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Adding Value To The Business of Cropping

Egg carton caterpillar

Learning Intentions:

    Students will be able to:
  • sow seeds in cotton wool and water them
  • observe and draw what they see over time
  • appreciate how microgreens can be grown
  • decorate their caterpillar with fun features.


  • Save egg cartons that hold a dozen eggs. One carton makes two caterpillars.

What You Will Need:

  • Egg cartons.
  • Scissors.
  • Cotton balls.
  • Plastic shot glasses or plastic sauce dip cups purchased at supermarkets. (These can be reused once the microgreens have been harvested.)
  • Mild flavoured microgreen seeds, e.g. beetroot, cress, mizuna, lettuce, amaranth, beet rainbow lights.
  • Items to decorate the caterpillar: felt pens, pipe cleaners, stick on eyes, etc.

What to do

Make a caterpillar by following these steps:

1. Cut the base of an egg carton lengthwise.

2. This is what you get.

3. Trim the peaks level with the rest of the 'body'.

4. Place a teased out cotton ball into each of six plastic shot glasses and sit these in the caterpillar's body. Sprinkle your chosen seeds on top of the cotton. Keep the seeds watered and leave in a warm place. For achieving more reliable germination, especially over a weekend when things might dry out, first germinate the seeds under glass or similar. See photo in step 5.

5. For more reliable germination, cover your seeds with glass, plastic or similar till they are up.

6. At any stage the caterpillar body can be decorated with features such as eyes, antennae, legs and body colouration. This is an ideal time to discuss what a real caterpillar looks like, what features and body parts it has, and what they are for.

7. A finished caterpillar might look like this:

8. Once the seedlings are up, students draw and label a picture of their creations.

9. Harvest by trimming the tops off, and eat them as you would eat 'microgreens', e.g. in a sandwich or salad.

Related resources

Grassy numbers

Microgreen sandwiches

Garden in a glove

Egg grass heads