I don’t know about you, but this time of the year my mailbox typically fills up with a steady stream of seed catalogs. Since I typically order most of my seeds online or buy them at our local nursery, I usually give the catalogs scant attention. But this year I decided to find a purpose for them before they head for the recycling bin and came up with a pretty ingenious egg carton seed starter using images from seed catalogs. The girls were immediately on board. Actually, they were the ones who had triggered the seed starting project to begin with.
“Mommy, Mommy can we plant seeds this weekend?” the Big Naturalist pleaded with me. “Apples and pears and tomatoes and beans and peas!”
“Pleeeeease!” the Little Naturalist chimed in. “I want to do pumpkins and sunflowers!”
It was the middle of February and I knew from our experience with last year’s Nature Table that most of these crops would be way overgrown by the time we could actually transplant them to the garden and flower beds outside. But how could I deny them? Their enthusiasm was contagious.
“I want my room to become a jungle,” the Big Naturalist mused, while frantically gathering empty egg cartons from the garage.
Their initiative made me excited for a couple of reasons.
For one, it gave me a push to start thinking about the garden, which is always a last-minute, poorly planned venture on my end. Secondly, it gave me hope that I’m capable of raising budding gardeners, despite having thumbs black as charcoal myself.
The thing is, even though my garden is not the most prolific, periodically gets neglected, sometimes attracts fascinating critters (tomato horn worms, anyone?) and often suffers from deer damage, it gives me and the girls something to tinker with outside all summer.
Which brings me back to the egg carton seed starters, because that’s where it all begins – planting some tiny seeds while the raised beds are still covered with snow and the gardening days still seem so far off. Not only is it a fun way to get kids involved with spring planting, these planters also give you a unique labeling system that includes a visual reminder of what has been planted!
Egg Carton Seed Starter
- Egg cartons
- Potting soil
- Seed catalogs
- Oven liners (to put the egg cartons on)
How to do it:
- Decide what to plant and get your seeds. If you haven’t yet ordered any seeds for your garden, see what you can collect from fruits and vegetables that you already have on hand. We planted both apple and pear seeds last year – unconventional, yes, but that’s what makes it fun.
- Have your kids cut out pictures from the seed catalogs to match the seeds that you’re planting. You’ll need one picture for each slot in the egg cartons.
- Use the scissors to make small drainage holes on the bottom of the egg cartons.
- Fill the egg cartons with potting soil and plant seeds according to the instructions on the bag.
- Glue the pictures representing each seed on the inside of the lid of the egg carton. The pictures act as a visual reminder of where the different seeds are planted.
- Put the egg cartons on the oven liners and place them in a sunny spot in your child’s room.
- Wait for room to turn into jungle!
Have you started any seeds yet? If so, what have you been planting?
Here are some more fantastic seed starting posts from my fellow bloggers:
Seed Germination for Kids from How Wee Learn
Top 10 Seed Starting Ideas from Nemcsok Farms
Create a Magic Seed Star from Carrots are Orange
DIY Seed Paper from Mommy Loves Trees
Sprouting Seed Activity from Housing a Forest