Feature Friday: Eggshells in the Garden!

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? ๐Ÿ˜€

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.) ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.

Well, you just can’t beat free nutrition (or pest control for that matter)! So start saving those eggshells and best wishes in your gardening efforts!

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Food Storage: Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Howdy all! I just ordered and received my Diatomaceous Earth (DE) and I’m so excited to add it to my wheat to keep those pesky bugs out! But I also wanted to share some information with y’all that came with my order. I ordered my DE from Earthworks Health because it had the best price I could find (including the shipping) for the amount I wanted to order (I got a 10 lb bag). Anyway, they shipped it to me super fast, and when I opened the box there was a slip of paper that had all sorts of good information with uses for DE. I thought I would pass it on for your information and I will just relay their entire flier to you…

“Diatomaceous Earth (DE) has many applications. Some of the things that people are using DE for are as follows:

ORGANIC INSECT CONTROL:
Everyone loves the fact that DE is totally drug and chemical free. Not only is DE safe to use, bugs can not become immune to its effects like they do with chemicals. DE kills all insects by scratching off their waxy protective coating causing them to dehydrate. Most insects die in an hour or so. Below is a listing of the different ways people are applying the DE:

  1. Dusting on gardens, flowers, plants, bushes, and trees
  2. Applying a 2 inch border around foundation of their house
  3. Sprinkling in and around animal and pet housing.
  4. Pouring on and down ant hills (including fire ants)
  5. Spreading over large areas with a fertilizer spreader or duster
  6. Sprinkling in carpet, furniture, etc to kill infestations
  7. Mixing with water and spraying or whitewashing infested areas
  8. Adding to stored grain or foodstuffs
  9. Dusting in studding during construction to create a permanent bug guard

PETS and LIVESTOCK:
We continue to get hundreds of reports on how DE takes care of fleas, ticks, mites, etc on the outside and worms and parasites on the inside. This is exciting because DE is non-drug and non-chemical.
People are doing and reporting the following:

  1. Dusting DE on the coats of dogs and cats for flea, tick and lice control
  2. Adding DE to food each day for worm and parasite control
  3. Adding DE to food for joint, skin, and hair coat health
  4. Adding DE to ration to kill fly larvae in manure
  5. Using on birds/poultry for lice and mite control
  6. Applying to moist kennel areas for pest and odor control

HUMAN USE:
Many people, including all of us here at earthworkshealth, are taking food grade DE every day. You might ask, “How can something that kills bugs be good for people?” Remember, DE kills bugs by scratching them–no chemicals are involved. For people, DE is a source of available silica. Silica is a major mineral we all need that is lacking in our foodstuffs today. Most are taking 1 Tablespoon of DE per day in juice, water, pop, applesauce, yogurt, protein shake, or liquid of their choice. After hundreds of feedbacks, this is what we are hearing from people:

  1. Sore joints feeling better
  2. Lower cholesterol (usually 50-75 points lower)
  3. Lowering high blood pressure
  4. Keeping blood sugar levels stable
  5. More energy
  6. Healthier skin: softer, less itching, faster healing, psoriasis gone
  7. Stronger and healthier nails and hair
  8. Calming nerves and better sleep
  9. Aid in weight loss
  10. Cleansing digestive tract of parasites

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. DE is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. These statements are for information purposes only and are not meant to replace the services or recommendations of a physician or qualified health care practitioner. Those with health problems, pregnancy or who are nursing are specifically advised that they should consult their physician before taking any nutritional supplement.”

Frugal Friday: Homemade Pest Control

Well, I just spent a hefty chunk of change getting my house sprayed for bugs. I hate bugs. They do NOT belong in my home! Outside is another story… that’s their home. But inside is mine. (Although, I don’t particularly enjoy them outside either. :))
Anyway, I’ve heard of homemade bug remedies before but never really looked into them. But now, realizing how expensive professional help can be, I decided to give the homemade remedies a gander. So after doing some checking, here are some of my favorite homemade pest controls that use everyday household items and seem to solve the most common bug problems:
For Ants:

  • Use vinegar. Wash countertops, cabinets, and the floor with equal parts vinegar and water to deter ant infestations.
  • Flour and Borax*. Mix 1 cup flour and 2 cups borax in a quart jar. Punch holes in the jar lid and sprinkle the mixture outside around the foundation of your home.

