Start Seeds in an Egg Carton

Author Renata Fossen Brown wisely states, “Gardening is a personal endeavor, and whatever makes you happy should be what you do.” Hear, hear, Renata! Gardening is a joy for people of all ages, and gardening with kids can be a true delight. In addition to guiding readers through 52 fun garden projects, Renata’s book Gardening Lab for Kids offers kids the opportunity to try new skills, explore the world around them, and take happy, respectful ownership of the outdoors. From a DIY sprinkler to a salsa garden, kids will discover an abundance of ways they can develop their green thumb and seek happiness in the process. In this tutorial for starting seeds in an egg carton, Gardening Lab for Kids invites kids to be part of the early stages of bringing a garden to life.

Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids

Starting seedlings indoors is an easy way to save money because a packet of seeds is much cheaper than a tray full of plants. It’s also a great way to start gardening earlier in the season rather than having to wait until it warms up outside.

Before starting this Lab, cover your workspace with newspapers and gather your materials.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Permanent marker
  • Cardboard egg carton
  • Seed-starting mix
  • Spoon or small trowel
  • Seeds: tomato, hot pepper, sweet pepper, and so on
  • Spray bottle

Dig In!

1. Use a permanent marker to label the lid of the egg carton with the names of the seeds you will plant in each segment. Using a spoon or small trowel, fill each indentation with soil. (Fig. 1)

Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids

Fig. 1: Fill each segment with soil.

2. Plant your seeds to the proper depth (read the package directions for each type of seed). (Fig. 2)

Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids

Fig. 2: Plant your seeds.

3. Use your spray bottle to water your seeds. A spray bottle, as opposed to a watering can, lightly waters your seeds so they don’t wash away. (Fig. 3)

Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids

Fig. 3: Gently water your seeds.

4. Close the lid on your container and put it somewhere warm. Check your seeds daily. Once plants begin to pop through the soil, keep the lid open and make sure your seeds get plenty of light. If using an artificial light, keep your seedlings 1″ to 2″ (2.5 to 7.5 cm) from the light. When your seedlings are ready to transplant outside, cut the egg carton sections apart. Based on the seed package directions, plant your seedlings (egg carton section and all) in the ground at the directed distance apart from each other. Water your plants in well. (Fig. 4)

Dave Brown / Gardening Lab for Kids

Fig. 4: Keep the seeds warm and check daily for growth.

Dig Deeper!  Tips for starting seeds indoors:

–Once seeds sprout, use a ruler to measure your plants every morning. Create a chart to keep track of how much they grow every day. You’ll be surprised how fast some seedlings grow!

Plant seeds indoors six to ten weeks before your last frost date. You can look up this information online or in gardening books. Every area’s frost date is different, so look up your own. At www.plantmaps.com, you can enter your ZIP code to find the last date in the spring your area typically gets frost.

–As your seedlings get taller, lower them from the light source so that the tops of your plants still remain 1″ to 2″ (2.5 to 5 cm) below it. If your light source can be raised higher, do that; if not, place your egg carton on books or cans that you can remove gradually to lower the plants away from the light.


For more information about this topic check out Gardening Lab for Kids

Gardening Lab for Kids

52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden

  • Renata Brown (author)

A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own garden, this book encourages families to enjoy nature. It features 52 fun and creative plant-related activities set into weekly lessons.

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