Starting Seedlings in Egg Shells: A Nutrient Boost for Your Garden

Eggshell seedlings

Okay guys, these get a bad wrap! Here's why: Egg shells are a small space, too small for good roots to establish. To counter this, be sure to break them open when they get their second set of leaves (more on this below). They will soften in time if you don't. Also, you can boil in water and soak for 5 min to eliminate bacterial growth. Poke a hole in the bottom for good drainage and you should be good to go!

Here's the benefit: In the early stages of growth, fast-growing plants have a high demand for calcium, quickly depleting the soil. Egg shells provide an ideal solution as they are composed of 96% calcium carbonate.


As I mentioned above, be prepared to transplant seedlings when their "true leaves" start to grow. What are "true leaves"? When a seed germinates, it sends up one or two leaves - monocots or dicots, depending on the type of plant. True leaves will emerge after these first one or two leaves. Tomatoes are dicots and corn will be a monocot. 

Here are the step by step directions if you are ready to give it a go!

  1. Prepare the Egg Shells: Save your egg shells after cooking as long as 50% or more of the egg shell remains. Rinse and set aside.

  2. Crack the Egg Shells: Once the egg shells are dry, gently poke a hole to create a small opening at the bottom. This will allow for drainage once the seedlings are planted.

  3. Boil the Egg Shells: To eliminate any potential bacterial growth, boil the egg shells in water for 5 minutes. Let dry completely. This step is optional but can help ensure a healthier environment for your seedlings.

  4. Plant the Seeds: Fill each eggshell with potting soil and plant one or two seeds per shell. Press the seeds lightly into the soil and water them gently.

  5. Care for Your Seedlings: Place the eggshell seedlings in a sunny spot and water them regularly. As the seedlings grow, be prepared to transplant them into larger pots or directly into the garden once they have established their "true" leaves. 

  6. Transplanting: Wait until the seedlings have developed their second set of leaves, known as "true" leaves, before transplanting them. This ensures that the seedlings are strong enough to survive the transplant process.

  7. Enjoy the Process: Gardening is not just about the end result but also about the process. Enjoy watching your seedlings grow with your little ones at home and look forward to the sunny spring day when you can transplant them into your garden.

Plants that Benefit from Egg Shells:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Amaranth

Plants that Prefer Different Conditions:

  • Blueberries
  • Azaleas
  • Geraniums
  • Any plants that thrive in acidic soil


What are your plans for spring planting? Click here to access your free downloadable garden planning spreadsheet. Share your gardening aspirations in the comments below!

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