Spring Cleaning | Garden Starters

Hi!  Melanie from Tip Toe Thirty here again!  You might remember me from my last DIY tutorial with Allison in which I showed you how to convert an empty egg carton into a little sewing kit! But now I'm back with another use for those empty egg cartons.

First of all, this tutorial wouldn't be possible without the laziness of my husband.  We all have those pet peeves about our loved ones, and mine is the fact that when Jason cracks open an egg he puts the egg shell back into the carton.  And leaves it there.  He doesn't throw it away (or better: compost it.)  He just leaves it there.  This was as annoying to me as sitting down to pee and then realizing there's no toilet paper because the person in front of you didn't replace it!  So one day, during a rare creative moment, it came to me!  Biodegradable Seedling Starters.


Sure, you can buy the biodegradable peat pots (and I still have some extras lying around from last year that I'll use) but why not put things to use that you already have around the house?    Talk about being green and saving green! :-)

Alright, so what do you need?


Seeds, gloves, soil, shovel (I ended up using a spoon because my daughter didn't want to share her blue one,) egg carton, and empty egg shells.  I even ran out of egg shells and planted some directly into the (paper) egg carton.  Just make sure you have something underneath of it when you're watering!  And I wouldn't recommend doing that in the Styrofoam egg cartons, because you can't plant them directly into the ground.

Step 1: Break down your soil to get rid of all the big clumps.


Step 2: Place a little bit of soil in the bottom of each egg.


Step 3: Place a couple seeds in each egg shell.  (My daughter was "helping" so we went a little overboard.)


Step 4: Now would be a good time to label your rows so you don't forget what is where after you cover it with soil!  In this egg carton I did some of my herbs; Rosemary, Chive, and Cilantro.  In my second carton I did cucumbers and tomatoes.  I usually buy my cukes and tomatoes already started from home depot because I don't like to take chances on NOT getting those two veggies, but since I'm starting my seeds a bit early for demonstration purposes, I decided to start them now since I have plenty of time to see if they take.


This would be a good time to mention to make sure you keep your empty seed packets.  They have all sorts of vital information from germination time, to average harvest time, to how to preserve your veggies and herbs.  For instance, some herbs need freezing and drying and others need to just be dried.  I've already forgotten which of the three herbs I've planted need to be frozen so I'm glad I have my packets tucked away! :-)


Step 5 + 6: Cover seeds with soil and press.  (Don't press too hard- you don't want to break the shells.)


Step 7: Water.  (The only time I've used my gravy boat in 7 years.  Isn't it cute?)


Step 8: Store in a place that gets lots of sun.  If you're like me and have all good windows that face north & south just give it lots of outside time on warm days!


So, how do you know when to plant your seeds?  Just check the germination dates on the back of the seed packets.  For instance, my first outdoor gardening weekend is Mother's Day weekend.  That's when it's suggested we plant outside in these parts (Kentucky.)  My rosemary takes 15-25 days to germinate.  So if I count backwards 25 days from May 8th then I should plant my indoor seeds around April 13th.  Now, obviously I'm a little early but I wanted to be sure to give everyone enough time to gather their items and do their math to take advantage of planting this year, so I'll either have some really strong seedlings or I'll have to plant a little early.

This will be my Fourth year to have a vegetable garden, so I am in no way a PRO, but if you have any questions leave them below or come stop by my blog and I'd be happy to help.

Thanks and "see" you guys all again real soon!


  1. Thanks for posting this! I use organic eggs, which always come in a paper carton, so I'll be able to do this project. Also, my mom gave me her topsy turvy planters, so I'm going to try growing tomatoes again this year!

  2. wow this post is so awesome! i love the idea of using egg shells! i am hoping to get to the garden on sunday...i have my work cut out for me! weeds galore and i need to plant some more greens!


  3. Good Luck with your tomatoes! Last year I had so many that I was begging people to take them. :-)
    --Melanie from Tip Toe Thirty

  4. Great idea!!! I'll have to show my mom this, she'll love it!

  5. thank you so much for posting this! i thought my husband was the only one who does leaves the egg shells in there and it drives me nuts! not only do i think there's more eggs when there aren't... i can never get the shells out of the carton. great solution!

  6. I saw this on the Martha Stewart website too this month. Cute idea.


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to know what you think!