June 24th, 2021
Guest blogger Tracy Jones is back with another easy, engaging activity to encourage kids to explore the flora and fauna of the natural world. Eggshell seedlings are a fun way to introduce your kiddos to the cycle of life in the garden by starting plants from seeds. Kids and adults alike will be amazed watching seedlings pop like magic through the soil on their way to becoming flowers, vegetables, and herbs.
We love starting seedlings in recycled eggshells. Used eggshells are the perfect size for smaller seeds, and they can easily sit right in their original egg carton on a sunny windowsill. Once the seedlings have sprouted and grown two to three sets of true leaves, the eggshells can be transplanted straight into the garden.
Here's how to do it:
1. Prepare the eggshells: Carefully crack your eggs so that you have at least half the shell intact and rinse with soap and water. Since little hands will be handling the eggshells, I like to lay the eggshells out on a baking tray and bake them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. This will ensure no harmful bacteria is present. Place a clean, empty eggshell in each compartment of the egg carton.
2. Plant the seeds: Fill each eggshell almost to the top with seed starting soil. We used Coast Of Maine Seed Starter. Choose your seeds. Smaller seeds are better since our eggshells are quite small (beans, for example, would outgrow the eggshells almost immediately). We chose a theme for our windowsill garden— color—and planted a variety of colorful flower seeds including zinnias, coreopsis, cosmos, and chives. Follow the directions on the seed packet for planting depth. Also, double up! We put at least two of each seed into each eggshell to increase the likelihood of germination. Water your seeds daily. Don't overwater, as the eggshells do not have drainage holes. You want the soil to be damp, but not soaking wet, with no standing water.
3. Watch them grow: Observe your seedlings each day to check for little sprouts. Most seeds will germinate in 2-7 days.
4. Transplant into the garden: Once your seedlings have two or three sets of true leaves they can be transplanted into larger containers or straight into your garden. If two seedlings grow in one eggshell, you can snip the smaller sprout at the base of the stem to give the larger more room to grow. Then, gently crush the bottom of the eggshell to allow the roots to expand out. Eggshells are great for your garden and will provide your seedling with extra calcium that is beneficial for healthy growth.
Happy growing! Don’t forget to download the free printable resource pack available here.
About the Author
Tracy Jones is a creative, outdoorsy mama to two energetic daughters living in southern New Hampshire. She is currently homeschooling her pre-K-aged daughter and spends her days exploring nature, and doing play-based projects that inspire curiosity, creativity, and independence. Tracy has bicycled across the US twice and runs a vintage clothing shop on Etsy. She and her husband and two children live in a 100-year-old fixer-upper which they are lovingly bringing back to life. You can learn more about Tracy’s creative projects for kids on Instagram.