As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, eggshells are a wonderful addition to a garden. For this post I’ll walk you through how to use eggshells as starter ‘pots’ for seedlings. If you don’t eat eggs, or not many of them, ask friends and family to save the shells (the entire shell) and cartons for you. If you eat eggs be sure to save them for this. Just another way to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Not to mention the add health bonus to your plants! Oh, and this is a great money saver as well!
First off, you can use eggshells that have had the eggs cooked already, or you can use fresh eggs (uncooked). I will be showing you how to use both methods in this how-to tutorial.
What You’ll Need:
- Fresh Eggs or Eggshells (at least ½ to ¾ still intact, also keep any broken off pieces)
- A Pot of Boiling Water
- Egg Carton (do not use Styrofoam, use the paper/cardboard cartons)
- A long, sharp instrument (such as an Awl/needle/pin)
- Small bits of paper (about 1 square inch) (such as paper towel/napkin/newspaper)
- Mortar Pestle, Blender, or plastic zip-lock bag and rolling pin
- Seedling Soil
- Spray bottle of water
- For fresh eggs
- Tap the top (pointed portion) of the egg on the side of a bowl, or with the edge of a sharp knife.
- Once you have a small hole, take your long instrument and insert it into the egg.
- Pierce the yolk and gently stir it inside your shell.
- Once mixed, pour the scrabbled egg into an air tight container, and place in the fridge. It is best to cook your eggs either that same day or within the next day.
- For saved eggshells
- Try to be sure that the eggshell is still ½ to ¾ intact.
- Once you have your eggshells, rinse them thoroughly and pop them in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. This will kill any nasties, such as salmonella.
- Take your clean eggshells and with your long sharp tool poke a small hole in the bottom of the shell. This will be your drainage hole. Be gentle as you don’t want to crack the rest of the shell. (Tip: Set your shell on a towel, hold firmly in place with one hand, and then poke the hole with the tool through to the towel.)
- Place the shells into the bottom portion of you egg carton.
- Take your pieces of paper and lightly spray with water using a pray bottle set to mist. This will help them stick to the sides of the eggshells. Place the paper inside your shell over the drainage hole.
- Any eggshell pieces that you have left over, break into very small pieces or lightly powder them. You can do this best with a mortar pestle, or with a rolling pin. The fragments do not need to be completely pulverized but just so there are no large pieces. (Tip: If you don’t have your left over pieces, sand will work just as well.)
- Evenly put your roughly powdered shells into your intact eggshells, on top of the slips of paper. Using a spoon to pour it in I find is easiest.
- Fill the shells with you moistened (not wet, but lightly moist) soil.
- Take you seeds and plant a seed to each shell, according to your seeds required depth. (Tip: General rule of thumb is to plant at 3x the length of the seed.)
- If you want you can plant 2-3 seeds per shell. Just be sure to pluck out the less healthy seedlings once they start to grow.
- Place your carton in a sunny, warm spot inside your house.
- Using your spray bottle, lightly mist your plants, and their soil, about every other day, or as needed. Your seedlings should be MOIST but NOT WET. (Tip: To test your soils moisture content gently press a finger tip to the soil top. If it comes away clean, you need to moisten your soil.)
- Once your seedlings have 2-3 true leaves they are ready to be transplanted to a large pot or out in the garden. They can be planted, eggshell and all (as it’s biodegradable), just be sure to crack the shell first to allow the roots room to grow beyond it. (Tip: The first 1-2 leaves your seedling sprouts are their starter ‘leaves’. ‘True leaves’ are the leaves that come after that.)
- After you have transplanted your eggshell seedlings, cut/tear up the carton and toss into your compost or recycling bins.
About the author Chyina
I’m a Goth/Hippie who loves to try new things and dabbles in anything and everything that I find enjoyment in. That can include but is not limited to, cooking, art, digital design, jewellery making, photography, gardening, nature, animals and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’m an optimistic (occasionally) perfectionist (constantly), who can be very sarcastic (incessantly), but all in good humour. :)