How to germinate seeds using an egg carton

It’s that time of year! This is the first year I will be planting a garden, so I’m taking it easy and not trying to bite off more than I can chew.

That being said, I’m starting my seeds indoors, so I can get a handle on the process from start to finish.

Things you’ll need

  1. Seeds
  2. Seed starting mixture
  3. Egg Carton

Find out your gardening zone

The first step to this process is making sure your timing is right.

You want your seeds to be sprouted into strong little seedlings before you begin hardening them off and transplanting them outdoors. Coordinating this with when the weather will be warming up is very important.

Generally speaking, you can start your seeds indoors 6 weeks before your last frost date. Find out your zone here.

Prepare your seed starter

Use your seed starting mixture, such as Black Gold. It has fantastic reviews on amazon and ships quickly. Then find an old egg carton, we have been saving ours for the past few months because they’re good for tons of crafts and DIY projects.

I’m using this seed starter for my first batch. It’s light, fluffy, and has excellent reviews!

Poke holds or cut slits in the bottom of each egg carton cell. This allows for drainage of excess moisture, which is critical to keep your seeds from rotting. Make sure you place the cartons on some sort of container to keep water from getting everywhere!

I did almost cut myself doing this step. It’s a tough world for us clumsy folks.

Next, fill each cell three quarters of the way with seed starting soil. Water the soil thoroughly, excess will drain away and leave a nice, moist environment for your seeds to germinate. The germination process is triggered when the seed is in a damp environment, so this step is crucial.

Plant your seeds!

Dig a small hole with your finger to drop your seeds into. Place 2-3 seeds into each hole and tuck them in with seed starting soil by re-covering them gently. Don’t pat it down, you want the top layer of soil to be as light and fluffy as possible so it’s easy for your seeds to break through after they sprout.

This step is optional, but it can be helpful to cover the egg carton in cling wrap to mimic a greenhouse effect. If your home is warm this isn’t absolutely necessary.

Here are my little pepper seeds!

Next, place your egg carton somewhere warm such as on top of the fridge or even on your tv cable box. You want it to be between 60 and 70 degrees for successful germination, so placing them outdoors will be much too cold, while putting them right next to the wood stove will likely be too hot.

Water your seedlings whenever the soil feels dry, it can be once a day to once every day or two depending on the air moisture. (Check out these tips for raising humidity levels in your home!)

That’s it!

Next comes the hardest step.

Have patience.

If your seedlings haven’t poked through after 10 days, your seeds likely did not germinate or sprout correctly. Tweak your process until you find something that works best for your seeds and your environment J

Check back in a few days to see my seedling progress!

Do you start seeds this way? Do you have a homemade seed starter recipe? Let me know in the comments!

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