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Paper Egg Carton Seed-Starting

Supplies:

paper egg carton, any size |scissors | ice pick or sharp screwdriver

soilless seed-starting mix | water spray-mist bottle with lukewarm distilled water

seeds | labels | plastic wrap

First, cut off the top of the carton. Save it for later.

 Next, poke a few small holes in the bottom of each egg "cell." These are for drainage.

Then sprinkle soilless seed-starting mix in the bottom of each cell 'til they're more than half-full. Mist with water just 'til it's moist.

Place two seeds in each cell. This is in case one doesn't germinate. Later, you'll choose the strongest one and cut the second one off at ground level and discard.

Cover the seeds with a light sprinkling of soil and spray-mist again. Remember to label your seeds! Most seedlings look remarkably alike!

Now take the lid you cut off earlier so that it looks like one long container. It is going to become your "tray." Place a layer of plastic wrap over it, hanging an inch off all sides.

Place the carton half that contains the cells into the lid so that it "nests." The lid will act as a support to the carton half, because when it gets wet, the paper sides will get weak, and you don't want it to fall apart.

If you'd rather water your seedlings from below, you can place the egg carton on a cookie sheet filled with water once a day for a few minutes.

The seeds should sprout in a week or so. You can see the germination time on the back of the seed packet. Check every day. Most seeds don't need light to germinate, but a few do. Again, check the seed packet for details.

When seedlings have sprouted, you can water them lightly with lukewarm water from a watering can with a long spout, or other small-nozzled container.

When the plants are large enough, cut the cells apart and plant them, paper and all, directly into garden. The egg carton is biodegradable and the soil will help the plant with nutrients.

            It is wise to carefully cut the paper of each egg cell and pull it apart to make it easy for the roots to spread into the soil, if the paper hasn't degraded by the time the roots are ready to grow.

            This is a good solution for starting corn from seed.

By Susan Darst Williams • www.KidsGardenClub.org • Start-Ups 05 © 2010

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