To get a jump-start on the growing season I like to start some of my seeds indoors. This is a particularly important task for gardeners with short summers or if you want to try a few unusual flowers and vegetables. You can also save a buck or two by growing plants from seed.
You don’t have to have all the latest gizmos and gadgets to start your seeds; in fact I like to use little pots made from eggshells. They are easy to make, inexpensive and you can plant the seedling along with its eggshell container in the garden.
- eggshells, gently washed and dried
- egg carton
- ice pick
- sterile potting soil
- spray bottle
The first thing to do is read the back of the seed package for sowing guidelines. This will tell you everything you need to know about the when and how of sowing a particular variety.
I start saving eggshells a few weeks before I plan to sow the seeds. After I break the egg open and clear out the contents, I gently wash and dry it. Take the clean eggshells and pierce the bottoms with an ice pick. This will be your drainage hole. Eggshells are surprisingly strong, so you don’t have to be as careful as you might think. Next, set the prepared eggshell in an egg carton. I like to cut the top off of the egg carton to keep it out of the way. Plastic, Styrofoam or cardboard egg cartons will work as the holder.
Fill each eggshell with soil.
Now you are ready to sow the seeds. Drop in 2 to 3 seeds and cover with soil according to the instructions on the back of the package.
Moisten the soil with a mist of water and place the egg carton in a location that receives bright light, temperatures between 65 – 70 degrees, and good air circulation.
Keep the soil moist and turn the carton occasionally to promote even growth. As they grow you may need to thin the seedlings to prevent overcrowding.
At the proper planting time plant the young seedling and its eggshell container directly in the garden.
If eggshells are not available you can also use a cardboard egg carton. Poke a hole in the bottom of each eggcup for drainage, fill with soil and sow the seeds as directed for the shells. When it is time to plant, cut the eggcups into individual sections and plant them, along with the seedlings, directly in the garden. As the seedlings grow the cardboard, like the egg shells, will biodegrade into the soil.