Our mom, Elena, began gardening after our dad died. She worked at a nursing home while raising four children. To break up her daily routine, she decided to do something outside, and began her plans for a vegetable garden. She decided to grow tomatoes because she loved them, and growing them would be cheaper than buying them.

Our mom is resourceful. When she bought her first packet of seeds, she knew she needed to start early, but didn’t know where to begin. How would she plant these seeds? She looked around her kitchen and determined that egg cartons would be a perfect planter for her seeds to grow.

At the end of January, beginning of February, every year without fail, you will see several egg cartons on her window sill, soaking in the sun with green plants popping up over time.

As the months go by and it begins to get warmer, the plants move from the window sill to the deck. They are replanted in bigger containers and begin to grow outside in the direct sun.

By the second week of May, mom loosens up the dirt and gets her plants into the ground. As the summer season gets into full swing, we enjoy tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and more.


Some LIFELONG Tips she’d like to share:

  • Use what you have. Recycle and re-imagine the use of everyday items. Don’t throw away egg cartons or empty plant or flower planters from previous seasons; use them for next year’s garden.
  • Start at the end of January or early February.
  • Fill egg cartons with potting soil when planting the seeds. Be sure to add plant food, (fertilizer), and water, so plants get the nutrients they need.
  • When plants grow to about 2- 3 inches tall, replant them in larger planters so they can spread their roots. Use potting soil, and remember to water and feed your plants.
  • In April, take plants outside for a couple of hours to get sunshine and get used to being outside. Bring them back in so they don’t freeze, especially at night time. As they get used to the outside, the width of the stem of the plant will grow and get stronger.
  • At the end of April, when there is no more evidence of frost, you can leave the plants outside and overnight.
  • At the beginning of May, it’s time to plant your garden. Dig up the ground to loosen the soil, add some fertilizer, and make sure you water your plants to keep them growing.

We hope you enjoyed a page in our mother’s story. We did. She started gardening over 40 years ago and today loves it even more. Who knew how valuable tomato seeds could be for one woman and her family. Her LIFELONG passion is our LIFELONG treasure.

We invite you to ask your mom, dad, partner, family member, and friends to share a page in their story. Trust us; you will be inspired.

Would you like to share a page in your story or nominate someone today to be a feature in one of our posts? Contact us at LIFELONG today!