Friday, February 24, 2012

Starting Seeds in Eggshells

As you can probably tell, I'm loooonging for spring/summer!!! I promised myself I would wait until at least march to start my herb garden, but as you can see, that didn't exactly happen. Ha! So here is my way to start seeds indoors with little to no cost (besides the seeds)... plant them in eggshells!

For years, farmers have started seeds in eggshells and had great success. My mom gave me the idea when I started buying seeds for my medicinal herb garden and so far it has worked wonderfully! I wanted to grow a little of several varieties and move all the matured plants to one large pot. Because of this, it didn’t quite make sense to buy several small pots just for the couple of months that I would be growing the seeds. That made eggshells the perfect solution for me.

Not only are eggshells inexpensive and easy to acquire, they also provide natural nutrients for the seeds as they grow. Also, later when transferring to a different pot, all you have to do is break the shell into the dirt you are transplanting it into!
My little baby basil starting to sprout

I used white eggs, because it isn’t always the easiest to get brown ones here in Denver, but I would definitely use the brown if they are available. Start by saving an empty egg container (I cut a one and one-half dozen carton in half and cut off the lid). Lay that by your sink or put it back in your fridge if you have space. Now anytime that you use eggs, try to crack it at the top and peel away the shell so that about three-fourths remains. Once you've removed the egg, rinse the eggshell out and lay it in the carton.
Chamomile is the in the front,
basil in the back

After you’ve collected as many as you need, take a tack or egg piercer if you have one and poke the bottom about four or five times to make holes for drainage. (It takes some practice to accomplish this without destroying the egg, so you might keep a few extra eggshells on hand just in case)

Fill the eggshells with dirt and sprinkle four to six seeds on top. The amount of dirt to be used to cover the seeds will vary on the size of the seed. Such tiny seeds as lavender take only a dusting of dirt, whereas cilantro with it’s almost pea sized seeds needs about a quarter inch of dirt.

The rule of thumb usually stands that you cover the seed with a layer of dirt no taller than the seed is tall.

Water the seeds with a spritz bottle only till the dirt is soaked, and then cover with plastic rap or a shower cap. Keep the dirt moist watering every morning or so. Put them in a sunny window where it’s warm, and voila! Expect seeds in about two weeks. 

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