Why You Should Use Eggshells to Start Seeds

eggshell seedlingsWe’ve all seen the cute pics on Pinterest of seedlings in eggshells–but aside from cuteness, what’s the point?

Eggshells as seed starters are actually really beneficial for your plants!

Here’s why:

  • They’re basically free, and a great way to reuse what you’ve already got.
  • Once the seedlings are big enough to be planted, you just pop them in the garden, shell and all!
  • The eggshell will break down and biodegrade in the soil around the developing roots, which aerates the soil and provides nutrients to the new plant.
  • Once planted, your seedlings will be protected from pests such as grubs, who won’t go near plant roots that have coarse eggshell around them.
  • Eggshell seed starters are cute, easy to use, and offer a fun garden project for kids to help create.
  • They even come with their own drip-proof tray that holds a dozen at a time, and fits nicely on your windowsill.

eggshell seedsSo how do you use eggshells as seed starters?

1. Save the larger parts of your eggshells from breakfast. If you need several days or weeks’ worth of breakfasts to get enough eggshells, you can save them in a sealed container.

You can also use your seed starting project as an excuse to bake a 6-egg paleo cake or a yummy quiche!

2. While it’s not totally necessary, it’s best to bake the shells in an oven for about 10 minutes to kill off any lingering bacteria. Some seedlings tend to grow best in sterile soil at first, which includes their planters. (Of course, there’s some debate about that, so you may choose to skip this step.)

Just toss the eggshells in the oven immediately after baking that quiche, to make use of the residual heat while the oven’s cooling down.

3. Use a nail or sharp knife to make a small hole in the bottom of each eggshell. This allows for drainage so your seedlings don’t get waterlogged, and also helps the plant’s roots to break free of the shell once it’s ready to outgrow its first home.

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4. Arrange the eggshells in their carton, spritz with water, and fill each one with your sterile potting soil mix or compost. Then plant seeds in them (only about as deep as the seed is wide!), and spritz again.

5. Place the carton in a sunny windowsill, and keep them moist by spritzing each day. Your seedlings will be big enough to plant outside when a root can be seen poking out of the drainage hole!

Got more eggshells on hand? Here’s a great list of other garden applications for eggshells! 

How did your eggshell seed starters turn out? Leave a comment and tell us!

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