How-To: Eggshell Seedlings

Starting vegetables from seed is the most cost-effective way to create a garden, and it's rewarding to watch your seeds grow. Learn how to start your seeds indoors while doing a little recycling/reusing at the same time.

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Eggshell Seedlings

Seeds are sensitive at the beginning, so they really benefit from any extra love and attention you can provide. The simplest way to give your seedlings the best chance is to start them in some potting soil in leftover eggshells on your window sill — and let the calcium from the eggshell give your seeds a head start. This is an easy, inexpensive and organic way to begin growing your herb or vegetable garden.

What You'll Need:

Carton of eggs, packets of seeds, a sharp paring knife, a sewing needle and a spray bottle for watering

Prep The Egg

Take each egg and use a sharp paring knife to cut off the top third of the eggshell.

Empty The Eggs

Empty the eggs in a bowl and put aside. (After you're done planting the seedlings, you can reward yourself with an omelet.)

Don't Forget The Drainage

Wash out each egg, and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. A pushpin works well for this.

Add The Soil

Use a spoon and fill each egg with potting soil, about two-thirds full.

Water The Soil

Water down the soil a bit with a small spray bottle.

Plant The Seeds

Tuck seeds just under the dirt in each egg — a good rule of thumb is that most seeds should be covered by soil at a depth of three times their size — so a small lettuce seed should barely be covered.

Find an Ideal Spot, Maintain, Then Transplant

Cover the eggs loosely with plastic wrap after you are finished to maintain humidity in the soil. Then set seeds in the windowsill during the day to encourage sprouting. If you really want to kick it into overdrive, you can put your seeds on your counter overnight and turn on your under-cabinet lighting to give them some more energy.

Water your seeds regularly and watch for your sprouts to come up. Once they come up, remove the plastic wrap and keep them in a sunny spot.

Here's the cool part: Once your seeds have sprouted (and after you've admired your handiwork for a few days) you can take the pre-sprouted egg/seed and plant the whole thing directly into your garden. The seed will break the eggshell with its roots as it grows, and the extra calcium from the eggshell will make for a strong and healthy plant.