While using my local, fresh, free range chicken eggs one day, I looked at the beautiful shell color and remembered something. I had read, at one time, about using eggshells as pots to start seedlings for the garden.
The shells were so pretty that I hated to just throw them out, so I began rinsing the broken shells to save.
Getting Ready to Plant Seeds in Eggshells
Here in central Florida frosts and freezes tend to happen in January and February, if they happen at all. By March the weather seldom gets all that cold, but can be chilly overnight. March is the month to plant in Florida.
However, seeds can be started indoors in February, or sooner, to have little seedlings ready to go into the ground by March. I planted mine in the middle of February.
With my organic bags of dirt – Black Gold by Sungro (Amazon affiliate link)- is what I used, and organic seeds purchased, I filled each eggshell and then stuck seeds down into the soil. Keep the egg cartons to use as the plant tray.
When the weather got nice enough, I put all the cartons outside in the sun for the day. I brought them inside each evening. And checked them often to add water.
Difficulties and Challenges to Eggshell Gardening
Unlike little pots, the eggshells are delicate. One online site said to put a pin hole in the bottom of the shell for drainage. I did not do that because I tried and failed to make a little hole. It is not really necessary as long as you don’t overwater. Also, with a hole in the bottom, the cardboard containers would be wet.
Watering can be challenging. The eggshell pots are very small. They will dry out quickly when outside in the Florida sun. I water the seedlings twice a day, and this is March. Because the pots are so small and I don’t want to overwater and have them sitting in a puddle, I use my pour-over tea pot which has a small thin spout. Alternatively you could use a paper cup or anything that allows you to easily add small amounts of water.
Get the Seedlings Outside During the Day
Each day I put the seedlings – or soil with seeds – outside into the sun. Once the plants begin to grow they will need lots of direct sunlight and also some moving air. When plants grow in slightly windy conditions, it causes the stems to become strong. Or so I’ve heard.
I’m lucky enough to be home all day and can easily do this. Even if the plants can sit in front of a sunny window it will be helpful.
All in all, be ready to spend some time caring for the little pots. You can’t just plant and forget.
Choosing Seeds to Grow in Starter Pots
It is tempting to go overboard when picking out seed packets! I’m picturing the bounty of fresh veggies – arms loaded as I come in from the back yard. Realistically, I certainly don’t have space for many plants and seeds are generally good for one year only.
I love almost all vegetables, but must be picky about which ones I will grow. Fresh herbs are one thing I would use often. My basil and parsley has diminished over the years so I wanted to grow those two things again. I also have had difficulty finding dill plants here in Florida, so I am trying to grow that. Dill and fennel plants have flowers that attract the Swallowtail Butterfly.
Getting to start plants from seeds gives me the chance to learn what’s what in newly sprouted form.
The basil did pretty well, but something did eat some of my basil. I planted as much as I could, filling all the saved eggshells. I knew that some things would do better than others.
My yard needs more flowering plants. Some of these eggshells contain marigolds and cosmos. I plan to plant more of those flower seeds in larger containers as well. Flowers don’t have to be planted in the garden – especially when your garden is made up of a few grow boxes. They can be in containers to save on garden space.
Flowering plants in pots can be moved around the yard as needed to keep bad bugs away and hopefully draw in the beneficials.
Larger seeds such as zucchini and cucumber can go directly into the ground. Let’s face it, I would need a lot more egg shells to get everything started. Also, I don’t know how well transplanting will go. More to come on that!
For now I am keeping up with the shell starters.
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