Spring is just around the corner and it'll soon be time to begin gardening. Buying starter plants at the garden center can be costly, even if you plan to grow a small patio garden.

While you're waiting for the last danger of frost to pass, you can start to sprout seeds indoors. Whether you want to grow a vegetable garden or a colorful perennial flower bed, you can start your garden plants indoors right now at very little cost.

Things You Will Need

Seed Starting Soil

An empty egg carton

A lamp or sunny window

A watering can

A pencil

A packet of seeds

Step 1

Begin by recycling an egg carton. These useful containers will hold just enough dirt to give your seeds a fast start while allowing for easy transplant of your seedlings.

Cut the lid off the egg carton along the fold line and save the lid to use as a base.

Turn the egg carton over and poke a hole in the bottom of each egg cup. You can use the point of a pair of scissors or a sharp knife. Make only a small hole to allow for drainage.

Step 2

Egg Carton

Buy a small package of seed sprouting soil. Packaged Garden Soil is available at most Dollar Stores or garden centers or Home Depot and Lowe's. Many grocery stores carry Potting Soil and Seed Sprouting Garden Soil too.

Step 3

Potting Soil

Pour a small amount of potting soil into each section of your egg crate.

Using a pencil or the end of an orangewood stick, make a tiny hole in the center of the dirt about one-half inch deep. Drop a seed into the hole and push the dirt with your pencil to cover it up.

Step 4


Place the egg carton and base on a cardboard box with low sides. You can line the box with aluminum foil to keep the moisture from bleeding through.

Put the seed container in a sunny location, or south facing window where it can get a little sunshine if possible. Or you can use a clamp lamp to provide some light and heat.

Wait about 8-10 days and your plants will begin to sprout.

Step 5


When your plants reach about one inch in height, transplant them using a plastic spoon to scoop the entire ball of dirt with the sprout and place it into a larger container. You can use recycled Styrofoam cups, the base of plastic soda bottles, or empty coffee cans as temporary planters. It helps to use a coffee filter in the base of your container for ease of transplanting the young plant to your outdoor garden.

A small package of tomato seeds will cost you about a dollar and will result in nearly 100 starter plants. Depending on the size and packaging of your seeds, you can begin your garden for a very small amount of money.

Once all danger of frost has passed, move your seedlings to a prepared garden patch where they'll get lots of natural light. Happy gardening everyone!

Tips & Warnings

Keep your soil moist using a recycled spray bottle and a watering can. The small egg cups will require daily watering.

Get your kids involved in growing garden seeds. They'll be more likely to eat vegetables that they have grown themselves.

Use adequate spacing when transplanting your seedlings into an outdoor garden to avoid crowding.