Make eggshell seedling pots to sprout your garden for less

I’d like to plant a seed in your wallet. All green thumbs (and a few green fingers) know that sprouting seedlings instead of buying store-grown plants saves you nearly 90% on your gardening costs. But how do you sprout peas, squash, and tasty tomatoes when there’s still a chill outside?

eggshell seedling

Easy peasy, people. The answer can be found on your breakfast table, at the farmers’ market, or in your compost heap. Do I have you walking on eggshells? Eggscellent.

To sow some extra savings this gardening season, go ahead and crack open a tossed eggshell and make your own seedling pots — your budget will thank you.

8 Reasons to get cracking:

  1. The entire eggshell starter pot is biodegradable.
  2. Cost for the eggshell planter is $0.00 — they’re free if you eat eggs.
  3. Eggshells contain soil-happy minerals, such as calcium and other earthy nutrients.
  4. Eggshell seedling pots are pet safe and kid friendly.
  5. Starting seeds inside (in any container) gives you a huge headstart on your garden, far before the last frost.
  6. Sprouted seeds are heartier and stronger when planted.
  7. Sprouting indoors lets you cull the weakest seedlings and remove the ones that failed to germinate.
  8. It’s a fun project for the kiddlets.
    squarefoot gardening
    Gardening Tip: Want to grow a garden but don’t know how to start? Check out How to Build a Square Foot Garden for the easy-to-follow instructions.

    If you’re looking for a little seed money, here’s how to make your own frugal seedling pots by using everyday eggshells:

    Gardening: Eggshell Seed Starters

    You’ll need a few good eggs and some gardening tools to get this job done. But don’t worry, most items are likely already stocked in your kitchen or somewhere in your home.

    gardening advice

    Stuff you’ll need:

    Instructions: How to plant seedlings in eggshells

    STEP ONE: Prick a pinhole. Using a thumbtack, gently punch a small drainage hole in the bottom center of each shell. Make the hole large enough so it won’t get clogged by soil or roots.

    seedling

    STEP TWO: Chop the top. Remove the top 1/3 of the eggshell using a small knife to gently pick away at the shell. Take care not to damage the bottom of the egg.

    gardening equipment

    Topper Tip: Lightly tap the top of the egg, and then pick your way down. Cutting carefully with a sharp serrated knife may work too.

    STEP THREE: Make dinner. Empty the raw egg from the shell into a bowl. Make an omelet or save for scrambled eggs for dinner. Yummy.

    egg


    STEP FOUR: Wash and boil. Wash the eggshells and then boil them in a pot for three minutes to kill any bacteria.

    eggshells

    Inspect eggshells for leftover debris, and let them dry.

    organic sprouting seeds

    STEP FIVE: Protect eggshells. Place each eggshell in a cardboard egg carton (or a small pot) for support.

    gardening tools

    Egg cartons serve as a frugal base for up to 12 eggs.

    japanese gardening

    Creative types may like miniature clay pots or fancy decorative planters.

    STEP SIX: Spoon soil. Fill 2/3 of each eggshell with potting soil.

    how to compost
    Gardening Tip: I used nutrient-rich soil from my finished compost. See How to compost without raising a stink for simple steps even apartment dwellers can follow.

    STEP SEVEN: Plant a seed. Add a seed to the soil. Always follow the recommended seeding depth on your seed package, and be aware of the average germination time.

    sprouting seeds

    heirloom tomato seedsGardening Tip: Many people buy seeds from a store each season — and that’s OK. But if you’ve invested in heirloom seeds, be sure to save them for years to come! Check out How to save heirloom tomato seeds for the uber frugal and totally tasty steps. Note: Saving seeds only works for heirloom varietals.

    STEP EIGHT: Add sunlight, water. Place eggshell seed starters in a warm and sunny location.

    eggshell pot

    Keep the soil moist (but not soaked) by watering regularly. Watch your seedlings sprout!

    gardening

    STEP NINE: Make your mark. Using natural soil-safe crayons or natural finger paints, gently label the outside of each shell with the type of plant seeded.

    gardening tips

    Decorating eggshell seedling pots is a fun project for the kids, plus you’ll teach then about gardening.

    STEP TEN: Get planting. Once your sprouts have sprung and the frost is forgotten, go ahead and plant your eggshell seedling pots in some freshly tilled soil in your garden.

    organic gardening

    When planting, give each eggshell a gentle (yet crushing) squeeze — you want the seedling roots to easily find the fresh soil.

    container gardeningGardening Tip: You don’t need a big (or small) square foot garden to plant fruits and vegetables. Back when I lived on a ledge (OK, in an apartment block with a skyrise balcony), I grew my own food using a method called container gardening. See 11 Fruits and Vegetables You Can Grow in a Pot for the steps.

    Your Turn: Are you growing a vegetable garden this season for food or just for fun? What do you plant?

    Happy sprouting!
    Love,
    Kerry

    Your two cents:

    1. Young Professional Finances April 12th, 2012

      These are so cute! I love that you can plant these later on by just putting the whole eggshell in the soil. Makes it so easy!

    2. Brian April 13th, 2012

      Nice. OR you could just use the degradable egg box and place soil directly into the hollows. then when you wish to plan you can cut the sections apart and plant each one as is into the soil.

    3. Barbie April 13th, 2012

      Hot damn! What don’t you think of!?

    4. Careful Cents April 14th, 2012

      This. Is. Fabulous. I live in a small apartment complex, so I don’t have a big yard to plant a massive garden. However, this takes care of that problem, because I still have a mini-garden on my balcony using these tips! Awesome…thanks so much for the wonderful idea.

    5. Maricris @ SittingAround April 14th, 2012

      This is another great idea, Kerry. That’s why I love reading your blog. I always learn something here.

    6. Carol April 15th, 2012

      My daughter is doing a science project of planting a garden, so this is both timely and extremely useful!

    7. Ralph April 15th, 2012

      One plus that isn’t mentioned is that, if you plant the seedling with the top of the eggshell above ground it will save your seedling from cutworms that wrap around the stem of young seedlings and cut them off there.

    8. CamMi Pham April 15th, 2012

      Love the idea it is so cute

    9. Emmon April 19th, 2012

      I love your steps! And the photos that go with them! (I might get “derailed” by step 3 and just eat breakfast).

    10. Rae April 20th, 2012

      Thanks for sharing this! Our family did this, and loved it. Our basil just poked through. I linked to you on my Earth Day post.

      http://motherhoodhandmade.blogspot.com/2012/04/earth-day-ideas.html

      Thanks again for sharing, and Happy Earth Day!

    11. Swarnam April 24th, 2012

      You have a wonderful blog! very interesting! Hope you have joined pintrest.

    12. haverwench May 8th, 2012

      Those are awfully cute, but…aren’t they too small? Seems like there isn’t much room for the roots to develop.

    13. Anita August 21st, 2012

      This is a great activity for our little boys – and a great starter for transferring to our pot garden. We had issues with over-watering though, and had to poke some holes in the bottom for drainage…

    14. caryl August 23rd, 2012

      Tomatoes are a staple in our garden, plus peas, beans, cucumbers, squash and an assortment of herbs. We tend to companion garden (tomato/basil/marigold) and will collect seeds.

      Cheers,
      Caryl

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