Easy Egg Carton & Recycled Container Gardening

Planting seedlings indoors is an easy springtime project for kids.  We like to get some of our garden plants started indoors, since it helps to get seedlings established before putting them outdoors, especially if there could be cold weather (frosts).  My kids also like to watch the seedlings come up, and it can be an educational experience to discuss things like germination rates.  One way to start planting indoors is using a variety of recycled materials.

For this project, you need:

~ biodegradable cardboard egg carton(s)
~ soil
~ seeds
~ water

Cut or tear the lid off the egg carton.  This can be used as a tray underneath the rest of the carton.  You may want to poke a hole in the bottom of each egg cup to allow for a little drainage.  Kids can decorate the carton if they like, although some of the designs may not last when if the carton gets wet when watered.

Fill the egg carton with soil.  Pat down the soil, and then use something like a pencil to poke a hole for each seed.

Follow the instructions for whatever seeds you are planting, which may vary as far as depth or even soaking the seeds ahead of time.

Cover the seeds and water.  Keep the carton in a warm, sunny area, and check for seedlings!

Once the seedlings are established, you can plant the whole carton, or cut apart the egg cups and plant in different locations.

There are other alternative ways to use recycled materials for creating planters:

~ plastic or Styrofoam egg cartons (you can also save and use the lids on the clear plastic cartons to make a little “greenhouse”)

~ yogurt cups, used Styrofoam cups, or anything else that makes a good planter.  Plastic containers like yogurt cups can be decorated as well, with paint or markers.

~ toilet paper rolls (simply fold one side in to create a bottom)

~ newspaper (there are online tutorials for how to fold newspaper into a small pot)

~ save and reuse any plant pots (like the ‘disposable’ pots that come on trays in nurseries, which can be a little fragile, but we save them every year or have friends save them for us)

For plastic pots, when seedlings are ready, simply remove the entire plant from the container and plant outside.  Newspaper and toilet paper rolls are biodegradable just like the cardboard egg cartons.


  1. 1
    Sarah L says:

    The advantage to using the paper egg cartons or TP rolls is that they will dissolve into the soil after being planted.

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