Are you throwing away your eggshells? Then you’re missing out on a valuable addition to your garden. Eggshells are high in calcium, which is a vital nutrient for your plants. On top of that, they’re a wonderful slug deterrent. Today I’ll share with you the best method for safely & effectively using eggshells in your garden.
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Why is Calcium Important?
As I mentioned, eggshells are high in calcium. Similarly to how calcium makes our bones strong, it also builds strong cell walls in your plants. So if calcium is low, new roots and baby leaves will grow in a deformed manner.
Calcium deficiency can also cause blossom end rot. That’s when the ends of the fruit on tomato, pepper, eggplant, and summer squash plants become black and rotten. The discoloration forms on the blossom end of the fruit.
Spots get larger over time and eventually render the fruit inedible. Though there are other factors that lead to blossom end rot, ensuring a strong amount of calcium in your soil is a great place to start the battle.
Natural Slug Deterrent
We have a huge slug problem in the Pacific Northwest…shocking…I know….
We’ve tried the slug bait pellets and they do work, but I hate that they first draw the slugs in to eat the bait, before later killing them. They can do a fair bit of damage to our plants before the pellets “kick in.” As an alternative, small bits of eggshell act as razor-sharp daggers to slugs. Sprinkling these in your garden is a much stronger deterrent to slugs. Once they hit the eggshells, they immediately turn around and leave.
I should say, for this purpose, you really want to grind the eggshells into very small pieces. If they’re too large, they won’t have the dagger-like effect and the slugs will just crawl over them.
But the best part is that all of this is available out of a breakfast byproduct. It’s repurposed kitchen trash and practically free.
Depending on the type of garden that the eggshells are being used on, there may be some required eggshell preparations. This all depends on whether or not you’re using the eggshells in areas of your garden that’s growing edible produce.
If so, there is a small chance that Salmonella can be passed from raw eggshells to your plants to you. So in this case, it’s best that you first lightly cook the eggshells to kill the Salmonella. Just spread the shells out on a cookie sheet and bake at 200F for 10 minutes.
If you’re using them in a part of the garden with non-edible plants, like flowers or decorative shrubs, you can skip the baking process because there’s no risk of transferring Salmonella.
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Here’s how we grind them down to a smaller size…
Working in small batches, transfer them to a regular cereal bowl. Using a potato masher, crush the eggshells into slightly more manageable pieces. We then put them our Magic Bullet and grind them into small shards.
As an alternative, you could just dump the whole batch in a food processor, but we find that working in small batches makes it easier to ensure they’re evenly broken down. And, of course, the traditional route would be a mortar & pestle.
It’s that easy!
During the winter months, we make a point of stockpiling our ground eggshells, so we can get ahead of the growing season.
Whenever your plants are in need of calcium or you see slugs moving in, just sprinkle the ground eggshells in a circle around the individual plants or do a general dusting over the whole garden.
Your plants will thank you!
If you’ve tried any of our ideas in your garden, we’d really love to hear from you! Send us an email or leave a comment below the gardening idea you tried. You can also comment on our Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter pages.
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