Last weekend we started some of our vegetable seeds and instead of buying the little seed-starting pots, we decided to reuse our egg cartons, since they are the perfect size. It's super easy to get your seeds started AND be eco-friendly!This is a GREAT project for kids! First, get some organic potting soil and organic seeds so you know there will be no chemicals in your veggies. If you can't get them at your local plant store or nursery, you can get them through Amazon.com at great prices and have them shipped in just a few days (2-days if you have Amazon Prime Membership - click the highlighted text for more info).
I like to start my tomatoes, peppers, peas and carrots early to give them a boost towards their harvest dates and I also got my herbs and radishes started early. Radishes can grow in cooler temps so they are a perfect early spring seed! Radishes and Basil both sprout quickly so they are great for impatient kids!! (and adults!)
To get your "recycled" seed starter ready, simply cut the top of the egg carton off to allow light to get into the seeds. Fill the egg holders with soil all the way to the top - soil will condense when you tap down the planting and add water. Next poke a shallow planting hole with your finger in the center of each dirt area - the depth should be according to planting instructions on the see packets - usually it's about 1/8" - 1/4" for most veggies.
Next - sprinkle a few seeds into each depression. Usually 3 - 5 seeds is plenty to ensure that you have at least a few sprouts per planter but too many will overcrowd the planters and will require more water and quicker transplanting. If you plant more than one type of seed in each egg carton, you can label the pots with a sharpie marker or make mini-plant labels with cardboard and toothpicks!
Next - sprinkle some soil on top of the seeds just to cover lightly, then tap down lightly to firm up the soil. Then it's time to water! Go lightly with water at first, just to allow the water to absorb into the fresh soil. We use a water spray bottle and spray at a distance so as not to disturb the freshly planted seeds. You can add more water in a few minutes after it has soaked in, making sure the soil is consistently moist. Moisture and temperature are very important for seeds to sprout!
Finally, close the egg carton and cover entire thing with plastic - to make this totally recycled, we reused our veggie bags from Whole Foods, which are the perfect size and opacity, and slide the entire egg carton into the bag - allowing for some air to circulate. Place in a bright window sill and check on them every day, spritzing them with more water to keep them moist. The plastic will help to keep the soil and seeds moist but make sure there is some air movement so mold doesn't form. When the seedlings are about and inch tall, you can carefully transplant them into the garden (if it is warm enough) or into larger containers to encourage good root growth before transplanting into the garden.
*~ Sprout ~*
PS - Don't forget to enter the Earth Day Giveaway!! Low entries still...