How to Start Vegetable Seedlings in an Egg Carton


Starting vegetable seedlings inside allows you to get a head start on the growing season and saves money, too. To keep down costs, resist the urge to buy those fancy little pots and flats designed for starting seeds. Although they are convenient, they are not necessary. Recycled containers, like egg cartons, work just as well as peat pots and they will not cost you a cent.

Step 1

Remove the cover of the egg carton. Although you can use the cover as a flat for starting seeds, the individual cells that hold the eggs are ideal.

Step 2

Place seed starter in large bowl or bucket and moisten with warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon to moisten all particles. Starter should be damp to the touch, but should be not soggy.

Step 3

Fill the cells with seed starter. Use a pencil or dowel to make small indentations in the center of each filled cell. Place the seed in the hole and cover with soil and press down gently with your hands. Always check the seed packet to determine the appropriate planting depth for the specific seeds you are growing. (See resources.)

Step 4

Water lightly to moisten the seed and cover with clear plastic wrap. Place in a warm sunny location, but avoid direct afternoon sunlight as this may overheat the soil. Temperature between 65 and 75 degrees F are ideal.

Step 5

Check daily for young sprouts and remove the plastic once they have emerged. Keep soil moist and move to a sunnier location once seedlings are established and reach a height of 4 inches. Monitor closely for any signs of sun damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Egg carton
  • Seed-starter mix
  • Bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pencil or small dowel
  • Clear plastic wrap


  • Purdue University
  • University of Missouri

Who Can Help

  • Seed Depth Chart
  • Humes Seed
Keywords: seed starting, egg carton seed starting, egg carton

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.