How to Start Seeds in Eggshell Cups

Around this time of year, I like to start seeds using eggshells.  Since egg production is ramping up, we've got eggs to spare, so I have already started saving the shells after I make breakfast.

I like to plant my seeds in eggshells so the calcium carbonate in the shells will help nourish the growing plants - plus they make free, 'green' seed cups. You can plant them right in the ground when your seedlings are ready to go outside.

So save a few eggshells after breakfast this week and get planting!

Sunflowers are one of the types of seeds that I love to plant. It's easy and inexpensive to do and the chickens love sunflower seeds, but really any type of seeds will work.

What you Need

An egg carton, egg tray or sectioned tray (I like to use these ceramic egg trays)
Enough eggs to fill the tray or carton
Package of sunflower seeds
Safety or sewing pin
Squirt bottle or small pitcher

How to Start Seeds in Eggshells Cups

Poke a hole in the blunt end of the egg with a pin and wiggle it around to enlarge it a bit.  Then carefully crack the top third of the egg and remove it, then rinse the inside and remove the membrane if you wish. 

Arrange the shell 'cups' in your egg carton or tray. 

Fill each shell 3/4 of the way with seed starting mix.  Put two or three sunflower seeds in each 'cup' and press them into the soil. Then cover with more soil. 

Give a light watering and put the tray on a sunny windowsill. Keep the soil moist, and in two to three weeks you should see the seeds start to sprout.  

After the danger of frost has passed in your area, you can plant the cups outside. Just crush the shell a bit with your fingers before planting in the ground to help the plant roots push through. Space the cups 16" apart.  

Keep them watered and when the seedlings are 3-4 inches tall, thin out any that you need to for 16" spacing. With any luck, by July 1st, we all should have big, beautiful sunflowers !  

Here we are the beginning of June already.

Once the sunflowers bloom, enjoy the cheery yellow flowers, and then cut the flower heads when the backs turn yellow and hang them in a warm dry place to dry the seeds.

Save the seeds for your chickens or the wild birds, and remember to save some seeds for next year! 

The eggshell cups work with other kinds of seeds also and especially those that can suffer blossom end rot like tomatoes will benefit from the added calcium the shells provide.

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  1. I hope you'll join us and spread some cheer on Sunday !

  2. I have bookmarked this for a time when I can use it. :o)

    I wonder if you could do all your seeds this way? Would certainly be handy!
    I think my hubby would be wanting first dibs. ;o)

    1. Hi Linda ! The post isn't complete until you have commented :0)

      Actually you could start all your seeds this way. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant especially benefit from the calcium that leaches out of the shell - since they are susceptible to blossom rot.

    2. You are very kind, Lisa. ♥

      And thank you for the confirmation. I definitely want to do my peppers and tomatoes this way so I was hoping you would say that. Thanks again for your post!

  3. I used this method to start some squash and lettuce seeds recently. If you are planting more that one kind of seed, you can label the egg with marker, so you know what's inside.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I feed the black oil sunflower seeds to the girls. I see you are planting the large sun flower. I have never fed the striped seed to them. Are you telling me, and I hope you are, it is okay to feed the striped seed?

    As always thanks for the information.
    You can count me in. I am planting a chicken garden this year.

    1. Yes they can eat, and love, all kinds of seeds. Mine aren't too fond of the black oil seeds - I think they are too lazy to break them open ! I am hoping these larger seeds they will feel its worth the effort !

  6. Hello, I am wondering if I can plant the black oil seeds.

  7. Love this! I want to plant inside my chickens free range area ...will they eat sunflowers? Thank you! :)

    1. They will eat them. I would fence the seedlings off with chicken wire or bird netting until they get to be at least two feet tall so they chickens can't eat them! Won't hurt the chickens tho if they do.

  8. Lovin' this idea and I have some eggshells - AND - I'm going to be starting seeds in the greenhouse tomorrow. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing.

  9. We did ours yesterday GREAT IDEA. My daycare kids loved it!!

  10. I'd like to add a link to this post when I do this project. I'm saving eggshells already!