In this step by step guide, learn the benefits of starting seeds in eggshells. Planting in eggshells is an environmentally-friendly way to start growing seeds for your garden.
Not all vegetables need to be started from seeds. However, there are vegetables that are considered slow growing that do best to be started from seeds. Of those vegetables, tomatoes and peppers, are the ones that I plant in eggshells and then later transplant to the garden.
Growing Seeds in Eggshells
I am so excited that spring is finally trying to make an appearance. Our peach tree is in full bloom and the weather is finally starting to warm up. According to the Almanac, our last spring frost date is April 25. So, now is the time to get seeds started for our cedar raised vegetable garden beds.
All of the seeds that I plant are heirloom. I order from Bakers Creek out of Mansfield, Missouri. I have always had great success with the vegetable and flower seeds that I have ordered. They also have the most beautiful catalog that you can order for free.
Benefits of Starting Seeds in Eggshells
Planting in eggshells has many benefits. This is an environmentally friendly way to start seeds and it is very cost effective.
First, eggshells naturally decompose once they are transplanted into the garden. This is great way to compost and provide the plants with essential nutrients.
Second, eggshells are made up mostly of calcium carbonate. This is an essential nutrient for growing plants. As the eggshell breaks down in the soil, it enriches it with calcium and nitrogen.
What You Need for Starting Seeds in Eggshells
- Egg Cartons – just the bottom portion that holds the eggs
- Potting Soil
- Small Scoop
- Plant Mister
- Seedling Heat Mat
How to Plant Seeds in Eggshells
Now that you have all your supplies gathered, it is time to start planting.
Step 1: Save the Eggshells and Cartons
Crack the eggs. Then, use them in your favorite recipes or have them scrambled for breakfast. Either way, reserve the eggshell.
Step 2: Rinse the Eggshells
Rinse the eggshells to remove all traces of the egg. If you are concerned about salmonella on the eggshell, put the empty shells in a pot of boiling water for several minutes. Once the eggshells have been rinsed, gently place them in the egg carton to dry.
Step 3: Fill Eggshells with Potting Soil
With a small scoop, gently scoop the potting soil into the eggshell. I like to use an organic seed starting mix because I try to keep everything in the garden organic.
Step 4: Plant the Seeds and Label the Eggshell
After adding the soil, make a small hole for the seed. Then, drop the seed into the hole. Gently sprinkle a bit of potting soil over the top of the seed to cover it. Then, gently spritz the seeds with a couple sprays from the water bottle. To remember which seed is planted in the eggshell, use a marker to write the name of the plant on the eggshell. Another option, use a clothes pin to label the egg carton if all the seeds are the same.
I plant one seed per shell, but I have seen some people plant two seeds per shell. This helps to ensure that at least one seeds grows. If you choose to do this, once the plants grow, you will need to snip out the smaller of the two seeds.
Step 5: Choose Sunny Location for Growing Seedlings
The best place for starting seeds inside the home is a warm sunny spot. The seeds need warmth and light to germinate. In our home, it is a south facing window in our living room.
If you do not have a sunny warm window, there is the option to purchase grow lights to grow seedlings under. If you don’t have enough heat for the seedlings to grow, place the eggshell cartons on top of a seed starting heat mat. This will give the seedlings the heat they need to grow.
Caring for the Seedlings
Step 1: Water the Seedlings
It is important to keep the potting soil moist without over-watering. To prevent over-watering, use the spray bottle to spritz the seedlings every two or three days.
Step 2: “Harden Off” the Seedlings
Before transplanting your seedlings to the garden, it is crucial they go through a process called “hardening off”. Once the seedlings are a couple inches tall or have a second set of leaves, this process can be started.
To “harden off” the seedlings, gradually place them outside for a few hours. Then, each day begin leaving them out for longer periods of time. This will help the seedlings acclimate to the weather outside.
Step 3: Transplant the Seedlings
When transplanting the seedlings, very gently crush the outside of the eggshell. Then, plant the eggshell in the garden making sure to cover the top of the shell. The roots will grow beyond the shell into the soil, providing essential nutrients to the plant. Eventually, the shell will biodegrade.
How do you start seeds inside? Or, do you just wait and plant them in the garden when the weather is right? I hope that this step by step tutorial, how to start seeds in eggshells, is helpful for you.