Inside: Growing seeds in eggshells is a fun STEM activity. It’s a perfect project for spring, summer, Earth Day, or any time you feel like growing something green (or crushing an egg).
Like many people, I enjoy a beautiful green lawn, but I’m not one to reach for pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers to achieve the effect.
In fact, when I see some of my neighbors walking around with a massive can of industrial-strength weed killer, I want to cry. Did you know, for instance, that roundup has been linked to lymphoma? Yikes!
That’s why I’m always trying whacky, weird, and wild ways to keep our grass healthy naturally. This year, I’ve been experimenting with eggshells.
Eggshells contain many valuable nutrients that benefit your soil, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. Unfortunately, just dumping a pile of eggshells into your garden doesn’t allow the soil to absorb the nutrients. They need to be broken down somehow.
Hence, my experiments!
(#1) One way I tried to make these nutrients more available was by adding clean eggshells to a pot of hot water, steeping for 24 hours, and then pouring that water on the grass. (#2) I also turned sanitized eggshells into powder in my blender and then added that to the soil.
My lawn is green. I don’t know if it’s because of (or despite) all my effort. I’d need a more precise experiment for that … Still, whatever I’m or am not doing, I’m happy with the results.
Personally, I thank the eggs.
Yep, eggshells have been on my mind a lot lately. So the other day when one of my children got a grass growing kit, and the others cried tears of envy about it, it was a no-brainer to suggest an eggshell planter. It was an attempt to offer the growing project to everyone.
Of course, the kids were not immediately sold on the idea. The gift kit was better, brighter, and bigger, and that was it.
I had to amp up my sales pitch.
I suggested we use markers to draw animal faces on an eggshell. And not only that, in contrast to the pretty planter they all coveted, the egg planter could be hatched, aka cracked. What kid doesn’t want to stomp on eggs?
In other words, we could call the whole project Hatch Your Plant. Or Hatch-Your-Dinosaur-Plant, Hatch-A-Dinosaur, just a Dinosaur….. Stomp on Eggshells. One of my kids dubbed it The Crack-and-Grow project. I’m sure your kids will be happy to brainstorm some names of their own.
My kids got so excited they decided to get started right away.
The good thing about using eggshells for planters is that you almost always have eggs in your fridge and can gather some dirt outside. Easy peasy.
Hatch a Plant: Growing Seeds in Eggshells
What you need
Seeds (we used grass)
Markers (to draw faces)
What to do
- Save eggshells from your next omelet and sanitize them. To sanitize eggshells boil them in a pot of water for 15 minutes or bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 225F.
2. Add soil to the eggshells.
Check out our What’s in your soil printable for extra learning.
You might also like What do plants need to grow, Plant Growth Chart, and My plant growing observations.
3. Hide the seeds in the soil so that they are covered but not too deep.
4. Water and wait.
Cover the eggshell to create a greenhouse effect if you want quick results (who doesn’t?). Any plastic wrap, bag, or lid will do. We used a 9×13 cake cover that enclosed all our eggs at once.
5. In a matter of a few days, we had healthy, green grass sprouting from the tops of the eggs.
6. Now it was time to add some faces. Remember that shells are sanitized, so you don’t have to worry about catching a disease or enduring a rotten egg smell. Just grab a permanent marker and let your inspiration guide you.
First, we tried animal faces.
We used clay to stick them to the rock to take these photos. Then, we attempted silly faces.
Favorite silly face!
7. Then, we decided to give them haircuts and enjoyed their funky, fun presence in our house for a few days.
8. Once your seedlings are ready to go outside, let your kids brainstorm the ways to crack them. My kids were keen on using a hammer or stomping on shells with shoes, and I let them. But of course, they quickly discovered that it wasn’t good for the grass inside.
So if you want to move the seedlings outside the home without damaging them, dig a hole as deep or slightly bigger than your eggshell. Break the shell with fingers and set the seedling into the hole. You want to keep as much of the original soil around the roots as possible. Fill in the hole and firm the soil around the plant. Bury the eggshell with the seedling.
Water well, and enjoy your green grass!
The Science of Growing
Growing seeds in eggshells is a great opportunity to start a discussion about plants and what they need to grow.
Keep a magnifying glass next to eggshells and use it every day to monitor your progress. Are there changes? Are the seeds pushing up and out of the ground? What is the first sign that the seed is awakened from its dormant stage? How thin or thick is the seedling?
Once you move the grass outside, keep track of how it’s doing. Does it look healthy? Is it getting dry?
As kids observe the precise stages of the seed and its incredible transformation from dormant to bursting forth, they’ll grow an appreciation for life and all it takes to make it happen.
Some additional printables you might like: