Gardening: Starting Herbs/Seeds in an Egg Carton

CAUTION: THIS IS NOT a gardening post, just information/tips that may inspire you to give growing herbs yourself a try.

If you’ve always wanted to start your own herbs, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money, an egg carton, a packet of seeds, a bag of potting soil and some plastic wrap are all you need.

Cut the top off the egg carton with a large pair of scissors or kitchen shears and save it for a bottom. Line the ‘bottom’ with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Cut off the ‘hinge’ at the front and discard it.

Use the egg carton part for a planter by filling it with potting soil  up to the bridges between the cells. Sprinkle seeds on top of the soil and then sift some more potting soil on top just to cover the seeds. For larger seeds, place them directly in the bottom of the cells and cover with the potting soil. Then water well.

Place the carton half with the seeds on top of the plastic wrapped ‘bottom’. The wrap will protect the base from excess water and provide extra stability and support for the carton with the seeds especially when it’s been watered.

Label your planted trays since you’ll end up rotating them, back to front, and switching the trays around to catch the sun so you’ll probably loose track of what’s where.


You’ll want to cover your planted seeds with a second sheet of plastic wrap so that the potting soil won’t dry out during the germination period.

Place the carton in a warm, sunny location and wait … 3, 4, 5 days … watering lightly every couple of days.

When you see the seedlings break through, you’ll want to remove the plastic wrap so that the seedlings have room to grow tall and sturdy. You may want to water more often at this point. Use your judgement. You don’t want the soil to dry out but you don’t want to flood your little cups either.


These larger seedlings are basil … sweet basil in the top 2 cells and you can JUST catch sight of a Thai basil seedling at the bottom of the picture.

These tiny seedlings are thyme

When your seeds have sprouted, cut the cells apart and plant directly in the garden or a planter. The carton material will break down, retain moisture and keep the soil loose and aerated. For smaller plants and herbs, you might want to prick holes in the bottom or even cut it out to help the tender roots break through.


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