Eggshells: Nature’s Perfect Seed Starters

Don't spend good money on throwaway plastic seed starters. Use the ones nature provides for free!

It might not be spring yet, but the time for starting seeds is just now! If you have a greenhouse, or a sunny window at home, you can begin planting and growing seeds indoors now, to transplant in your kitchen garden. Gardeners know the importance of enriching the soil. So, here’s an easy, natural and inexpensive way to give your vegetable plants a great start and enrich your garden bed in the process —eggshells!

Saving The Shells

Save your egg cartons and organic eggshells. Keep an empty egg carton in the kitchen. As you crack an egg, place the empty shell halves in the egg carton. If the egg didn’t crack evenly, place it in the egg carton anyway. You can place another eggshell on top of it. When your carton is filled with eggshells, you’re ready to fill them with a quality potting soil, seeds and water. Place in front of a sunny window, or beneath a grow light to give your spring planting a jump start.

use eggshells

Crack That Shell!

When it’s time to transfer your seedlings outdoors, tap the bottom of the eggshell with a hand trowel to crack it and plant the seedling within its shell directly into your garden bed. Cracking the shell will ensure proper drainage and allow the shell to start decomposing and nourishing the plant roots and garden soil.

Stock photography - Soil

Eggshells are an organic, biodegradable plant pot that adds calcium, nitrogen and phosphoric acid to your garden soil. Eggshells are also useful as a snail deterrent, protecting tender garden plants. Check out these other uses for eggshells.

Happy Spring Gardening!

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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Sue Schneider

Make sure to break the shell apart thoroughly before planting out. Just like with peat pots, roots can become trapped inside and never allow the plant to grow to full potential. Better idea would be to carefully tip the root ball out of the shell before transplanting.


But then you don’t have the eggshell in there to add nutrients to the soil

Terry Young

This goes along with another tip I was given. A friend of mine told me his grandmother placed a whole unbroken egg in the bottom of the hole when planting tomato plants.As the plant grew it got calcium from the eggshell. When it started putting on tomatoes it was getting nitrogen from the yolks & grew some BIG tomatoes! I tried it last year & had great results. I also did this with my green pepper & jalapeno plants. They produced amazingly. This year I’ll start them is shells & put an egg in the hole too.

Charles Bocock

Protects your seeds while there growing and cuts your germination time inhalf.
Use a ration of 4 drops of hydrogen peroxide and 6 drops of water and soak your
seeds over night the day before planting by the moon. You will get amazing results.
Charles M.G.

Patsy Gerber

I was born in 1933 and as far back as I can remember my grandparents and then my parents started some seedlings early in egg shells. Everyone lived out in the country and raised their own chickens. Always had beautiful vegetable gardens which I still love to this day.

Lois Carver

I am 78 and still learning. Thanks for the tip.


You’re in 13th grade! 🙂

F Monique

Do you rinse out the egg shells ?


Wonderful! Imjustvfound my seeds for hot hot peppers from Italy and Ecuador! Will do it tomorrow. I happen to have a south facing kitchen window.,thanks!


egg shells does wonders for onions to I have my already started useing yes both egg shells and coffee grounds & orange peels they are growing really great

paul Mitchell

That the neatest idea I ever herd of


My grandpa always crunched up eggshells and coffee grounds directly into the garden, especially for tomatoes. I picked up on this but never thought to put those nutrients to use by planting in the eggshells. Wonderful idea. Thanks!

Connie Greenfield

By the way, I try very hard to plant by the moon. Planted the seeds with the moon, in egg shells and they are doing great. I’ve planted with the moon for 43 yrs, Gramma Sturtevant taught me. No other way is there? Seeds and plants grow but not as well as with the moon. People laugh at me when I talk about it but I don’t care. I know it works!


More detail on that please!!! Do you go out at night and plant when it’s a full moon? Love your idea and want to try

Connie Greenfield

I did this. They are by far the best plants. The seeds that were planted in plugs are ok but not as good as the ones in the egg shells!

Jake R

This would be especially good starting cucumbers as they loved egg shells.


My grandfather was using this method, back in the 60’s. Just thought it was being frugal.

Zeta B.

Thank you so much for this brand new exciting way to start seeds, I’ve been gardening a lot of a lot of years, and this is the first time I’ve seen this idea. So unique. Definitely will be using this technique starting right now.

Anne M.

Do the egg shells need to be organic?

Jaime McLeod

Hi Anne, No. All “organic” means for eggs is that the chickens are fed organic feed. Any old eggs will do.

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