Thinking it’s a little early to start your vegetable, herb or flower garden? Beginning your garden inside your home is a great way to speed up the growth process come summertime, avoid the expensive purchase of starter plants, and ensure a plentiful harvest or bloom.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You can use basically anything to start seeds these days, from paper towels and empty yogurt cups to cell packs and store-bought seed-starting containers, but our tutorial starts with an item you probably already have in your fridge.
What you’ll need:
- Eggshells halves
- Egg carton
- Seed-starting mix (Note: Do not use potting soil. Seed-starting mixes are composed of vermiculite and peat, which are sterile, lightweight and porous which allows your seedlings to grow in an optimal environment.)
- Spray bottle
1. Make sure your eggshells are rinsed thoroughly. Don’t worry if some are lightly cracked. They will still work as long as at least half of the shell is present and intact.
2. Place your shells in the egg carton and use a spoon to fill each shell with pre-moistened seed-starting mix.
3. Following the instructions of your specific seed type, place the seed(s) in each “pod”.
4. Place your egg carton in or near a south-facing window that receives plenty of sun and air circulation. Temperatures for seedlings should ideally be around 65-70 degrees.
5. Every few days or as needed, mist your seedlings with the water spray bottle. It’s also important to occasionally turn the carton to promote even growth. Note: Be careful not to “drown” your seeds as there will be little-to-no drainage for your eggshells. You’ll be surprised how far a fine mist of water goes.
6. If your “egg cup” becomes too crowded, simply snip the weakest or smallest seedlings to allow your largest seedling room to thrive.
7. When it’s time to transplant your seedlings (typically once they’ve developed their first set of leaves) remove a few shards of the eggshell from the bottom by gently cracking it. Simply plant the entire seedling this way, as the eggshell will decompose into compost and deliver extra nutrients to your plant.
Wondering which vegetables are the best to start indoors? Reader’s Digest has a great list of vegetable plants with the easiest start-ups, as well as when to begin the growing process for the easiest transition to your outdoor garden.
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