]It's the time of year to start thinking about the garden, and again I'm finding myself with heaps of empty egg shells. Of course the shells can go directly into the compost pile, but I'm always trying to find new uses for them so nothing goes to waste. Last year, I raved about our Homemade Eggshell Tomato Fertilizer which uses dried and crushed eggshells as a fertilizer ingredient. This year, I thought why spend so much on seed starting pots, when a few seeds can easily germinate in a simple, nutrient-rich eggshell? They're a great, inexpensive and bio-degradable way to start your seeds. Plus, eggshell planters also make the perfect project for little hands, so get your kids involved! [caption id="attachment_4036" align="aligncenter" width="455"] It seems so tiny now, but a tomato plant will sprout from this shell.[/caption] To create eggshell planters, you may first want to boil or steam your saved eggshell halves for a few minutes to sterilize them. Next, mix your seed starting soil with water and allow it to hydrate a few hours before scooping it into the shell. Then place one seed of your choice into each of your newly-filled eggshell planters, set them in a carton so they'll sit upright, and cover. If you need to label your started plants so you can tell them apart, I just write directly on the eggshell with a felt tip marker. Voila: eggshell planters! Depending on the seeds you're starting, you may need to keep the eggshell planters in a warm space to germinate. Tomato and pepper seeds, for example, require heat so I usually set mine over a heat mat to get those little buggers to pop up. Once the seeds have sprouted, move your carton into a sunny window sill or place it under a grow light. Your sprouts will likely need to be transplanted into a larger pot or planter before moving them outside to harden off. When transplanting your baby plant from an eggshell planter, whether to a larger pot or directly to the garden, first crush the shell (gently so as to disturb the roots as little as possible), then simply bury the whole eggshell, root ball and all, right into its new home. Have you ever started your plants in an eggshell before, or do you have another fun project you do with your eggshells? Please share in the comments! I eventually get buried in eggshells, so I would love to see what else we can do with these nifty little things.