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 to start 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 Need
Empty eggshell halves, rinsed
Recycled egg carton
Seeds (small seeds such as herbs and flowers work best)
1. Start with clean eggshells. It's fine to use unevenly cracked shells, as long as you have at least half the shell intact.
2. Arrange your eggshells in the carton. Using a spoon, fill each "pot" with pre-moistened seed-starting soil.
3. Place a couple of seeds in each pot according to your seed-sowing instructions. Leave the carton in a sunny south-facing window.
4. 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 young seedlings. When your seedlings have emerged, snip the weakest or smallest ones to allow the largest seedling room to grow.
5. After your seedling has developed its first set of true leaves, you can transplant it into a larger pot or directly in your garden. 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.
6. Tear apart the egg carton and toss it into your compost pile, or add it to your recycling bin.
(Images: Linda Ly)
(Re-edited from a post originally published on 8.02.2011 - CM)