Did you know that you can use eggshells in the garden?
Crushed eggshells can add valuable nutrients back into the soil with the high level of calcium being very beneficial to the plants. Read these excellent uses of eggshells in the garden.
#1 – Adding Eggshells In Compost
A popular question is… Can eggshells be added to compost bins and heaps? And the answer to the question is YES. Adding crushed eggshells to compost helps to add calcium to your final compost.
This essential nutrient helps in building cell walls in plants. Without it, plants will not experience vigorous growth.
In vegetable plants such as squash and tomatoes, fruits will develop a blossom end rot because of deficiency of building material (Calcium) in the plant. Adding eggshells in the vegetable garden compost can help prevent this.
While it’s not a must to crush your eggshells before adding them to compost, doing so will speed up their breakdown process in the compost.
You also may consider washing your eggshells before adding them to compost so that they don’t attract animals. Washing them will also reduce the risk of disease posed by raw eggs.
All the minerals in eggshells can be found in the soil and the addition of these minerals will help neutralize the pH level of your compost. The good thing with eggshells is that they do not add alkalinity to your soil, but neutralize it.
#2 – Using Eggshells As Fertilizer
When eggshells are tilled into the soil, your plants will benefit from calcium minerals. Though phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium are the most vital minerals for healthy growth; calcium is essential to give plants a strong and robust growth.
As aforementioned, calcium helps plants build cell walls.
Eggshells are composed of calcium carbonate, which makes them an excellent way to introduce calcium into the soil. To prepare eggshells, grind with mortar and pestle, grinder, or mixer, and till them into your garden soil.
It’s recommended that they be added before the planting season as they take several months to break down and be absorbed by the roots. Therefore, add them in the fall and spring.
However, during the time of planting, you can add finely crushed shells together with Epsom salt which tomatoes love along with other organic matter at the bottom of the hole to help the newly planted seedlings thrive (Tomatoes enjoy the extra calcium from the eggshells).
For a more useful recycled garden cocktail, you can mix your eggshells with coffee grounds; these are rich in nitrogen. By adding eggshell fertilizer, you’ll be reducing the soil acidity and aerating it at the same time.
You can also add grounding eggshell powder to your watering can and stir it up. Water your plants with calcium-enriched water.
#3 – Adding Eggshells In The Garden For Pest Control
Coarsely smashed eggshells can form an effective barrier against soft-bodied pests like slugs and snails. They do not risk passing over the uncomfortable and sharp spiky shells.
To do this, arrange the crushed layer of eggshells around those plants known to be sensitive to such pests.
Also, deer dislike the smell of the egg albumen and will stay away from gardens with the egg smell.
However, be aware that though the smell may keep deer at bay, it may encourage the rodents near them. Therefore, don’t use it near the house as you might experience a rodent influx in the compound.
For flying pests, you’ll need to crush finely and grind your shells in a blender or food processor. The eggshell dust will get into the beetles and other garden pests with wings thereby acting as glass for them.
You can also sprinkle the entire plant with finely ground or hand-ground eggshells depending on the pest you intend to deter.
You’ll need to reapply the powder more often; so keep your eggshells and reapply them to your plants or garden after some time.
#4 – Make Eggshell Plant Starter Containers
Because of their biodegradable nature, eggshells make excellent seed starter planters. To do this, reserve a good number of deeper shell halves.
You need to sterilize them by placing your eggshells in a 200-degree oven for about 30 minutes or boiling them.
After this, make a hole in the bottom using an awl or nail. This will help with drainage. Add seeds and soil according to the packaging instructions.
When your seedlings sprout, transfer the whole eggshell and seedling, into the soil. This will give your seedlings a boost because of the mineral-rich nature of the eggshell.
#5 – Include Eggshells In Bird Food
Like people and plants, birds also benefit from the calcium in their diet, especially the females as they need calcium to lay eggs.
To make bird food, sterilize your shells as mentioned above and then crush them into fine bits. You can mix them with your favorite seed.
#6 – Add To Chives
Eggshells can be added to chive especially those planted in pots or containers. Drop a handful of crushed shells around the roots. The shells will decompose gradually thereby providing more calcium than the chives.
#7 – Help Aid Tomatoes Prevent Blossom End Rot
Eggshells are an excellent source of calcium, a crucial nutrient to prevent blossom end rot. Tomato blossom end rot is a cultural problem that occurs when there’s a calcium deficiency.
The deficiency affects the plant’s ability to regulate and control moisture intake.
While the use of eggshells for preventing this problem is not scientifically proven, it can’t hurt to give it a try.
So, stave off the disappointment of harvesting black, wilted end by adding the eggshell powder to your tomatoes. The powder will boost your chances of harvesting perfectly ripened and reddened tomatoes.
How Do You Process The Eggshells Around Your Home?
The first thing to do is pasteurize the eggshells. It’s better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to raw eggs.
The process is simple and a bit smelly, but it’s worth it. Before crushing your eggshells, heat them for 10 minutes in a 200-degree oven. This will keep the salmonella at bay.
Crush and grind your shells – after pasteurizing your eggshells and they’ve cooled, you can use your hands to crush them before transferring them to the blender grinder attachment for further grinding.
You can also use a blender, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Another physical way of crushing the shells is by putting them in a plastic zipper bag and crushing them with a rolling pin until they’re a fine powder.
Why Does This Matter?
Eggshells are composed of more than 95% of essential minerals. Calcium carbonate is the main mineral (37% percent) which is an essential mineral needed to ensure optimal plant growth. It almost has the same effect as the banana peels but the mineral content is different.
They also have significant amounts of potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus making them an excellent addition to your garden soil.
Making use of the eggshells in the garden is an economical way to recycle something that is normally seen as waste.
Add it to your compost pile or compost bin, bird feeder, soil, or use it as seed starters or pest repellant.
Answer: The eggshell is a wonderful source of calcium, and, being organic, stimulates the population of beneficial soil organisms. However, despite claims of the “far out” organic gardeners, I don’t think eggshells will give any really spectacular results except in soils suffering from acute calcium deficiency.