Planting in egg shells – eight reasons
Planting in egg shells vs. a couple of other methods. Egg shells are my favorite starter container.
I have tried the method of planting in bathroom paper rolls. I did not have a good experience with this. The cardboard was a perfect water holding and mold growing medium. Mold ended up growing under these conditions and ruining the seed/seedlings. No doubt I simply watered too much and if I had not wet the soil so much I might not have had this problem. Still, after that, I prefer to stick with a container that does not encourage damping off and other water/mold diseases.
For the same reason I will not be doing the bathroom paper roll planters again, I will not do to the newspaper ones either. Besides not having the water holding issues with the egg shells, I also don’t have to take the time to “make” the egg shell planters. The paper ones require pressing and folding and maybe taping.
More reasons I like planting in egg shells.
Planting in Egg shells is free. At least they are if you eat eggs anyway. Anything that works well, and is free, is hard to beat.
Egg shells won’t leak. We do not have a green house. I start all of our plants in our front room. I like the fact that I don’t have to worry about them leaking water through on the floor or window seals. Because they will not drain, you do have to take care not to over water them.
Egg shell cartons fit nicely on our window ledge. The cartons can sit on the floor until the plants germinate. Once the green is up, I sit them on the window ledge until they are ready to be transplanted to larger containers or into the garden.
Egg shells don’t take up a lot of room. I used to start my seeds in larger traditional plastic plant containers. This allows the plants to grow for quite a while before needing to be transplanted, but it also took up a good bit of space in the house. Some of the plants take a couple of weeks to germinate. It is nice to have the extra space that smaller planting containers give – to your kitchen or living room floor.
You can purchase smaller compact planting trays with will avoid the space problem mentioned above, but that gives a couple of other problems. These tiny compartment trays are often fairly wide, so they won’t fit in a window seal. Also, not all seeds will germinate and this waste sun space if you are growing indoors. The next reason will explain this.
Planting in Egg shells does not leave an empty spot. Not all seeds will germinate. So if I started seeds in a traditional 4 pack tray and only 3 seeds germinate, then an empty space it taking up my limited spot in the sun. And if you start in the 100 count seed starter trays, you may end up with 25 non-germinated spots hogging the sun. If I start them in egg shells, only the seeds that germinate will be moved to a sunny location. The rest can sit in a windowless room or shaded spot if need be. Once the plants have outgrown the egg shells, they can then be transplanted into a traditional 4 pack if desired. I like to transplant into containers that fit inside the egg carton top, that way they can still sit on the window seal.
Egg shells make it easy on the plant to be transplanted. I have often had to pull on the steams of plants to get them out of plastic containers. This could cause a broken stem, especially in a young tender plant. All I have to do with the egg shells is peal it gently off.
Egg shells can be written on with a marker. I like being able to write the name of each plant on the egg shell. I usually place the same seeds in one egg carton. So, I might have a dozen Rutger tomatoes, a dozen cherry tomatoes, a dozen yellow pear tomatoes, and a dozen Roma tomatoes. But once they start to germinate, only the germinated ones get moved to the limited amount of sun in the room, and the rest sit in the dusk. So I might end up with an egg container that has 2 Romas, 5 Rutgers, 2 cherries, and 3 yellow pears. The name on the egg shells keeps them from getting mixed up.
I have not dated the egg shells in previous years, but I might this year. I often do several plantings every couple of weeks of the same thing. Sometimes when I am watering the seeds, I wonder if this is one I recently planted and needs to be watered, or if it is one I planted 4 weeks ago and needs to be tossed because it is not going to germinate. Having a date on the egg shells would avoid this.
Egg shells are good for the garden. We toss all our egg shells in the garden. When I plant tomato plants, I crush some egg shells into each planting hole. The calcium is good for the plants and soil. Lack of calcium is said to one of the reasons tomatoes get blossom end rot. I sometimes sprinkle it around the top soil of a plant as well. Some folks say the sharp edges of the shells will cut into the soft skin of cut worms and other harmful worms that eat at the base of the plants and keep them away. I can’t say for sure this works, but it does no harm to do it anyway.