Seed Starting Tips
By Sandy Swegel
If truth be told, growing seeds and especially food is really just a hobby for me. I do it quite earnestly and often obsessively, but it’s not like I’m not going to eat if I don’t grow my own food. That has not always been true for my ancestors or for people around the world. If they don’t grow their own gardens, they don’t eat. And they don’t have extra money to buy fancy seed-germinating setups.
A great-grandmother I met described for me how she went about seed starting back in the Depression of the 1930s living on the plains in Colorado. It’s a method that she still uses because it works so well and costs nothing. In her retirement she lives in a city townhome and but she still gardens in big pots on her patio…and each Spring she has egg-carton trays full of eggs with seedlings on her windowsill.
We’ve often heard of putting potting soil right into egg cartons. But if you plant right into the eggshell, you don’t end up with broken soggy cartons…and you putting calcium right into the garden where you need it. People who keep earthworms know that earthworms need calcium for reproduction. Eggshells in compost and in the soil make for more earthworms and better soil.
It’s super simple to start your seeds in eggshells. Save some egg shells. You’ll want to rinse them out or you’ll get that nasty sulfur smell if you leave old egg inside. Use a pin to pierce a hole or two in the bottom. Fill with some clean potting or germinating soil. That’s it. Absolutely free. Put the eggs into an egg carton on a bright warm windowsill. The eggs keep moisture in much better than the carton would. When it’s time to plant just crumble the base of the eggshell right into the garden before planting.
I sometimes get the clear plastic egg cartons. Those are really useful because the closed plastic makes a great tiny greenhouse.
You already know how to save money if you’re growing seeds. Growing from seed means each plant costs you pennies instead of dollars when you buy plants. Now you don’t have to pay for the seed containers either.
And if you time it right, you can have super cute eggs full of tiny seedlings for table decorations.
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