When I attended the gardening lecture at my local library, there was a tip that the lecturer threw out in passing and I almost missed it. She said, “Save your eggshells, crush them up and throw them around your trees.” Now that may seem obvious to some of you, but for me, who is still new to gardening and composting and the like, this seemed like a pretty random thing to do. But it intrigued me, so I wrote it down and came home and looked it up. And sure enough! Eggshells have a variety of uses in the garden. Let’s take a look at some, shall we? 😀
1. Sprinkle crushed eggshells around your vegetable plants to keep cutworms, slugs and snails away. (The crushed shells either cut them or just cause too much discomfort for them to crawl across and they almost always retreat.)
2. Use crushed eggshells around your fruit trees for a boost of calcium. (Did you know that 95% of an eggshell is calcium carbonate? Perfect food for plants!)
3. Mix crushed eggshells into your garden soil for a calcium boost. This is especially helpful in areas where you will be planting peppers, tomatoes, squash, or eggplant, which are susceptible to calcium-deficient diseases (like blossom end rot). You can even stick some crushed eggshells directly in the holes where you will plant the seeds. Granted, the shells will likely not break down fast enough to be of immediate help, but they will sure benefit a later season’s crops!
4. Use the eggshells (uncrushed) to make a potting shell. (Look for this on a future Feature Friday!)
5. Add the shells to your compost pile to add valuable nutrients to whatever your compost will eventually go towards.
Regardless of how you’ll be using them, be sure to rinse your eggshells and then allow them to dry out (otherwise you may end up with pesky animals in your yard who are attracted to the sticky residue). Then, for each of these uses (with the exception of #4), crush your eggshells by placing them in a plastic bag and hitting with a rolling pin, a cup, or anything you have on hand (awesome for getting out any frustrations.) 😉 If using the shells for pest control, leave them at this phase where they are small with plenty of sharp edges. However, if you are going to add them to the soil for calcium, place the crushed shells into a blender or food processor and process until the shells become a powder. (The finer you process it, the more quickly it will break down and become of use in the soil.) Then simply sprinkle it around your fruit trees, vegetable garden, and in potted plants as well.
And here’s another helpful hint: If you hard boil your eggs, save the water that you cook the eggs in. The water will have all sorts of nutrients in it that have leached out from the eggs. Allow the water to cool to room temperature and then use it to water at the base of your plants and vegetables.