The Great Exodus: From Egg Cartons to Plastic Seed Trays

A couple of weeks ago I spent most of a Saturday getting our egg carton seed starters set up. If only they had worked as I’d planned…

Within a couple of days we started noticing how hard it was to keep the dirt even remotely damp. After a little bit of research, we found that the egg cartons themselves were soaking up all the water, leaving none for the dirt and our precious seeds! And once our seedlings had sprouted, we really started seeing the effects…our poor sprouts kept getting pitiful and wilted.

Wilted Seedlings

We were having to constantly water them, which in turn was making our egg cartons turn to mush (many of them tore and started falling apart when we’d move them around to water them).

So, we made the decision to transition all of our seedlings to plastic trays that will be much more stable and can be reused for at least a couple of seasons.

While looking for some trays, I stumbled upon Greenhouse Megastore…and my gosh. So. Much. Great. Stuff!

We did an initial order of 360 2″x2″ seed tray inserts plus ten seed trays to hold all of those inserts. The inserts come in sheets, so they’re really easy to handle, and the trays made it easy to move all of them around.

Seed Trays

I got myself a little system setup, and then started the process of transplanting all of our seedlings. It was really tedious (took two afternoon to do it), but I also took the opportunity to thin out each little bunch of seedlings (or spread them out to have more plants).

We went from around 120 starters to nearly 350 since we were able to spread out the seedlings. We also planted a few additional seeds that we picked up in the past week.

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Seed Closeup
Seed System
  • deb fitzgerald

    Did you try using foam egg cartons??? I dislike foam but I have friends who give me their egg cartons ( I have 23 chickens)… I thought it might be a better use for the foam cartons… I’ll let you know what happens when i try… hopefully I get to start my seeds this week!! The weather is so much better now here in Western Pa.

  • http://tinyfarmstead.wpengine.com Josh

    The eggs we buy on a weekly basis are all made of the cardboard/paper material.

    I’m sure foam would work better…we just didn’t have any of those lying around but had a plethora of the cardboard. :)

    Glad to hear you’ll be able to get started soon!

  • http://electagraham.com Electa Graham

    http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/tools/indoorseed/nviropotter

    I use these every year. they work awesome and you can put the pot right in the ground.

  • David

    I did the same thing, trying to grow seedlings in the pressed pulp egg containers. I figured it was the same thing as those peat pots sold for growing seedlings. Unfortunately, they both have that same wicking problem. Luckily I did a test run on one egg carton before jumping in full steam. I also noticed that most of my seedlings were quite leggy as well, which I learned was due to poor lighting. I got myself an $11 T12 shoplight to remedy that. I’ve hooked it up to a timer I used to use for an old fish tank and voila!