Using Egg Cartons As Seed Starters
Turning egg cartons into seed starters is an excellent way to save money and recycle the cartons, avoiding use of new plastic containers. The beauty of egg cartons is that they can be planted into the ground along with the seedling, and the egg carton will disintegrate into the earth as the seedling grows. It is less of a shock for the transplanted seedling as well. Best of all, kids will find this approach a lot of fun.
How To Germinate Seeds In Egg Cartons
Garden centers are packed with supplies that simplify the process of planting seeds indoors, including garden trays, celled planting trays and biodegradable peat pots. But you can use almost any containers for planting if they hold enough soil and have some form of drainage. Egg cartons are especially effective because the clean, lightweight cartons are already divided into planting-sized cells. Egg cartons are so simple to plant that even a young child can plant a junior garden.
Start Seeds In An Egg Carton
Right now it may be hard to get to the store to purchase a seed starting tray. At all times, it is nice to find cheap things around your house that can be repurposed for growing seeds.
This instructable shows how you can use a simple egg carton to start seeds at home with minimal expense.
1) An egg carton
2) seed starting mix
*For light, you can use a sunny window, or an indoor grow light. I personally recommend this grow light setup from another of my instructables:
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How To Transplant Your Seedlings
The nice thing about using paper egg cups is that once your seedlings are sufficiently grown, you can plant them directly in the soilpaper 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.
Seedlings can also be replanted into a pot or other container after sprouting.
Why Use Egg Cartons For Seeds
There are a few great reasons to start using egg cartons foryour starting seeds, especially if you are just starting out gardening or arestarting plants from seeds for the first time. This is a great option. Hereswhy:
- An egg carton seed tray is so cheap its free. Gardening can be expensive at times, so any way you can trim some costs helps.
- Reusing materials is good for the environment. You were only going to throw it away, so why not find a new use for your egg cartons?
- Egg cartons are small, already compartmentalized, and easy to handle and use.
- The shape of an egg carton makes it easy to situate on a sunny windowsill.
- Egg cartons are flexible seed starting containers. You can use the whole thing or easily cut it apart for smaller containers.
- Depending on the type of carton, you may be able to put it right in the ground with the seedling and let it decompose in the soil.
- You can write directly on the egg carton to keep your seeds organized.
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Benefits Of Using Egg Cartons To Start Seeds
You may find quite a few benefits when planting seeds in egg cartons. Here are my favorite reasons why you should start seeds in egg trays.
- Individual cells are perfect for tiny seedlings. Egg trays with 12 or 18 cells offer much opportunity for variety of what you plant.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Reusing egg cartons for seed starting gives these trays a new lease on life. Styrofoam egg cartons usually end up in the trash anyway, so this is a much better alternative.
- Enjoy easy configurations for mass seed starting. If you plan to start quite a large number of seeds, you can save up several egg cartons to achieve your goals. In most cases, the egg cartons fit nicely side to side or front to back under your grow lights.
- Removal of seedlings for transplant is effortless. Simply pinch the Styrofoam pocket with the seedlings you wish to transfer and gently coax the entire root ball, soil and all, out of the egg tray.
How To Start Seeds In Egg Crates
Starting seeds inside is a great way to get a head start on your garden. While its still early in most places for many vegetables, growing season for cold weather vegetables like broccoli and lettuce is right around the corner .
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You can start the seeds in just about any kind of container, but egg cartons do double duty by not only recycling, but separating your seeds into little planting pods.
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Two Types Of Egg Carton Material For Planting Seeds
Cardboard These are biodegradable and can be tossed in the compost pile when finished. Or do an experiment and plant them right in the ground.
The cardboard versions got very soft and started decomposing before I was ready to plant some of the seedlings. Not all of them. I simply had to handle them carefully.
Styrofoam I seriously dislike styrofoam egg cartons! But since I have them why not reuse them at least once. And I have to admit. They actually worked a little better as seed trays because they held up to the water involved. Haha, can you tell I have a love/hate relationship with these cartons!
Can You Plant Seeds In Plastic Egg Cartons
I discussed styrofoam and cardboard cartons in this article but there are plastic egg cartons as well, they are just not as common in my experience. But yes, youd do just the same thing with plastic as styrofoam or cardboard. Dont forget to cut a hole in the bottom of each cell for drainage.
- soil for your seedsCan be potting soil or seed starting mix.
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What Types Of Seeds To Plant
Kids love this activity. Its crafty yet constructive, and it wont turn into another one of those artistic masterpieces you need to figure out what to do with.
