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Eggshell planters give garden an early start

Once seeds sprout, place the carton in a sunny spot.King Features (King Features)
Once seeds sprout, place the carton in a sunny spot.King Features (King Features)

Kids and dirt seem to have a natural attraction for one another. Why not promote a love for a favorite activity this season by giving children a chance for some responsibility and fun by messing with dirt, sprouting seeds and tending their own little plants indoors?

They’ll give your family vegetable garden a head start and learn the earliest beginnings of the food they’ll enjoy this summer. Instead of buying small flowerpots, use eggshell halves for planters.

When it’s time to transplant the young plants outdoors, place them in the soil, eggshell and all. Crush the eggshells a bit and they will provide nourishment to the soil and your growing plants.

Here’s what you’ll need:

•12 empty eggshell halves from large eggs

•Potting soil

•Easy to grow flower, vegetable and herb seeds

•Plastic egg carton

•Clear plastic bag larger than an egg carton

•Water spritzer or plastic squeeze bottle for watering

Here’s the fun

If you’re cracking a medium-size egg, tap the top one-third with a knife and discard the smaller top portion.

Rinse the eggshells well in hot water. Using a darning needle, poke a couple holes in the bottom of the shells to allow for drainage. Place washed eggshell halves upright in the egg carton to dry.

Fill each shell at least two-thirds full with potting soil, and plant seeds according to the directions on the package.

Gently water each planted shell, then place the egg carton in a plastic bag and set in a dark place. Check the carton daily, making sure the soil remains moist until the seeds have sprouted. Remove the bag.

Once the seeds sprout, set the carton in a sunny window. Continue to water the seedlings. When danger of frost is over, transplant them into your garden, shells and all.

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