egg carton seedling

Plant from Seeds

When it comes to planting, there’s different ways to get going – plant from seeds, cuttings or transplants. We opted to plant our square foot garden from seeds, with one exception: basil. I had picked up some leftover Thai basil from a pho place (they always give you way too much!) and put it in a small cup with water. It rooted within a month! I just changed the water periodically – about twice a week. I also had cuttings from an older basil plant (the only edible I ever grew before this) and these had rooted, too.

We made a list of plants we’d want to have in our garden and researched seed suppliers. The great thing about the square foot garden is that you can plant a different veggie in each square. Some seeds need to be planted alone in a square (eggplant, cauliflower), while others can be planted in groups – 9 radishes, 9 carrots, 4 kale, 4 bush beans, etc. So, you can be growing a lot of different veggies in this fairly small space!

We decided to get our seeds from Grow Organic, after checking various suppliers. They came within a week, in paper packaging (no plastic liners!). We had planned our layout and what we’ll grow in each square, so we knew what seeds to get going. We tried the egg carton method to grow seedlings in before transferring into planters. Here are the steps we followed:

  • on the flat side of the egg carton, hand write what seed will go in each opening
  • place soil mixture into each pouch
  • place a seed in each pouch
  • cover the seed with soil
  • water lightly
  • place in a sunny spot
  • water periodically to make sure the soil doesn’t dry up 
  • when the seedling is big enough, transfer it by pulling the plant out of the carton box and plant it in the designated spot in the planter box

Quick note – because the egg carton is made of paper, it will absorb the water rather quickly, so you will have to water more often. You can also try planting the seeds straight into the planter box. This might work for some plants better than for others. 

Later edit: for the next group of seedlings, we tried a different method, which has been working out better than the egg carton method. My husband bought a piece of PVC coupling to use it as seed block mold. We used our regular mixed soil for it and added water to it. The soil mixture is molded much easier when wet versus dry. We made a small indentation and placed the seed in, then covered it with more soil. All the seed blocks went in a plastic box. We then placed the box in an area that gets a good amount of sunlight. We watered them daily and made sure the soil stayed moist.

Now, the best part! Once the seed sprouted, we just took the seed block and placed it directly into the planter, in the designated spot. We’re not disturbing the roots during the transfer and this can really make a difference. We noticed a much grater rate of plants growing from this type of seedling method vs the egg carton. 

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