One of the most valuable ways I've learned to save money as a gardener is by reusing and recycling. For example, I use egg cartons as starting pots for my seedlings.
Starting seeds in egg cartons can be a fun and easy way to grow your own plants from seed. This is perfect for kids, people with a tiny garden, or even if you just want more space to start more plants than you could possibly grow from the soil.
You can start sprouting seedlings in egg cartons at any time of year! They’re perfect for indoor plant starts or for growing plants outside during the summer months. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to do it!
Supplies and Materials
Cardboard/bio-degradable egg carton
Scissors or Sharp Knife
How to Plant Seeds in Recycled Egg Cartons
1. Prep egg cartons. Fill your individual egg cups about half full with loose topsoil. Keep the recommended planting depth in mind. You should be able to find this information on your seed packets. Some seeds will need to be planted deeper, so add less soil during this step for those seeds.
2. Crushed Eggshells. Add a teaspoon of crushed/powdered eggshells on top of the topsoil in each egg cup. Eggshells are an organic, biodegradable plant pot that adds calcium, nitrogen, and phosphoric acid to your garden soil.
3. Add MORE topsoil. Fill egg cups with topsoil and lightly compress. This will aid in keeping seedling/roots more robust when transplanting.
4. Make a hole. Use your finger, a stick, chopstick- whatever. Just make a hole to drop your sprouted seed into.
5. Place the seed. I like to start my seeds in paper towels until they begin to sprout first. This guarantees seed viability, growth, AND lets me know how to plant them most effectively. Place a seed in the hole you created in each egg cup. For best results plant seed husk down.
6. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Once again, you'll need to keep the recommended depth in mind. Some seeds like more cover than others. Lightly tamp/press down to keep loose soil from falling away when watering.
7. Water your seed cups. The bio-degradable egg carton will soak up the water and keep your seeds moist.
TIPS: I like to place the carton in a waterproof container with an inch of water it at all times...This helps keep moisture in.
Place your seed cups in the sun. Different plants have different sunlight requirements—your plants' seed packets should give you the particulars—but all plants need sunlight to grow. Be sure that your seed cups are in a place where they can get enough sun.
Water your cups/cartons regularly.
The nice thing about using paper egg cups is that once your seedlings are sufficiently grown, you can plant them directly in the soil—paper cup and all. As you can see in the photo above, the roots will be able to grow right through the paper, which will eventually break down into compost once planted. The paper will also help your newly planted seedlings' roots stay moist until it breaks down completely.
How to Repot Your Seedlings
Some seedlings' roots may outgrow the egg cups before they're ready to be planted outside. When this happens, you can simply plant your seedlings (egg cup and all) into a larger container or garden space.
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