If you haven’t started already, it is time to start saving your eggshells.
Ground egg shells provide indoor and outdoor plants with calcium when tilled into the soil. It contains calcium carbonate, as well as phosphorus, magnesium, and other nutrients .
Here’s how to prepare and use eggshells for plants and the garden.
Calcium is a nutrient that is crucial to crop development. Stunted growth and curling of new leaves are signs of calcium deficiency in plants.
Using eggshells as fertilizer can help increase calcium levels in the soil. Finely crushed eggshells may benefit tomatoes and other food crops suffering from blossom end rot.
It is also great for calcium-loving plants. And if apple cork spot is usually a problem, the calcium from ground egg shells may help prevent it.
To use as a homemade fertilizer, follow the recipe below. It can be used on outdoor plants and indoor plants.
2. Add to Compost
You can compost eggshells by drying them before grinding them up and adding them to your compost bin. Powdered eggshells will add calcium and other nutrients to your compost.
Moreover, when earthworms arrive in the compost pile, these leftover shells also become very useful. The grit in the crushed shells will help the worms with their digestion .
3. Seed Starter
Biodegradable eggshell halves make perfect containers to start seeds off. However, you do need to sterilize them first by boiling or putting them in a hot oven for about half an hour.
A gardening tip is to put them in the oven after cooking or baking. The shells will be sterilized by the time the oven has cooled at no extra expense.
When cool, prick a hole in the bottom of each shell for drainage. Next, add the soil and seeds. The shells can stand neatly in any leftover organic trays or boxes.
When seedlings have grown and are ready to plant outside, they can go straight into the ground — shells and all. The shells will slowly decompose in the soil.
This is best for small plants like dill or parsley that won’t outgrow the containers too soon.
4. Deter Certain Plant Pests
A layer of crushed shells in the garden is thought to deter a number of pests. Plant pests like cutworms, slugs, snails, and caterpillars are deterred by the sharp edges.
This is similar to the way a layer of diatomaceous earth will cut, dehydrate, and kill any insect and related pest that crosses over it.
You can also use it to help keep away deer as they are known to be deterred by the smell of raw eggs.
5. Bird Food
Birds will benefit from a calcium-rich diet of crushed eggshells mixed with regular bird feed. Crush them up finely and add them to bird feed.
Eggshells also make a good mulch that looks quite attractive in a brown-and-white mix. This mulch will also help aerate the soil.
Plus, it makes a great weed killer if it is spread thick enough.
7. Deter Cats
Cats wandering into the garden can be a nuisance. However, they can have an aversion to eggshells.
Crushed shells spread around plants and at the garden’s borders may help keep unwanted cats away. After stepping on those sharp edges a few times, they will keep away from your garden.
8. Chicken Feed Supplement
What else can you do with egg shells? Feed them to the chickens!
Though it may seem weird to feed it back to the chickens that produced them, it is actually very beneficial.
This recycling produces extra calcium to ensure that the next lot of eggs have nice hard shells.
How to Prepare Eggshells for the Garden
It is best to use the shells crushed or powdered and to do this is easy if you have a food processor or grinder.
Simply collect and rinse out the raw stuff still inside. Next, dry and crush them with a rolling pin or your bare hand. You can also grind them into a powder.
Apply a few teaspoons of powdered eggshells directly into the hole of a new plant. You can also sprinkle the crushed shells around the base of outdoor plants and mix the powder into the potting soil of houseplants.
To make eggshell tea, add 2 tablespoons of crushed shells into a pot containing a gallon of water. Next, bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Now let it sit for 24 hours. After that, strain the solution into a jar and cover it. Leave the jar outside overnight.
Finally, strain and pour 2 cups of the solution around each garden plant.
Plants That Like Eggshells
The calcium and other nutrients in eggshells will particularly benefit crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, and zucchini.
Other vegetables that need calcium also benefit from it. These include chard, cauliflower, spinach, amaranth, and broccoli.
Try incorporating some powdered or crushed eggshells and coffee grounds when planting tomatoes. Coffee grounds combined with the shells should give your tomato plants a good start.
Eggshells also help roses become sturdier. They will give your new rose plants a boost of needed calcium.
Using eggshells for gardening can help balance soil calcium levels and deter certain garden pests. Therefore, wash, dry, crush or grind them up and sprinkle them around potted plants and in garden beds.