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.
An average dry eggshell is made up of 95% calcium carbonate . It also contains phosphorus, magnesium, and other nutrients. That is a lot of good for the soil.
Here’s how to prepare and use eggshells for plants and the garden.
1. Use as a Fertilizer
Calcium is a nutrient that is crucial to crop development. Stunted plant growth and curling of the leaves are signs of calcium deficiency. Using eggshells as fertilizer can help correct that issue.
Moreover, the calcium eggshells contain can help moderate soil acidity. Calcium-loving plants will benefit from the inclusion of crushed eggshells in the soil.
Adding calcium can also benefit tomatoes and various food crops that may be suffering from blossom end rot.
Additionally, if apple cork spot is usually a problem, the calcium from ground egg shells may help prevent it.
2. Add to Compost
Yes, you can compost eggshells by drying them and grinding them up before putting them in the compost bin. Adding crushed or powdered eggshells will enhance this healthy plant food.
If using a worm bin, or when earthworms arrive in the compost pile, these leftover shells become very useful.
The grit in the crushed shells will help the worms with their digestion . It will also improve soil aeration and drainage.
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, they can go straight into the ground — shells and all. They’ll then 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 eggshells in the garden is thought to deter a number of pests. Plant pests like cutworms, slugs, snails, mites, and beetles 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.
Wildlife is also put off by it as deer are known to be deterred by the smell of raw eggs. However, it is unwise to use whole eggs which are seriously attractive to mice and rats.
5. Bird Food
Birds will benefit from a calcium-rich diet of crushed eggshells mixed with regular bird feed. Prepare it in the same way as for starting off seeds then crush them.
Cleaned, baked, and crushed with a rolling pin will give the right texture.
Eggshells also make a good mulch that looks quite attractive in a brown and white mix.
This mulch will also help retain soil moisture. Plus, it acts as a weed deterrent around plants if the layer is 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 feeding 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.
Simply collect and rinse out the raw stuff still inside. Next, dry and crush them with a rolling pin.
For eggshell tea, leave the shells in hot water for a while, preferably overnight. Use about a gallon of water to 10 to 20 clean eggshells.
Finally, strain and pour the solution into the soil around plants to give them a boost of calcium and potassium.
Plants That Like Eggshells
The calcium and other nutrients in it 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. This 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.