If you want an organic productive garden, then calcium is a very important mineral for good strong healthy plants. After reading this blog you will never throw away eggshells again.
Every day millions of eggs are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we are usually concerned about the internals of the eggs. However, the eggshells are such a useful resource in the garden and most people waste them.
What are eggshells made of?
Eggshells are made up mainly from calcium carbonate around 50ppm but also contain other minerals such as sulphur at 39ppm potassium at 12ppm magnesium 12ppm and also contain sodium at 21ppm along with these minerals they also contain 5% organic matter.
The organic matter might shock you, especially since no one talks about it on other gardening sites. The inner white skin of the eggshell is organic. This organic matter contains nitrogen which is made up entirely of proteins, Plants can utilise this once it finishes decomposing.
Now we know the makeup of eggshells what benefits do they hold for the gardener? Eggshells are very handy in the garden. Firstly for their calcium content, the outer shell of the egg is almost 94% calcium carbonate. We are all aware that plants need NPK Nitrogen, Potassium and phosphorous but they also need calcium and other minerals to prevent disease like blossom end rot in tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. More on this a little later.
NEVER Throw eggshells away!
So I am here to tell you. DO NOT throw away any more eggshells at home. Instead, store them up in some sort of container. Then when it comes time to use them they can be washed and either place in the oven on 170f for half an hour. Or put in the microwave for a few minutes. The reason you would want to do this to your eggshells is to eradicate any traces of bacteria like salmonella that can make you sick.
There are many ways to use eggshells in the garden. Some work and others don’t or are just myths. I will cover these in a moment but first, we need to continue the prep of our eggshells.
Let’s take a look at eggshell uses.
When opening eggs to eat, just cut the top portion of the eggshell off, This will allow you to poke a small hole in the bottom and use it as a seed starter container. This is a great way to get children growing in the garden.
Simply place the eggshells back into the cardboard egg box and fill each eggshell with compost and sow your seed. This will start the plants off to the seedling stage where they can be planted into bigger containers or the ground. Be sure to carefully break the eggshell before planting through to allow the plant’s roots to escape.
If you grind the eggshell in pestle and mortar or use a blender or coffee grinder you will get an eggshell powder. This can be used by adding it directly to the soil as an eggshell fertilizer. Or add it to the compost heap to add calcium directly and this will slowly break down over time.
Eggshells And Worms
Add ground powdered eggshells to your worm farm where worms will use it to help them grind their food. Worms have a gizzard much like chickens and require grit in order to digest the vegetable scraps you’re feeding them. By giving them eggshells in the wormery you’re supercharging your worm castings.
A few other uses for eggshells in the garden might be putting crushed eggshells down for birds, who will use it as grit. Add decorative value to the top of potted plants and as this breaks down will fertilize your plants over time. The last method is to use the powder in the planting hole of plants to ensure they do not suffer from a calcium deficiency. You can also mix it into a seed starting mix.
Eggshells And Slugs
One massive myth about eggshells which just isn’t true is that eggshells prevent slugs from eating your young tender plants like lettuce. The idea is you break eggshells up and place a ring around each plant. The slugs won’t go near the plant because of the rough surface cuts the slugs mantel. In my opinion, eggshells are not sharp to a slug at all. The mucous membrane the slug excrete’s while moving protects it from sharp edges, and there is tons of footage showing this to be the case. If you want to beat slugs in the garden check out the video opposite.
If you want some other ideas on how to beat slugs. I do have an upcoming video showing some more surefire slug deterrents that you may wish to keep an eye out for. To ensure you get to see that, consider subscribing to our FREE youtube channel. Also, check out my how-to eradicate slugs from your garden video.
Calcium Deficiency In Plants
Earlier we touched upon blossom end rot. This is caused by calcium deficiency. There are only ever two reasons for this. Either there is a lack of calcium in the soil. Which adding the powdered eggshell would sort, or you have been watering irregular. This means that the plant’s roots dry up and shrivel and can no longer utilise calcium. The plants take up is poor until it recovers and sends out new fibrous roots. Furthermore, blossom end rot is not a disease. There is nothing wrong with the plant that calcium or correct watering cannot sort out.
Everything we have spoken about takes time to break down so that the plant can utilise. However, if you have plants lacking in calcium there is a way in which to make it available right away. You simply need to make eggshell water. Otherwise known as calcium carbonate water. This provides calcium in a form that can be utilised immediately.
Make Eggshell Water
To make this simply add equal parts, one tablespoon ground eggshells to white vinegar. Leave this sit for about half an hour. The resulting mix will start to foam as the calcium in the eggshells neutralises the acid in the vinegar. This will dissolve the calcium into a liquid form.
Once the reaction has stopped you can take this mixture and add it to a gallon of water. This is now your concentrate, use 1 cup of this concentrate to a 5-litre watering can and water on your plants. You should see the plant perk up in a few hours as it starts to take up the calcium.
You can also do this weekly with tomatoes as a preventative, and there will be no adverse effect as if there is already surplus calcium as the plants just won’t absorb it.
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