Queen Composter shares how she uses egg shells in her garden.
As my Green Phone Booth name suggests, I love composting. But there is one item that I never put into my backyard compost bin; egg shells
We save every single egg shell that we generate and now I have a fairly sizable bag. I have read many blog posts on the multiple uses of egg shells, such as growing seedlings in them, and using for a calcium boost in smoothies. I use them in two particular ways for gardening.
- I crush egg shells and scatter them around my young plants to protect them from snails and slugs.
- I grind them up and use them as a calcium supplement for my tomato plants.
Tomatoes are prone to a problem known as blossom end rot, which is when the bottom on the tomato, where the blossom was originally, begins to rot. This is due to a calcium deficiency, which eggs shells can alleviate.
|Tomatoes with blossom end rot resulting from |
calcium deficiency. Image source link
Last year I grew my own tomatoes from seed, but to guarantee homegrown tomatoes, I bought some plants to supplement what I grew. My tomatoes from seeds produced fewer tomatoes because I started them late, but they did not suffer from blossom end rot as my store bought tomato plants did. The main difference was that I added egg shells to my own plants.
I grind egg shells up in to a powder-like consistency using a mortar and pestle. Some people use coffee grinders to obtain a very find powder, but I enjoy the low tech method of grinding by hand.
When I transplant my new tomato plants as young seedlings, I add some of the egg shell powder to the soil before I add the plants. It is important to have the egg shell powder in the soil near the roots.
When it comes time to transplant these young tomatoes into larger pots I will repeat this process and add more egg shell powder.
There are commercial fertilizer mixtures that add calcium to the soil, but I love this cheap and easy method. I know what I am putting in my soil and it is free of synthetic fertilizers.
My bag of egg shells is quite large, so I would love to learn more ideas for using them. Do you have any to share?