Spring is here, and now is a great time to start germinating seeds and teaching kids about where their food comes from. You don’t need a greenhouse or heat lamp — just seeds, soil, and an egg carton.
Planting seeds and watching them sprout will get your children excited about science, while also helping them become responsible stewards of the Earth. Planting seeds is a fun way to teach children the lifecycle of their favorite fruits and veggies, and may even get them eating more greens.
Here’s how to plant (and grow) seeds in a recycled egg carton:
What You Need
- 1 egg carton
- 1 sharpened pencil
- scissors or a sharp knife
- 4 cups of potting mix: you’ll need good quality mix designed to grow seedlings. It needs to be lightweight, composed of finer particles (to make it easy for the roots to grow), and it shouldn’t contain any fertilizers. Do not use soil from your garden or re-use soil from your houseplants. This is the seed starter potting mix that I use.
- 1 cup of water
What to Do
- Cut off the top of the egg carton and set aside.
- Use a pencil to poke a hole at the bottom of every egg cell. See picture below.
- Prepare the potting mixture. Put four cups of mix in a bucket or bowl and pour in the cup of water. Use your hands (or your kiddo’s hands) to mix. You want your mixture to be moist, but not liquid mud. You may need to add more potting mix or more water depending on your mix and the size of your egg cartons. Just make sure the mix is wet, but not soaked.
- Fill 3/4 of each egg cell with the potting mixture.
- Plant seeds according to seed packet instructions. Don’t put more than three seeds into each cell. I planted tomatoes, but you can plant strawberries, peppers, herbs, etc.
- Place egg carton on top of the egg carton cover that you cut off in Step 1. Now you have a drainage tray.
- Cover your egg carton with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area (above the fridge will work). The plastic wrap will help keep the soil moist. The soil always needs to be moist, so when you notice it’s losing moisture gently water it (I like using a spray bottle).
- When seedlings start to pop up, make sure you have only one seedling per cell. Cut off the weaker seedlings in each cell. You don’t have to remove the roots. Just cut them off where their stem meets the soil.
- Move the egg carton to a sunny spot like a window sill, and when seedlings grow their first “true leaves,” replant them into larger containers.
- Depending on your potting mix, you may need to use a fertilizer on your seedlings (if your plants are yellowish green, it’s a sign that they’re not getting enough nutrients).