If your kids are curious about gardening, starting seeds in eggshells is a good way to teach them how to plant and water seeds so they can nurture their very own garden.
Make it themed and get them excited about growing their food!
Here are a few ideas for garden themes you can try with your family:
- Herbal tea garden
- Single-color garden
While you cant feasibly start a whole season of vegetable seedlings in eggshells, its perfect if you just want to start a few plants indoors and you have limited space in your house.
Small seeds work best. Dont try to tuck a pumpkin seed in therethe seedling and its roots will outgrow the eggshell pot too quickly.
Each egg goes right back into the egg carton, which is just the right size to place on a sunny windowsill. By the time youre ready to transplant the seedlings, everything goes back into the earth by way of planting, composting, or recycling.
Planting And Caring For The Seeds
Push in a finger to the depth that is required for a seed of the plant type being planted. Add around 5 to 6 seeds per hole. Gently spread soil back into the hole to cover the seeds.
Place the whole egg carton on a surface that is okay to water for example, an old baking or serving tray, a large ceramic plate, etc.
Spray with a gentle mist of water to moisten the soil. Push down the lid and place in a warm spot.
Note: In warmer weather, the lid may not be necessary. In this case, the lid can be used as an additional place the put the seeds .
Open the lid at least once a day to check for the seeds growth. Once the seeds begin to sprout, keep the lid off from this time onward. Keep within a good source of light, either sunlight or artificial light. Keep the growing temperature warmdont put outside unless the temperature is warm.
If needed, thin out the seedlings as they grow, or wait until you shift them to the garden bed this will depend on the type of plant youre growing.
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Fill Each Eggshell With Seed Starting Mix
Arrange your eggshells in a paper egg carton. Using a spoon or mini trowel, 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.
Egg Carton For Planting Seeds Does It Work Pros And Cons
Using an egg carton for planting seeds is a great option if you dont have seedling trays available. But they are not totally foolproof. This is what worked for me.
- They are a free resource, Most of us have egg cartons or neighbors do.
- Planting seeds in egg cartons uses recycled material, or compostable material. It is always good to use and recycle. Compost is gold to a garden!
- If you are on a garden budget, start your seeds in egg cartons and you wont have to buy seed trays. Every little bit helps.
- Keep reading for a few cons.
Ive read that cardboard egg cartons can be buried with your seedling and will decompose. Many people have good luck with this. I have not tried it. Mainly because I once tried to use toilet paper rolls for seedlings and planted them in the ground. . I did NOT have good luck.
I lived in a dry area at the time and the cartons simply did not decompose very quickly. The seedlings suffered. It made it more difficult not easier.
Now that I live where there is more moisture maybe Id have better luck. I just have not tried it again. I did notice that the egg cartons got noticeably soft in my greenhouse. The moisture was having an effect. Maybe Ill have to try just planting the whole thing next year.
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Make: Fairy Greenhouse Egg Carton Seed Starters For Kids
These darling DIY fairy greenhouses are egg carton seed starters kids can plant, decorate, tend, and watch grow! Theyre a wonderful late winter or early spring indoor gardening activity for children especially if you live in a colder climate and just *cant wait* to dig your hands in a bit of dirt.
Back when I was a mini Montessori kid, there was no greater responsibility than being tasked with taking care of the small potted plants that sat on our classroom windowsills. I remember taking great care to poke around the dirt for any fallen leaves, slow-ly pouring water over the top to give them a little drink, and long quiet minutes of staring just observing the magic of a changing plant.
Inspired by those calm morning plant care sessions I put together this little twist on conventional egg carton seed starters. Looking for a way to keep our seeds nice and warm, I popped them into an upside-down plastic berry container and just like that, our idea for miniature fairy greenhouses was born.
Beyond the crafting of their own little fairy tale greenhouses, these seed starters encourage kids to repurpose supplies and take on the task of maintaining their own tiny plants. So while theyre growing a garden, youll be growing an engaged, responsible steward of the future whos excited to investigate and observe the simple wonders of nature. Hey, thats a win, win in my book.
What Did Work Great Planting Beets In Egg Cartons
I wasnt sure if this would work well or not. I have not started beets indoors before but Id seen several articles on growing beets in trays instead of seeding directly so I decided to give it a try. The beets did great in the egg carton trays!
If you want to know more about growing beets check out this article. How to Grow Beets in a Backyard Garden.
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A Few Tips On Tomato Plants:
· You can pinch off a few of your tomato seedlings so that theres one strong one in each cuptomatoes need a strong root system and dont do well with too much competition.
· Plant tomatoes or place potted tomatoes where they get at least six hours of direct sunlight.
