Extreme Frugality – Using Eggshells as Seed Starter Containers

by Brian F – this is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

I think spring has arrived! Although I will be more certain once April has passed.  With all this warm weather I have stated my more intensive spring cleaning. I have been working the vacuum cleaner pretty hard the last few days.  Now having an inside dog and cat there is a lot of animal fur that gets shredded.

When I empty the vacuum, it’s a bagless model, the contents go to either my worm bin, or to my compost bin.  Also living in this area dust is a never ending battle. The contents of the vacuum contain dog and cat fur, my hair, as it seems I shed as much as they do plus the dust dirt and other small electronic pieces that hit the floor that I never find again.  I’ve notice that I always seem to have a good crop of wild mushrooms each spring in the two bins.  I’m seriously considering a button mushroom kit to see if I can keep it going year round continuously.

Also, the seed starting bug has bitten, checking prices of peat cups in the stores and I’m appalled by the scalping prices.  And peat is not really a renewable resource. So I feel back to a technique I read of years again.  Using eggshells for stater cups. This is not without a mishap or three. I selected some of the larger farm eggs I have, then I gently (not gently enough with the first couple ) tapped them against the bottom of a coffee cup. I wanted to break a hole in the large end, big enough to pour the egg out into a hot skillet. After a few try’s I achieved moderate success! Yea me! Afterward, I rinsed the inside of the shells and let them dry.

My favorite seed starting mix is age rabbit litter mixed with worm castings, and as I write this I think of Amanda’s reaction when she learned what casting are!  But on to the point, I’ll mixed in ratio about 3/4 to 1/4, fill the shells about halfway.  I’ll put a couple of seeds in each shall and spoon a bit of castings over the seeds to lightly cover them.  Then as they sprout and grow I can add more litter and castings to them.

I use an egg carton to hold the shells and place them in a East or southern window so they stay warmer and can get light as soon as they break through!  Once the last threat of cold weather is gone, the hardening off process starts. I put them out, first for short periods and gradually extend the time they are out till they are ready to go in a raised bed. When planting gently, and I do mean gently crush the shells and peel them back. Have the holes ready first and plant with liberal amounts of political promises, oops, I meant aged litter and castings!

The cost of this is really nothing, I recycled everything to start the seeds. The only cost would be the seeds themselves if you had to go buy them.  Most everyone I know saves seeds from season to season or trades for them.

I am often ask why I bother to plant my little garden, when it’s cheaper to buy at the super store, well lets back up, what did the garden cost me besides a bit of time that I did not spend in front of a TV, or monitor? Nothing! What does fresh veggies cost from the stores, quite a lot! Also, the veggies that are commercially farmed do not have the nutrient value as those grown at home and side dressed with your good compost.

Also, we can mulch with paper, cardboard, and grass clippings that over wise would go to some land fill.  And mulching draws in the best cultivator of all! Earthworms! They will till and aerate your garden, keeping the soil soft for the plants to grow.

The only expenditure we have is bits of time here and there. So compare the benefits of seed starting like this to the cost of nutrient deficient food, you, me, all make out. We make in so many ways!  I hope everyone has a good month!

What do you use as seed starting containers?

Prizes For This Round (Ends on June 7, 2017) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

First Prize a $999 value:

  1. Numanna Organic Family Pack Bucket a $399 value from LPC Survival Ltd.
  2. CampingSurvival Gear Pack a $400 value from Camping Survival.com.
  3. A $200 gift certificate of prepper books from Prepper Press.

Second Prize a $650+ value:

  1. A case of .308 ammo or $300 off Ammo selection of your choice from LuckyGunner.
  2. A Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Mill with the Masa/Nut Butter Auger, Drill Bit Attachment, and Bicycle Sprocket Kit a $325 value from ChefBrad.com

Third Prize a $310+ value:

  1. $300 gift certificate from GunMag Warehouse.
  2. A copy of The Prepper’s Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How


  1. Guybrushlives says:

    K cups mixed with some used coffee grounds work pretty well. Enter than throwing them away!

  2. Some things are cheaper to buy at the supermarket but fresh salad greens are not one of them. One bag of romaine lettuce is $3.50, One flat of 10 romaine seedlings cost me $3.50 and provided dozens of salads.
    For several years my mustard greens only cost a handful of fertilizer. At the end of the season I would let them go to seed, in the fall after plowing the garden dozens of volunteer plants would spring up.

  3. patientmomma says:

    I dry my egg shells and run them thru the blender then give them to the animals for a calcium vitamin boost. For seed starters I use what ever is laying around. My neighbors give me boxes of yogurt so I save the containers. I just poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and let them grow. I’ve made newspaper cups that disintegrate well. Several years ago I had some left over clear plastic glasses that I liked to use because I could see the roots.

  4. tommy2rs says:

    I use all my eggshells for compost and fertilizer, not to mention slug control so I do these instead

    Easy Newspaper Pots
    plain paper or parchment paper works as well if your fussy about newsprint. I’ve used these for years. If you want a smaller size use a tomato paste can.

    or use toilet paper/paper towel rolls and scissors to make pots.

  5. mom of three says:

    Because our spring time verys I usually just sow my seeds in the dirt, or they go right into pots, in the month of May. For lettuce, or radishes, I start them in the middle of April, but I have used egg shells, and the peat pots too. I don’t have a lot of room but I can have big pots all over my deck, patio, with tomatoes, potatoes, celery, lots of herbs in pots, stawberries, in pots. Blueberrys in large pots, this year I’m going to transplant them very soon. You just have to know what grows in your area and making sure you have large enough pots to give the plants room
    to grow.

  6. Almost There says:

    Good article Brian. So many uses for things if we only used our imagination. Unfortunately, I don’t have rabbits or a composting bin… The bin is on the list, but not the rabbits… Not there yet… Sad that we are tearing up the earth in order to get peat… How far will it go? Till there’s no more I’m afraid. Thanks for sharing an alternative starter process for my seeds.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!