I started a little experiment of my own this spring. I wanted to find an easy way of sowing seeds for growing vegetables at home. I have a small veggie patch, but I worked out last year that I could grow a lot more, if only I had many more seedlings to plant out.
But sowing seeds can be a bit fiddly, and then you’ve got to plant out each tiny plant. That takes a lot of time. I wanted more veggies for less work, so I collected as many egg boxes as I could find, and sowed seeds into each egg holder. The pictures show the planting and growing on of broad beans, but I have also used the egg boxes for runner beans, radishes, beetroots, spinach, tomatoes, rocket, pak choi and patty pans.
And it’s not too late to start growing your own right now. You don’t even need a veggie patch in the garden; plant the egg boxes into a pot or container for your window sill or patio.
Choose quick growing plants – radishes are great, but also try salad leaves and spinach. I plan to steam the broad beans, and then mash them with a little olive oil and serve with roast salmon.
Place your egg box bottoms on a tray. Put a little compost into each. Make a small hole (we call this a drill) in the soil in each well and drop a seed into it. Don’t worry if you drop more than one seed, sometimes only one seed will grow anyway. If both seeds germinate, choose the strongest plant to keep. Give the seeds a little water and leave in a warm spot for germination. Most seeds germinate in 7-10 days. Don’t let the seeds dry out., but don’t over-water either. If you have a clear perspex cover, you can use this, as it allows the heat and light to reach the seeds, whilst keeping them moist. These seedlings are day 14.
Broad bean seedlings at day 25 after sowing. The plants were nice and healthy so a dug a small trench in the veggie patch and placed the egg box into the trench. I covered it with soil and watered the plants.
Photography by Lesley Beeton