Garden Types - Created Date : 6.8.2019
Eggshells in the Garden: 5 Ways They’ll Help You Grow Food
Do eggshells help in the garden? Absolutely! Using eggshells in the garden can boost your garden’s productivity — and it won’t cost a dime! Eggshells are a free byproduct of cooking in most households. Instead of tossing them in the trash, use eggshells to improve your garden soil and to deter pests.
Using eggshells in the garden
Each time you crack an egg open, instead of tossing the shell into the trash, drop it into an open container that you keep in the fridge. I’ve always saved my shells, but my friend Susan suggested keeping them in the fridge; it works beautifully. The cold air in the refrigerator helps to dry them out. As the shells fill the container, I simply push down on them to crush them and make more room. Once the container is at capacity, here’s how you can use those eggshells in the garden.
Even when the winter weather keeps you inside, you can collect egg shells for use in the springtime.
Do you need to pasteurize eggshells for use in the garden?
No. However, I know a lot of people do. If that floats your boat, it’s certainly not going to hurt. If you do decide to boil them before using eggshells in the garden, save the boiling water. It will have trace elements of calcium that’s good for watering tomato plants.
Using egg shells to improve soil
Eggshells add calcium to the soil. Calcium is especially appreciated by tomato plants. Add a small scoop of finely ground eggshells directly to individual planting holes when you’re planting your garden. To get the most calcium boost from the eggshells, you’ll want to run them through a blender.
Can eggshells go in compost? Absolutely! Adding eggshells to your compost will boost its mineral content. Eggshells that are crushed will break down relatively quickly, but don’t hesitate to use the compost in your garden if the shells are still intact. If you put egg shells in the compost nearly intact — in halves, say — they will retain their shape for a surprising amount of time.
Create worm housing
I add “stacks” of eggshells to my worm composter pretty regularly and I’ve noticed that in time, these become chock full of worms. Now, I don’t speak worm, so I’m not entirely sure what they’re doing in there, but the shells must provide them with some sort of habitat they need.
Supplement chicken feed
This is kind of a roundabout way to use eggshells in the garden, but they’ll get there eventually. I feed crushed eggshells back to my hens instead of buying oyster shells to supplement. They add calcium to their diet and it has never caused my hens to peck at their eggs. It just makes sense.
And those eggshells will make their way to your garden in the form of chicken manure.
Seed starting pots
To make your own seed starting pots from eggshells, fill each half with good potting soil and set them in an egg carton. Plant seeds in these DIY ‘pots’ and care for them as you would any other seed. When the seedlings are big enough to go out in the garden, simply give the shell a little squeeze. This cracks the eggshell and allows the seedlings to send roots out through the eggshells and into the garden more easily.
Deter slugs and snails
Crush the shells into small bits, roughly 1/8¨ in size. (This is an excellent job for kids.) Just give them a rolling pin or wooden spoon and let them go to town. Sprinkle these crushed shells around the base of your plants. The sharp eggshells are said to deter slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied bugs from nibbling on your garden.
Does this actually work?
Well, I know people who swear by this method and others who say it doesn’t work. I’ve found the method to be a bit hit or miss, but if you’ve got eggshells a plenty and more slugs than you want to deal with, it’s worth giving it a shot.
Eggshells in the garden to deter deer
Eggshells are said to deter deer. I can’t speak to this as I don’t have a deer problem (anymore). But placing eggshells around tempting plants is supposed to deter deer as they don’t like the smell. Using eggshells in the garden like this might protect your crop from being nibbled!
You can give yourself a GREAT facial w/ what’s left inside the egg shell. Just scoop what’s left of the egg white out and rub it all over your face. You should not eat, drink, speak or smile while this is drying (my sweet children make it their goal to make me laugh whilst I’m doing mine). I usually will let it stay on for about 30 minutes, then rinse off w/ lukewarm water. It’s a little thing but it makes me feel like a million $$.
I was concerned about the safety issue too, especially if storing the crushed shells for long amounts of time, so I bake them. No fuss, I don’t turn on the oven just for egg shells. Whatever temperature is called for in the recipe I’m making, and for however long it says to bake it is more than enough to kill any harmful bacteria on the egg shells. I just toss them on a cookie sheet and slide it onto an unoccupied rack while other items cook; it doesn’t impact the flavor of the food at all.
A few times I forgot the egg shells for a few hours but they didn’t scorch or burn, they just made a cozy crackling sound as they cooled.
I have been saving my eggshells for a long time. I put the empty shells on a paper plate then microwave them for a minute or so. Cool. Then I add them to my apothocary jar, smashing them down. I use as needed. They never smell. I also grind some in my coffee grinder and feed them to the birds. Then to clean my grinder I grind a fresh piece of soft bread in it to miraculously clean it. I cut my banana peels into inch pieces and throw them into a freezer bag, adding as I get them. When I need them, I thaw and add to my compost pile or use for my roses and other plants. I have another freezer bag for my ripe bananas that I also keep in the freezer until I make my banana bread.
We don’t wash ours, either. It’s going out into the garden and the thin layers of egg white won’t hurt a thing. They dry quickly and don’t stink. You crush the shells down anyway so it just mixed in and adds some trace nutrients into the soil.
If you carefully peel the skin off the inside of the raw eggshell, it can be used to draw out prickles that are too small to tweeze out. it creates a strong suction when applied, wet side down, on skin, then left to dry. if you try it on a bit of skin you will feel the pull.
