What do cardboard toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, milk cartons, yogurt cups, egg shells, and newspaper have in common?
They can all be used as containers for starting seeds!
Eggshells and yogurt cups need to have holes bored into the bottom for drainage, the milk cartons need to be cut open, and the TP tubes and newspaper require a little bit of finessing to make them the right shape, but all of them are viable options to consider when you don’t want to spend the money on the fancy little plastic trays… and it’s real recycling!
There are tons of ways to start your seeds that don’t involve spending any money, and a quick web search or pinterest search can get you started.
Oh, and with Easter coming, make sure you save the shells from all those hard-boiled and deviled eggs! Tomatoes *love* when you work some crushed eggshell into the soil where they’ll be planted and you really can’t overdo it. I usually give each plant about 4 eggs worth of crushed shells, but I’ve seen recommendations that each plant should get a full dozen!
As for crushing the egg shells, it’s pretty simple and easy to do. They should be completely dry before you start. I don’t usually wash mine, but you can if you want- just give them a quick rinse to get any residual white off of them and then let sit on a paper towel or in a mesh strainer for a couple of hours or more. Once the shells are dry, dump them out on a paper towel, and use the paper towel to contain and crush them up. If your soil is really low in calcium, you can use a spice grinder or food processor to grind them more finely, but I don’t usually do that. I find that I can crush them up small enough by hand. I use an old coffee canister to hold the crushed eggshells until I’m ready to use them.
Tomatoes also like acidic soil, so save some of your used coffee grounds to add into the soil with those eggshells, too. Wet coffee grounds will go moldy, though, so either make sure they’re dry before putting them in a container or keep a plastic bag in the freezer. A fairly fuss free way to get them good and dry is to spread them out on a cookie sheet or baking pan and stick them in the oven after you’ve used the oven to cook something else. Give them a stir after about 15-30 minutes to ensure even drying, and then just let them sit in there for a couple of hours. Then you can load them up into a jar or container until you’re ready to use them. Easy-peasy! 🙂