· When you plant them up, use a big, deep pot, like a five-gallon bucket with holes for drainage. Plant the stem into the soil so the root system can really jump out.
· Fertilize or provide rich compost, tomatoes love good soil. Water your plants if the soil feels dry or if the plants look droopy.
Aaron Young is a museum educator on Carnegie Museum of Natural Historys Outreach team. Museum staff, volunteers, and interns are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.
Egg Carton Seed Starter
If youre anything like me, then you love eating eggs. Fried, scrambled, boiled, poached, even pickled! So, lets take all those leftover egg cartons and do something fun.
Another food I love is tomatoes. Sometimes when I cut up tomatoes, I get a bunch of seeds left on the cutting board. You can take those seeds or try some other vegetable or fruit seeds to start in an egg carton seed starter. I like to use tomatoes because theyre easy to grow and dont take up too much space in the garden.
A quick note about growing seeds from fruits and vegetables: Most of the time seeds that come from fruits and vegetables that we eat arent as successful as the seeds that come from a packet. For example, seeds from a big beefsteak tomato might turn out to make smaller tomatoes.
Before we get started, well need some supplies. Find some tomatoes and cut them up for a BLT or a snackwe need some of those seeds. Always ask an adult to help out with a knife. We also need an egg carton and some soil.
Lets fill that egg carton with soil and gently pack it down. You can use any gardening or potting soil. Make sure theres at least one to two inches of soil. Poke the tip of your finger in the soil in each egg cup to make a holethe hole doesnt need to be deep. You can put two or three seeds in each hole and then cover them up loosely. Once all of your holes are filled in, you can gently sprinkle water over them until theyre really wet.
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How Do You Transfer Seedlings From Egg Cartons
Answer: Youll have 2 options.
- If you are using cardboard cartons you can cut the tray apart and plant each section.
- Scoop the seedlings out of each section and plant. I used a spoon and it worked just fine.
I did a video of planting my beets out from egg cartons here.
Paper Towel Or Toilet Paper Tubes
Not everyone uses paper towels, but pretty much everybody buys toilet paper, and the paperboard tubes in the center of both of these items can be cut to form small seedling pots. There are two different methods of making pots from these paper tubes, one of which is to just leave the bottom open and fit the tubes tightly together in a tray , and the other is to cut several vertical slits in the bottoms of the tubes and to fold the resulting flaps to form the bottom of the pots .
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What Else You Need To Know
Dos and Donts when starting seeds in egg cartons:
- You can use these seed starter pots for any seeds from flower mixes to veggies, herbs, and more.
- Keep your seedlings in a bright spot, for instance on your windowsill. Seedlings like it warm and moist so it helps if you can build a greenhouse-like contraption that can support the growing process. This could be a glass bowl or a clear plastic cover that you already have at home you dont need to generate additional plastic waste! Place the cover over your seedlings but let them air out at least once a day.
- Water your seeds regularly. Depending on the weather and temperature, this could be once a day or more often. In any case, only use enough water to keep the soil moist, dont let it dry out and dont overwater the seedlings.
- You can add some coffee grounds to the soil before planting the seeds to provide your plants with some extra nutrients.
- Some advise against reusing egg cartons due to the risk of germs, so check to make sure that your egg cartons are clean , and there are no signs of mold.
The Ultimate Egg Carton Seed Starter For Kids
I dont know about you, but this time of the year my mailbox typically fills up with a steady stream of seed catalogs. Since I typically order most of my seeds online or buy them at our local nursery, I usually give the catalogs scant attention. But this year I decided to find a purpose for them before they head for the recycling bin and came up with a pretty ingenious egg carton seed starter using images from seed catalogs. The girls were immediately on board. Actually, they were the ones who had triggered the seed starting project to begin with.
Mommy, Mommy can we plant seeds this weekend? the Big Naturalist pleaded with me. Apples and pears and tomatoes and beans and peas!
Pleeeeease! the Little Naturalist chimed in. I want to do pumpkins and sunflowers!
It was the middle of February and I knew from our experience with last years Nature Table that most of these crops would be way overgrown by the time we could actually transplant them to the garden and flower beds outside. But how could I deny them? Their enthusiasm was contagious.
I want my room to become a jungle, the Big Naturalist mused, while frantically gathering empty egg cartons from the garage.Their initiative made me excited for a couple of reasons.
The thing is, even though my garden is not the most prolific, periodically gets neglected, sometimes attracts fascinating critters and often suffers from deer damage, it gives me and the girls something to tinker with outside all summer.
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