Friday, March 11, 2011

Cheap seed starting: egg cartons & a freezer

A bit over a week ago I was feeling a little cooped up in the house, and I decided that I would start some seeds. I began by getting some onion seeds ready to check their germination rates. I had previously cut up some old egg cartons into plant-specific groups and labeled them. The picture shows the cartons cut up for some of my peppers and tomatoes.
Then I put some dirt in old egg cartons and I put one pepper seed in each cup. Last year I had a very hard time thinning my pepper plants, and so to avoid that this year, I planted only one seed in each cup, and just planted more cups than I wanted plants, so that instead of snipping any extra plants later on, I could give extras away, or trade them for different varieties (not that I will have room for them, but...)
I covered the seed, moistened the soil, and put the complete carton in a plastic grocery bag, then I set the wrapped carton on the old carton's lid, which I hadn't cut into plant-specific sections. This way the old lid is a base keeping the cut up carton together, but because it is outside of the bag it doesn't get wet. Cost - free! The soil isn't the greatest, but I decided to spend my money on seeds this year, and use mixed garden soil and sand instead of buying potting or seed starting soil.
 Next I put the egg carton on the top of my freezer, and let the freezer be the gentle bottom heat the pepper seed packets recommended. Yesterday I noticed that some of the seeds are poking their newly germinated heads above ground, so I moved the carton out to the sunporch where I have my grow light set up. I'll keep monitoring them, since it is colder on the sunporch than I would really like, but until I get a heating pad to put under the seeds, that's the best I can do. If I notice them not doing well, I can always start moving them in to the dining room table every night, time consuming as that will be!


  1. Congrats on getting your seeds started. It won't be long 'til you're harvesting onions for something delicious! daisy

  2. Wow--this is a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing it--I wish I'd have thought of it. This will be very helpful.

  3. Hey, great idea about using the freezer for warmth! I hadn't thought of that! Thanks for sharing this at the Homestead Barn Hop!

  4. I love it when the sprouts begin! So fun! Love the use of egg cartons, too.


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