Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting Seeds In Eggshells

This is my post from LowerTheBills.org, but it also applies to my Homestead Blog.

Spring is here and it is time to start those early seedlings to give them a head start.  I have used recycled containers, such as Yoghurt containers, in the past; but I recently found a better idea on Mother Earth News.  The idea is to reuse eggshells to start seedlings.  This makes perfect sense since I am always adding eggshells to my garden to increase calcium in the soil.  When the seedling is done, the goal is to crunch the eggshell in hand before planting.  This way the roots can escape. Finally, the whole broken shell is planted in the soil.

To get an eggshell that is worth using, my whole style of cracking an egg had to change.  Instead of cracking the egg on a bowl, I used a steak knife to saw the top off.  To start I sawed about a 1/3 of the way through the shell.  Then with my finger nail I pulled back the top like opening a pop can.  Once the top was off, the egg was dumped out into a bowl. The top was then discarded to the compost pile.


Planting pots need a way to drain so the seeds are not flooded with water.  To accomplish this with the eggshell, I grabbed a 3" screw and pushed it down into the egg.  Then I turned it until it poked through the bottom.  The screw must go through the opening at the top off the egg or else the curvature on the outside makes poking through without shattering the eggshell very hard.

Next, the eggshells were set back in the tray.  Having a plastic egg tray works best because it will not fall apart if it gets wet.  On my plastic cartons, there is about a 1/4 inch of space between the bottom of the egg and the bottom of each egg holder.  This allows excess water to sit in the bottom and drain out of the egg.  Of course, this space will still fill if over watered.  I normally just water my seedlings with a spray bottle so as to not flood them.


Once I had a full tray full of empty shells, I brought in a compost and peat moss mix.  Filling the eggshell with a spade is difficult; therefore, I used my hands to fill the egg shell with the mix.  I left about a 1/4 inch at the top of the shell.  Next, I placed the seed on top of the mix and added a few more pinches of soil to cover it.



The great thing is all the seeds are packed tight in the egg carton.  I also filled some reused Yoghurt cartons with soil for other plants.  They aren't as tightly packed in my Sterlitte bin.  In case you are wondering, I put a growlight over the top of my bin so that my seeds have proper lighting to get started.

In a few weeks I will try planting my eggshells in the garden which should be fairly easy.  By then my next set of seeds should be ready to start.

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