Using eggshells in the garden is an affordable and effective way to improve your garden’s productivity. So, instead of tossing them in the rubbish, you can use them to not only recycle them but also to improve the plants in your garden. It is a sustainable and eco-friendly way to dispose of eggshells, which can otherwise end up in landfills.
Eggshells are a free and natural byproduct of cooking and make for a great gardening resource as well. Are you looking for some great eggshell uses? Well, in this article, we’ll discuss several ways that will help you use eggshells in the garden effectively.
Why Use Eggshells in the Garden?
Eggshells are primarily made of calcium carbonate. Calcium is one of the most beneficial and crucial materials for plant life as it works as a building block for the healthy growth of plant cells. If your plants have calcium deficiency, they’ll show the symptoms of diseases and deformation.
Using eggshells is an excellent way to enhance the calcium content in the garden soil and plants. As we are all about gardening on a budget here it is great that using this resource won’t cost you a single penny. That’s why you should store your eggshells and use them in your garden to enhance the productivity of plant life.
I do recommend, from my personal experience, that you wash your eggshells and make sure they are dry before you store them. This only involves rinsing them under the tap and letting them dry. Then you can store them for as long as you like.
Best Ways to Use Eggshells in The Garden
Here’s a list of the best ways to use eggshells in your garden.
1. Enhance Garden Soil
One of the easiest and most effective ways to use eggshells in your garden is to add them to the soil.
It’s important to note that eggshells need some time to break down. Additionally, this method will suit you the best if you have a small garden because you’ll need to save a whole lot of eggshells for a bigger area.
Considering how long eggshells take to break down it is a good idea to crush the eggshells. You can do this simply by crushing them in your hands and this will leave the pieces quite large. Or you can crush them more finely using a pestle and mortar (like I do) or you can place the egg shells in the coffee grinder or blender to turn them into fine powder. Then, you can sprinkle ground eggshells into the garden soil.
It is worth considering that you can also use finely crushed eggshells while planting new seedlings or plants. Just add a small scoop of the powdered eggshells to the planting hole before placing the plant. It’ll keep new plants from falling victim to calcium deficiency.
Why enhance your soil with eggshells you may ask?
Enhance Calcium Levels
Adding eggshells to garden soil will increase the calcium content and that is what plants need. As a result it can also help prevent blossom end rot and other calcium deficiency issues.
Increase Soil pH level
Eggshells can help you increase the pH level of your garden soil. When the soil has low pH levels, it becomes acidic. While some plants, such as nasturtiums, blueberries, daffodils, camellias, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons, need acidic soil, most outdoor and indoor plants thrive at neutral pH levels.
If you don’t have acidic soil-loving plants, you may need to increase your soil’s pH level. In such a case, adding crushed egg shells to the soil can help. Make sure that you mix them well with the soil, a couple of inches into the ground.
It’s important to remember that eggshells need some time to break down to increase the pH level of the soil. This is not a quick fix!
Improve Soil Aeration
To improve soil aeration, you’ll need to add coarse-ground eggshells to your garden soil. This method comes in handy if you have hard-packing garden soil, which is one of the common problems associated with container gardening.
Eggshells will also improve drainage and water flow. As a result, your plants will have an ample supply of oxygen and other important nutrients that they need for healthy growth.
This is great if you just want to crush them up a bit and add them to the garden. They will take a long time to break down but in the meantime they will aerate your soil.
2. Boost the Mineral Content of Compost Heap
You can add eggshells to your compost heap to boost its mineral content. If you want to improve the mineral content of your compost at a slow rate, you can use eggshells without crushing or breaking them. Whereas, adding crushed eggshells to the compost pile will mean that they disperse and work quickly.
If you’re interested in worm farming (vermiculture), you can use eggshells to keep the soil balanced. Vermiculture will allow you to raise a colony of worms, the garden dwellers, that you can add to your garden soil to improve its quality.
Eggshells will regulate the digestive system of worms by providing them with grit. It’ll allow the worms to increase the soil’s calcium content and make it more fertile. Consider adding a cup or two of fine eggshell powder a month to your worm farms.
3. Use as Seed Starting Pots
Eggshell halves can work as natural and healthy seed starting containers. For this method to work, you’ll need to add nutrient-rich soil(I use multi-purpose compost) to each egg shell half carefully and place them in an egg carton.
It’ll help you make sure that your seeds turn into seedlings in a healthy environment and don’t experience calcium deficiency. Just take care of seeds as you would while growing them in regular seed pots.
When the seedlings have grown enough to be planted in the garden, give the eggshells a little squeeze, and transplant them. It’ll allow the roots to grow through the eggshells easily without disturbing the roots of the seedlings.
4. Create a Plant Fertilizer
While eggshells can work as a calcium supplement, they have a lot more to offer. Other than calcium, eggshells also contain potassium and phosphorus. Additionally, they can also offer nitrogen, if you don’t wash away their lining.
The egg fertilizer will work great for plants, such as tomato kale, cauliflower, broccoli, chard, pepper, eggplants, and spinach, that need calcium in high amounts. To make the eggshell fertilizer, you can add them to boiling water for a couple of hours (or I prefer overnight) and then use the liquid. To be honest, repurposing the water you boil your eggs in to water plants is a good idea as it will be calcium rich.
If you want to you can also mix powdered eggshells and coffee grounds with the one-to-one ratio and add them to the soil. This fertilizer will work best if worked three to four inches into the garden soil.
5. Use as Pest Deterrent
Eggshells can also help you deter pests, such as snails, cutworms and slugs. According to the University of Arizona, crushed eggshells can repel cutworms and keep them from entering your garden. They can also keep other soft-bodied pests at bay.
All you need is to crush eggshells using your hands and scatter them over the soil surface surrounding vulnerable plants. The layer of crushed eggshells should be at least two inches wide around plants and a reasonable depth so that they can’t fit between any shards. It’ll create a safe boundary that’ll irritate cutworms and snails. As a result, they won’t be able to reach and damage your plants.
Eggshells make for a cheap and effective gardening resource and you can use them in multiple ways to protect your garden. Not only can they improve the soil quality but they can also help you enhance minerals in compost, grow seeds, and deter some pests.
I hope this guide will help you find the best way(s) that you can employ to use eggshells in your garden, based on your unique needs.
If you are looking to grow tomatoes in pots consider reading my 9 top tips for success. Or if you prefer to grow your own potatoes in pots then read all about how to do that here.
Or, would you be more interested in growing your own Apothecary Garden?
Whatever you are up to in your garden I am sure there is something on this site to help you. Simply have a look around in the Gardening Section.
Do please let me know in the comments section below how you use eggshells in your garden.