get a jump-start on the growing season I like to start some of my seeds indoors. This is a particularly important task for gardeners with short summers or if you want to try a few unusual flowers and vegetables. You can also save a buck or two by growing plants from seed.

You don’t have to have all the latest gizmos and gadgets to start your seeds; in fact I like to use little pots made from eggshells. They are easy to make, inexpensive and you can plant the seedling along with its eggshell container in the garden.

Materials:

  • eggshells, gently washed and dried
  • egg carton
  • ice pick
  • sterile potting soil
  • seeds
  • spray bottle

Directions:

The first thing to do is read the back of the seed package for sowing guidelines. This will tell you everything you need to know about the when and how of sowing a particular variety.

I start saving eggshells a few weeks before I plan to sow the seeds. After I break the egg open and clear out the contents, I gently wash and dry it. Take the clean eggshells and pierce the bottoms with an ice pick. This will be your drainage hole. Eggshells are surprisingly strong, so you don’t have to be as careful as you might think. Next, set the prepared eggshell in an egg carton. I like to cut the top off of the egg carton to keep it out of the way. Plastic, Styrofoam or cardboard egg cartons will work as the holder.

Fill each eggshell with soil.

Now you are ready to sow the seeds. Drop in 2 to 3 seeds and cover with soil according to the instructions on the back of the package.

Moisten the soil with a mist of water and place the egg carton in a location that receives bright light, temperatures between 65 – 70 degrees, and good air circulation.

Keep the soil moist and turn the carton occasionally to promote even growth. As they grow you may need to thin the seedlings to prevent overcrowding.

At the proper planting time plant the young seedling and its eggshell container directly in the garden.

If eggshells are not available you can also use a cardboard egg carton. Poke a hole in the bottom of each eggcup for drainage, fill with soil and sow the seeds as directed for the shells. When it is time to plant, cut the eggcups into individual sections and plant them, along with the seedlings, directly in the garden. As the seedlings grow the cardboard, like the egg shells, will biodegrade into the soil.

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