A little off topic for eggshell uses — but another way to remove slivers is to use bacon. Put a small piece of uncooked bacon over the sliver and cover with a bandage. Overnight (or several hours) the sliver will be pulled out. No pain, tweezing, or digging at the sliver to remove it. I wore a lot of bacon as a child!
We have skunks but even though I save a lot of egg shells and put them in the garden, they never bother the garden at all. I suppose they would if we put whole eggs in the compost or didn’t dry them out first. We usually just store them in the egg carton and when we use it up, put the shells in a little bin to dry out. Then crush. No cooking necessary. Don’t worry, your garden is not going to get salmonella poisoning….nature has this stuff all taken care of. I also run some through the grinder and feed them to my red wiggler worms in my indoor compost bin.
I feed mine back to my chickens. Makes their egg shells less brittle. I noticed your comment on the side bar about cartons and asking for eggs in a basket. My customers get a discount on my eggs when they recycle the cartons back to me. I have never bought egg cartons to sell my eggs, all are just recycled ones people had from store bought eggs in the past.
It may be illegal to recycle used store egg cartons in your state, especially if you resale the eggs. Check and be sure. If you sell eggs in used cartons and there is a health problem with the eggs, it can be a problem for you. If you have a health problem with your eggs and you used a name brand carton, that could come back and haunt you. Just be careful.
I stored mine in a container and they ended up going bad. So, I wash them and let them dry. A day later I crush them a little and put them in a glass jar. Don’t crush them into a high speed blender like a Blendtec. They will ruin the plastic container!
Definately boil them! Salmonella will survive in the garden and you’ll be harvesting sickness instead of healthy foods. Crush shells, boil 5 minutes, let cool and use the water to give an immediate calcium boost to citrus plants like tomatoes and lemon trees. They will reward you with better harvest and your family will not be exposed to salmonella sickness.
Commercial eggs are sprayed with bleach water before they’re packed for shipping. If there was salmonella inside the egg, no one would be eating them, right? Storing unwashed eggshells at room temp isn’t something I’d want to do, but rinsing them well and letting them air dry makes boiling or baking an unnecessary step–for me, anyway.
We have a terrible slug problem where I live and I heard they can be put around your plants for protection against them. So, I just started saving mine for future use in my spring garden. I wash the shells out, save them up and plan to bake them when I have enough saved up.
I always put eggshells in the hole when I plant tomatoes along with an aspirin and some epsom salt..a couple teaspoon worth. I have never washed the eggshells when I do this or when I put them in the composter. I don’t have a skunk or racoon problem and my tomatoes always bear well.
I keep mine in a container then put them in the oven to dry out then I crush them up and feed them back to my chooks instead of buying oyster grit. Maybe I should put them in the fridge so that I can crush them up instead of putting them int he oven? Might try that thanks Mx
I too collect my eggshells and banana peels and then when I use the oven (which is often on during the winter). Then when the banana peels are crispy, separately grind into powder (with a thrift store coffee grinder) and place into marked plastic bags. Each can be used for my plants and worm farm. Helpful article……
There is also a cool craft I want to try with eggshells. You break the shells and glue them to a small piece of wood, paint with alcohol inks or transparent acrylic paint. After it dries add a coat of Tripe Thick and you have a nice piece of art.
Do you think the cracked egg shells will detour the caterpillars that eat my tomato plants too? I just saw that they hibernate in the soil until the warm weather returns and the plants grow again. My sister heard from a friend that sprinkling cayenne pepper around your plants helps too. Not sure if it worked but I will tell you do not get it on the leaves of your plants, it burned my tomato plants leaves. I read somewhere once it’s helpful to plant unused match heads under your pepper plants for more sulfur nutrients. Back to the egg shells, I also read somewhere that you can grind them down into a body powder for yourself? I guess a homemade talc? I could not leave banana peels on my counter to dry, too many fruit flies!!
I have been saving egg shells for awhile to grind into a powder for my dog.Before I put them in the oven I noticed teeny tiny bugs(some were brown some were white looking. the white ones moved) I don’t know if I should use them?
Love all the suggestions!!!
There’s only a rare salmonella when the chickens are fed arsenic. The outbreak of salmonella came from commercial eggs. I get my eggs from a local farm and I make my own calcium solution when I don’t use them for my garden. I peel the inner film and let the shells dry out and crush the shells. When I have enough to fill my jar I add Bragg’s Vinegar and water and it breaks down the shells. Walla…homemade calcium of high quality. BTW you can make your Vitamin C by dehydrating the skins of lemons after you remove as much of the white pulp as possible. Then I put them in my vitamix and fill capsules. I keep them in my freezer to keep them fresh. Meyer Lemons are the best.
Hi. I have indoor plants and all year, especially through the winter, I’ve been dealing with tons of gnats and/or fruit flies. I’ve tried so many different things to try to rid the problem and nothing is working. Is there anything you can suggest to help me out!! Please please please I’m desperate!!
Mulinah, For the fruit flies. A little jar with some apple cider vinegar and a piece of banana at the bottom, covered with a lid into which a few holes or some cling wrap with holes punched, will do the trick. The fruit flies enter the bottle through the holes, but are unable to get out and drown. I do this all the time and it works very well.
Aloha! I’m Kris Bordessa, writer and hobby farmer, gardener and canner, chicken wrangler and eternal experimenter. Here at Attainable Sustainable, I aim to encourage readers — that’s you! — to embrace a more self-reliant lifestyle, one small step at a time. My latest book, ATTAINABLE SUSTAINABLE: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living, will be published in 2020 by National Geographic Books. Read More…
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