Transplanting eggshell seed starts made easier in 5 steps
One thing I didn’t consider with my eggshell seeds starts (the most successful container start medium from a whole lot of different experiments this year) was how difficult it might be removing them. I left the babies in too long. Most roots had embedded themselves into the shell membrane.
After a ton of trial and error, I came up with a simpler solution.
First, learn from my mistake – don’t contain happy, fast-sprouting seedlings in these tiny houses for long. Right about when you see green is a good time to start thinking transplant. If time gets away from you, though, have no fear, I have answers borne from experience.
Frankly, I figured bigger plants would mean easier established seedling relocation. What I didn’t envision is how happy these little buggers would get about sucking protein from the shells. They didn’t want to leave.
After some experimentation, I discovered a relatively easy way to nudge them out of their happy home into a more fitting (larger) growth environment.
5 Steps to removing anchored seedlings from eggshells
- Soak the suckers – I’m talking drowning amounts of water so it’s penetrated all the soil and is standing on top. This will allow you to maintain some soil around the root ball.
- Totally crush the eggshell before trying to remove it. At first, I thought carefully chipping the shell away in small pieces would be ideal. Doing so had most of the surrounding soil falling out before I got to where the roots were holding on for life (to the shell).
- Try to find where the root is attached first – work that area of the shell before you start to remove top parts.
- Have a container (or outdoor chosen spot) hole dug and watered before you finish removing the shell.
- Remove the last parts of your plant over this hole (you’ll lose some soil that’s best put where this plant will live next – a few egg shell shards won’t hurt it any).
Chances are, even if your little seedling looks lousy after today’s transplant, if you follow these steps, it will perk up tomorrow.
Don’t forget to water daily until this little guy gets established. Also, you can save the eggshells, crush them up and put them in the garden (save some bucks on Diatomaceous Earth plus add yummies for your plants).
This is the first time I’ve used eggshells as a growth medium. I’m amazed at how great this was for starting herbs. Now I’m testing flowers. I’ll let you know how that works out.