Eggshell Gardening

Green Tips from Beaver Pond to Your Home

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This month's tip on eggshell gardening comes from Beaver Ponds friend and guest writer Marjorie Gillmeister who left the limelight of New York City to farm organically in Texas on The Gillmeister Ranch established in 1972 by her 90 year old father-in-law with their sweet son Wolfgang.

eggshellsIf you begin your garden from seeds this year, why don't you consider starting seeds in eggshells?  Growing seedlings in eggshell pods is a natural, biodegradable, and environmentally earth-friendly way to recycle and can be planted directly into the soil after being cracked a little with care and supply nourishment to the plant and soil by slowly releasing calcium.

You'll Need:   

  • Eggs
  • Egg carton
  • Seeds 
  • Seed Starter Planting Mix 
  • Small spoon
  • Spray bottle or plant mister 
  • Awl, ice pick, or wide sharp needle 

1. When cracking the eggshells, crack the top part of the egg (narrower point end) with a sharp knife and gently pour the egg from the opening for use.

2. Save eggshells, and rinse well inside and out with warm water. For extra sanitation, boil the shells for a few minutes to make sure all traces of egg residue are cleaned out. If the shells foam up a bit, you will know that you've brought the leftover residue to the surface. 

3. Rinse eggshells again and place them back in their egg carton to dry. Once dry, gently chip any rough edges of the eggs to desired opening size.

4. Use awl, ice pick, or wide sharp needle to puncture a single hole in the middle base of the eggshell. You have then created a drainage hole for your egg planter. I puncture the eggshells from the inside while resting in the egg carton to provide a buffer for it. You may have to remove parts of the thin membrane alongside the eggshell by spraying water gently inside eggshell.

5. With a small spoon, scoop some seed starter planting mix into eggshell to fill.  You may want to carefully shake egg to even out soil.

7. Plant seeds according to seed packet directions to determine depth and any other special care. 

eggshells ready to plant8. Spritz water with spray bottle to moisten soil but not to the point of soggy and place eggshell container in a well-lit area with sun indoors by a window with the most light.

9. Water plants with a gentle spritz with spray bottle each morning to moisten, taking care not to make the soil too soggy. Watch and wait for your seedlings to sprout - usually in a few days depending on seedling emerging time.

10. Once sprouts have grown large enough to transfer (usually 4-6 weeks) thin them out and plant directly into the ground or larger planter after gently cracking the eggshell around them. The roots will grow beyond the eggshell into the soil, the shell will continue to provide nourishment to the plant and surrounding soil, and will eventually biodegrade.

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