You might be amazed at just how many ways there are to use egg shells in your garden. And even more, how simple and easy it is to use them!
Not only can they help to power your plants, egg shells can also aid in protecting them from pests and soil deficiencies too. All while helping to build better soil quality by adding key nutrients as they break down over time.
Egg shells truly are one of the most useful and powerful organic materials around. For starters, they are filled with a slew of nutrients, with calcium being by far the most prominent. In fact, an egg shell’s makeup consists of nearly 95% calcium carbonate! And as you will see later in the article, calcium can be extremely useful in the garden.
In addition to all of that valuable calcium, the shells of eggs also contain trace elements of phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and copper as well. All of which happen to play an important role in building and maintaining healthy soil – and in turn, growing healthy plants.
But the benefits go beyond simply improving soil health. Egg shells can also help in the fight against slugs and cutworms. Even more, they can aid in preventing blossom end rot on tomatoes and peppers too.
How To Use Egg Shells In The Garden
When you look below at all of the amazing uses for egg shells in the garden, it’s hard to ever imagine simply tossing away one into the garbage again. Especially when you can save and store them so easily all year long to have them ready when you need them.
For more on that, be sure to check out our article How To Save And Store Egg Shells Safely For Your Garden. But now – let’s take a look at how to use all of those egg shells to power your garden this year like never before!
Give Your Plants A Calcium Boost
When it comes to planting tomato, pepper, cucumber and other vegetable transplants in the spring, adding crushed egg shells to your planting holes can go a long way in powering your plants to new heights.
Calcium is a major component needed for growing healthy, vigorous vegetable plants. In fact, the lack of available calcium in the soil is the cause of one of the biggest issues tomato and even pepper growers face – blossom end rot.
When a plant cannot absorb enough calcium, the ends of young tomato and pepper fruit turn black and rot away. Unfortunately, many gardens face a lack of this all important mineral in their soil. Quite often, it is the direct result of growing the same vegetable type in the same space year after year.
At some point, without the mineral being replaced, there is simply not enough calcium left in the soil for plants to absorb for proper fruit development. When that lack of calcium nutrition occurs, blossom end rot is likely to follow.
But calcium plays an important role in more than just tomato and pepper plants. It is also a critical mineral that all vegetable plants need when it comes to developing their early cell structure.
Without enough calcium to absorb in the soil, young seedlings are unable to develop thick walls and strong roots. The result is a weaker plant with fewer blooms, and of course, a smaller harvest. But egg shells can help to solve that issue with ease!
Adding Crushed Egg Shells To Planting Holes – How To Use Egg Shells In The Garden
One of the best ways to help add calcium back into your soil is by adding egg shells to each of your planting holes. But how you add those egg shells can make all the difference in just how much calcium your plants can get. And even more, how quickly they get it!
Listen In Below To Our Podcast On How To Use Egg Shells & Coffee Grounds In The Garden
Egg shells can take a long time to break down in their natural state. But by pulverizing and crushing the shells into tiny bits, you speed up the ability of the shell to decompose and release its nutrients into the soil. The more quickly calcium gets in the soil, the faster it will get to your plants.
In short, when adding to planting holes, egg shells need to be broken down as finely as possible. And one of the best ways to completely pulverize them is with a small coffee grinder. It makes quick work of the task. Even better, it leaves you with a fine calcium boosting powder that absorbs into soil and plants quickly!
Always be sure to clean and sanitize any blades or instruments used for crushing up shells. This helps eliminate any possibility of passing on salmonella or other bacteria with any equipment.
So how much egg shell powder should you add to each planting hole? A good rule of thumb is to use four to six egg shells for each plant. When ground down to a near powder form, that works out to about two tablespoons of finely crushed shells per hole.
For best results, dig your planting hole and then mix in the ground shells as you add soil back in. Try to keep the crushed shells right around the root ball of the transplant. This will provide all of the nutrients right where the plant needs it most, at the root level.
Top Dressing Plants With Egg Shells – How To Use Egg Shells In The Garden
Another great way to provide power to your plants while they grow is top dressing them with additional crushed egg shells on the surface around each plant. Just as when putting egg shells in planting holes, the more finely ground the powder, the faster the nutrients will leach down to the roots.
For topical use, a good rule of thumb is to use about a tablespoon or two of pulverized egg shells per plant. By giving plants power both below and above, you double your chances for success. But as you will see in the next section, adding even a few more shells on top that aren’t quite as powdery can pay off for your plants too!
Protecting Plants Against Slug, Cutworm & Pest Damage – How To Use Egg Shells In The Garden
Egg shells can also help protect tender young plants in the garden from slugs cutworms and other pests. But in this case, you will want to slightly crush your shells instead of completely pulverizing them.
When lightly crushed and placed around the base of plants, the sharp, jagged edges of the shells form a protective barrier. A barrier that the smooth, slimy, outer skin of slugs, cutworms and other small pests can’t cross without being cut.
Even better, as the shells break down, they only serve to add more nutrients to the soil. For this reason, many gardeners use crushed shells around all of their plants, including potted plants as well.
In The Compost Pile – How To Use Egg Shells In The Garden
Finally, when not using your egg shells to power plants, repel insects, or prevent disease, they always have a home in the compost pile! Egg shells add all of the same important nutrients to your compost pile that they do when placing them in the soil.
Just as when using in and above planting holes in the garden, crushing shells before placing in your pile is a good practice. It not only helps the shells break down faster, but reduces any chance of odor and smell. It also can help to keep wandering animals from finding your pile and snacking on them.
One thing is for sure, there’s never a need for egg shells to find their way into a landfill. Not with all of the benefits they bring to a home garden! Here is to saving and using egg shells to help power your garden and plants this year.
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