Words by: Family Farm Team
Planting seeds in eggshells is a fun and environmentally-friendly way to bring your garden, porch, or even the indoors to life while upcycling materials that you might already have on hand.
Growing seeds directly in eggshells has countless benefits. Since the eggshell will naturally decompose once transplanted to your garden or a larger pot, it's a great way to compost without much effort at all. Eggshells are almost entirely calcium carbonate, which is one of the most essential nutrients for thriving plants. As they break down, the eggshells enrich the soil with calcium and nitrogen, which the plant's roots will absorb and put to use as it grows.
Everything from flowers to vegetables can be started in eggshells, but our favorite thing to grow is herbs. No matter what you decide on, with just a few raw materials like soil, seeds, and Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs, you can easily create your very own eggshell windowsill garden.
You will need just four essential products for this project. If you recently picked up a carton of Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs, you're already halfway there. Hang onto the carton, then clean out and halve the eggshells inside (don't forget to save the contents for scrambled eggs!). Don’t worry about cutting the eggshells perfectly: as long as you have at least half of the eggshell, you will be good to grow!
The other two essentials that you'll need are seeds and seed starting mix, which can both be purchased at your local hardware or home and garden supply store. Ideally, your seed starting mix will be pre-moistened. And since space is limited in your eggshell “pots," we recommend selecting smaller plants like herbs and flowers. Oregano, basil, and thyme are great options to go with.
Start by gathering your supplies:
Now that you have the supplies, it’s time to get your hands dirty! Just follow these easy steps to get started.
Place an empty shell in each slot of the egg carton. Since these are seedlings, fighting for space and sunlight won’t be a major issue.
Using a teaspoon, fill each empty eggshell with the seed starting mix up to the top, leaving a few millimeters of space between the soil and the edge of the shell. After adding the soil, use your finger to create a small hole in the dirt to make room for the seeds. Drop two seeds into each hole and gently cover them with a sprinkling of dirt.
The best location for your egg carton garden is on a windowsill that gets plenty of sunlight. The room should also be relatively warm compared to the rest of your house.
It is crucial to keep the soil moist without overwatering your seedlings. To prevent overwatering, we recommend using a spray bottle to gently mist each eggshell pot. Keep in mind the shells don’t have drainage holes. Just a few sprays in each pot every two or three days is more than sufficient.
After a few weeks, you'll start to see the seedlings sprout. Since you planted two seeds in each eggshell, you can snip the smaller of each pair with scissors if you’d like.
When your seedlings grow to a couple inches tall and/or have developed a second pair of leaves, it’s time to transfer them to a more spacious environment like a clay pot or outdoor garden. If you decide to move them to a garden, you will need to carry out an extra crucial step called “hardening off” your plants. This means rubbing your hand gently across the plants to simulate a breeze and gradually leaving them outside for longer periods of time to help them acclimate to the weather outdoors.
When transplanting your seedlings, the first step is filling an adequately large pot or garden bed with the same soil you used for the eggshells. Next, take the eggshell with the plant still inside and very, very gently crush the outside of the egg, enough so some shards of the outer layer of the shell chip off. Next, plant the eggshell inside of the new pot or garden, making sure the top of the shell is completely buried. The eggshell will naturally decompose in the soil, giving your plants extra nutrients. In just a few weeks, it will be time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
July 15, 2020
I started dill seeds in potting soil a couple of weeks ago because I was following another site's instructions before I found your site :-( I watered them and gave them plenty of sun. We have several little sprouts now with long, very thin stems. Will they thrive if I transplant them into a pot outside, or should I start over with seed starter? Thanks.
That's awesome to hear that the seeds are sprouting. We would let them grow for about 2-3 days after sprouting, and then carefully transfer them to a small pot! Sounds like good things are happening!
May 19, 2020
Thanks! I lost my first dozen, probably because I didn’t harden them! Hopefully the next bunch works.
May 20, 2020
Bummer! We're sorry to hear that Kelli, but look forward to hearing how this next batch goes.
May 15, 2020
I did this and once the seeds sprouted after a few days the stems started to fall. I put them in sunshine and it didn’t help. What am I doing wrong? I water with spray bottle every other day.
Hi Tanya, we're so sorry to hear you had trouble with this method. While it's hard to say exactly what might've gone wrong, our biggest recommendations are to keep them in a warm location that gets plenty of sunlight and also to keep them well watered. Watering seedlings is quite a balancing act--you don't want to over water these but also don't want to underwater them. A moist soil (not dry but not wet) is always a good sign. Feel free to reach out to us via email at [email protected] with any further questions. We're always happy to troubleshoot.
March 29, 2020
I'll try this!
March 30, 2020
Yay! Starting seedlings is one of our favorite springtime activities. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!
March 27, 2020
This is a great idea can't wait to try it
We can't wait to hear how it goes, Susan! Spring seedling time is one of our favorite times of year 😊
March 25, 2020
Great!!!! and all natural
You'll have to let us know if you try it, Terry!
May 10, 2019
Thanks, Pete! We hope you get the chance to start some of your favorite flower or vegetable seeds in our eggshells this spring!
March 19, 2019
March 28, 2016