For Flies:

  • Prevention: Keep the kitchen garbage tightly closed. Sprinkle dry soap or borax* into garbage cans after they’ve been washed and dried; it acts as a repellent.
  • Orange. Scratch the skin of an orange and leave it out; the citrus acts as a repellent.
  • Cloves. Hang clusters of cloves to repel flies.
  • Mint or Basil. Mint planted around the home repels flies. A pot of basil set on the windowsill or table will also repel flies (and well-watered basil produces a stronger scent).
  • Sugar and Syrup. You can make your own fly paper using sugar, syrup, and water. Click HERE and/orย HERE for examples and instructions.

For Mice:

  • Mashed Potato Powder or Buds. Place instant mashed potato powder or buds in strategic places with a dish of water close by. After eating the powder or buds mice will need water. This causes fatal bloating. *Gross!*

For Mosquitos:

  • Prevention: Encourage natural predators such as dragonflies or praying mantises. Eliminate pools of stagnant water as they are a breeding ground for mosquitos. Perfumes, bright colors, flowery prints, and bright jewelry attract mosquitos.
  • Tansy or Basil. Plant tansy or basil around the patio and house to repel mosquitos

For Moths:

  • Note: If you can see moths, these aren’t the ones to worry about. Moths that cause damage to clothes are too small to notice. It is the larvae of these moths that eat fabric.
  • Prevention: Store items in a clean condition (moths especially like areas soiled with food stains or perspiration and will lay eggs in those areas– so don’t let your dirty clothes sit in the dirty hamper for too long) :); shake out your stored clothes periodically and hang in sunlight (this will kill the fragile larvae); keep your closet clean and dusted (moths love dust as much as fabric)
  • Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Cloves, Peppercorns, Cayenne Pepper, Etc. Make a sachet out of a mixture or herbs and natural items such as the ones listed. Hang them in your closet, throw them in a drawer, etc. Be sure to tie them up well in the sachet so they don’t fall out and stain your clothes.
  • Dried Lavender or Rosemary and Mint. Make sachets of dried lavender or equal parts of rosemary and mint. Place in closets, drawers, and closed containers to mothproof garments.
  • Molasses, Vinegar, and Yellow Container. Make your own moth trap. Click HERE and/orย HERE for instructions.

For Roaches: (my LEAST favorite! Yuck!!)

  • Prevention: Close off all gaps around pipes and electric lines where they enter the house. Caulk small cracks along baseboards, walls, cupboards, and around pipes, sinks, and bathtub fixtures. Seal food tightly. Wash food off dishes that will be left out overnight. Do not leave pet food out overnight.
  • Flour, Cocoa Powder, and Borax*. Mix together 2 Tbsp flour, 4 Tbsp borax, and 1 Tbsp cocoa powder. Set the mixture out in dishes. (Caution: Borax is toxic if eaten. Do NOT use this method around small children or pets.)
  • Borax* and Flour. Mix 1/2 cup borax and 1/4 cup flour and fill a mason jar. Punch small holes in the lid and sprinkle the mixture along baseboards and doorsills. (Caution: Borax is toxic if eaten. This method may not be for you if you have young children and/or pets.)
  • Oatmeal, Flour, and Plaster of Paris. Mix equal parts and set in dishes. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
  • Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar. Mix equal parts and spread around the infested area(s).

For Slugs and Snails:

  • Sand, Lime, or Ashes. Snails avoid protective borders of sand, lime, or ashes.

So if you’ve got a problem with any of the aforementioned pesky pests, you may want to give some of these solutions a try before you go shelling out the big bucks for a pro. Here’s wishing you a bug-free weekend! Ta-ta! ๐Ÿ™‚

*CAUTION: Borax is toxic if eaten, so please keep it out of the reach of children or pets. You may need to use other remedy options if you have young children or pets in your home.

Source and additional homemade pest control remedies:ย http://www.surfinthespirit.com/home/pest-control.html