This spring instead of looking at all the seed starter kits, just grab some dirt, your egg shells, the cartons they came in and your favorite garden seeds that need to be started indoors before transplanting.
How easy was that??
This year, as my hubby and I “stick” to a budget, I decided, I’m not going to Walmart and buying the seed-starter kit (even though it is just a few bucks), after all, do I really know what’s in the dirt??
So, what to do… it’s gotta be convenient enough to plant the whole thing (like you can with a kit) AND still be easy…
I compost A LOT of eggs. Now having my own backyard chickens and fresh eggs, I have a garden to nourish, so instead of just nourishing my garden-to-be, how about I start the seeds IN the egg shell and plant the whole thing!? GENIUS! (Yeah, I know I’m not the first to think of this, but when a momma of 8 has time to think – she’s a genius!!)
Now, before you go crackin your eggs open, I know you’re excited, but here’s a tip:
Crack ONLY the upper 1/3 of the shell – This way you’ll have more planting space and root development.
To do this, instead of cracking directly on the side of the egg like I normally do, I tilt the egg towards the small end and crack near the top portion. You may get a small opening, but then just gently pull away more shell till you have the opening the size you want while keeping 2/3 of the shell intact.
Don’t rinse or wash your cracked shell!!
Keep all those inner white vitamins and minerals IN the shell! Once you crack it open, simply place it into one of the empty slots in the egg carton where the egg was. Even if you have to put it back in the refrigerator (if you don’t have extra cartons), it’ll be fine and will dry out with all the goodness still inside.
1) Grab some dirt.
Whether you get some starter potting soil, your front yard or specialty ordered… just get some dirt and fill up your dried out egg shells.
2) Plant your seed & water.
Whatever the planting depth is for the seeds you are starting…that’s how deep you go!
TIP: I did moisten the dirt before planting so that the seeds wouldn’t “float” back up the surface or sink further than I want them to.
Label Your Creations!
This should be a no-brainer, but hey… I’ve had my moments of not using my brain! So, a quick reference I used was to label the rows (or label the front and back of the carton if you are doing more seeds) by numbers.
Then sharpie directly on the carton what are in your rows/columns and presto!! No more “Guess that plant!” game.
Then Finally… after all is planted, watered and labeled, place your seedlings in a warm area, under a lamp and wait.
Be sure to keep the soil moist.
Our set up is actually in our storage room. The light fixture we had is from a 55 gallon fish tank we used to light up. I miss that tank…Watching fish under such a serene environment is so peaceful.
Okay… Moving on…
The light is simply hung up by string tied around the shelf above it. To adjust the height as the plants grow, we have some wood pieces we simply slip under the string and it raises up.
Husbands are GENIUSES too!!
You DON’T have to have the light fixture, a sunny spot will do, but just remember, your seedings will be long and more “lanky”. If you really want that light…just check your local swap FB page, Craigslist, etc for anyone getting rid of fish equipment – they have these long light fixtures.
Or just go buy one… And use it every year!
One Week Later…
We’ve got about 3 weeks to go before they’ll be placed outside, but all I’ll have to do is find the spot, and place the whole Eggling into it’s summer home for the season!
It’ll be nourished by the dried egg whites, your soil, and the calcium from the shell as it breaks down in the garden bed. Great for alkaline soils!
You may want to use styrofoam or the plastic egg cartons to minimize any leakage from watering. If you use the cardboard, just be sure to watch out for leaking. You do not have to poke holes in the eggs for drainage.
What are you planting this year and will you have your Egglings ready to go?
Any other tips to share??