Egg Carton Seed Starters

2 Materials
$5
30 Minutes
Easy

Want to start your seeds for your spring garden but don't have any peat cups? No worries! Use an egg carton to create your own seed starter cups at home!

This is a super fun and quick DIY seed starter project you can do with your kiddos (or grandkiddos), and if you have one who doesn’t like to get dirty, it can be easily done at the kitchen table with a spoon and hardly any dirt contact at all. (Anyone have a dirt-phobe? We’ve got one!)


Another great thing about this activity, is you can use an egg carton instead of throwing it in the trash can. Reuse, reuse! Those egg cartons are also compostable, so find out  How to Compost, too! Here’s what you’ll need to make this activity happen:


1 paper/cardboard egg carton

potting soil (we used  seed starting soil)

flower/plant seeds ( zinnias and  marigolds are great for this!)

low container or dish (I used a pyrex dish)

water bottle (optional)

How to Make Egg Carton Seed Starters:


  1. Cut the top off of the egg carton and discard (compost!). Cut down the center, creating two pieces with six cups each. You can also choose to leave the “cups” together, or you can cut each cup so they’re separate. That’s the option we chose. You’ll then want to use a sharpie to write on the outside of each cup what will be growing inside. Better yet, let your child who is learning writing skills do this. It’s super easy to copy the flower name from the seed packet right onto the cup, and it’s great writing practice!

2.Fill each egg carton seed cup with soil. Little helpers can do this by scooping with the cup itself (dirtier) or with a spoon (cleaner). Putting newspaper down makes clean up a cinch, so I highly recommend this!


3.Place two or three seeds in each cup and lightly cover with soil. This is a great time to talk to your kids about how beautiful and wonderful things can start with just a tiny seed!

4.Place cups in a low container and water those babies! I did this at first with a water bottle, so I didn’t wash the seeds away. I also placed some water in the bottom of the dish itself, so the egg cartons would soak it up. This helps to “water” the seeds from the ground up. Be sure to put your seed cartons in a sunny spot in the house, and keep them moist, but not soaking wet.


Once the seeds are a good size, they can be hardened off and transplanted out into the garden!


For the full tutorial and more gardening tips, visit my site, The Kitchen Garten!

Resources for this project:

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Courtney |The Kitchen Garten

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Joanie
    on Feb 27, 2020

    Any suggestions if you only have egg cartons with styrofoam

    • Chris Ann Hanousek
      on Mar 31, 2020

      If you have Styrofoam egg cartons, you just need to remove the seedlings like you do from plastic cartons from nursery. You can pinch the bottom and squeeze each plant pod out, or cut up the Styrofoam.

      To begin:

      1. cut the carton top off neatly. Use the carton top for a tray to place your seed cups in.

      2. Punch small holes in the bottom of each egg cup.

      3. Follow directions as in original except use the bottom for a free tray.



  • Elaine
    on Mar 12, 2020

    When it's time to plant the seedling - do you plant all into the ground or remove the plant from the carton??? I'm a newbie☺ Thanks!

    • Beth Trask Symonds
      on Mar 24, 2020

      Plant the whole cup. It breaks down. Just make sure that the cup is completely buried or it wicks moisture away into the air.

  • Pat
    on Mar 13, 2020

    I thought you could plant the carton and all in the ground if you opened the bottom . Is this right or wrong?

    • RebD
      on Mar 30, 2020

      Good info. Thank you. I wish I had read this before I transplanted today. I did bury some of the egg crate on many of my transplants because the roots had grown through it.

Join the conversation

2 of 4 comments
  • Diana
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Yes I will definitely try this

  • Krafty Kathy
    on Apr 17, 2020

    I was using styrofoam cartons and using plastic wrap for a green house effect. Because I have students who can't get seeds I was showing them to use Dandelion seeds.( they are edible.) And guess what. My weeds haven't sprout but my flowers and veggies have.???

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