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Now for Eggshells–Another Use in Your Gardens/Compost!Master Gardener Scoop – September 16, 2015

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Majo Bates, Master Gardener

I love eggs, and we eat a lot of eggs. Nothing beats a breakfast of bacon, grits and fried eggs…AND a steaming hot cup of coffee. Eggs are pretty commonplace in just about everyone’s kitchen. Some people just throw them in the compost pile which is perfectly fine. Others throw them away. I also use my eggshells in my garden.

Eggshells provide a boost of calcium to the soil to be soaked up by your plants as well as helping level off your soil pH. After taking the eggs out of the shells, I rinse them out and place them in my drying rack with the open end down. After I think they are dry, I dry them further in my oven. Oh, you say that costs too much. Wait a minute; when you pre-heat, use that heat or even better, when you bake, after you take your baked good out, place the eggshells in and shut the door. Use that heat to bake them. After they are cooled off, it can even be the next day if I choose, I put them in a container to accumulate. Once I have a dozen or more, I pulverize them in my handy dandy food chopper. A dozen eggshells make about 1/3 cup. I use another container to put the eggshells in until I have what I consider a lot. I use rinsed-out coffee tins for this. You do not want to shred into powder but mostly just small shards of shell and a little powder. Experiment—it’s fun.

You can use the eggshells anyway you like. If you haven’t actually put the plants into the ground yet, you can add some to the hole before you plant them. This makes certain that as the shells break down, the plant continues to gobble up all the calcium it can. If you are putting the shells onto an existing plant, you can sprinkle them around the base of the plant, or you can do what I do and make eggshell tea. I put two tablespoons of crushed eggshells and one tablespoon Epsom salts into a gallon of hot water. I put the water jugs outside, and let that steep for a few days. You don’t want to pour hot water directly into the soil as it may scorch the roots which would kill the plants. It also needs time to work. Watering your plant with water the same temperature as the outside air ensures you don’t shock your plants at all. It will actually allow the plant to more rapidly suck up the water and nutrients.

Chances are, you use and eat eggs all year around. Keep them, dry them, and pulverize them–even in the winter. I store mine in a handy dandy coffee can. They will keep all winter, and when spring rolls around again, you’ve got a great supply of calcium-giving goodness in a can. I can’t say exactly how much eggshell to use or how often because your situation may be much different than mine. It’s a fun way to experiment, which I love.

Again, God made eggs, and He gave us the ability to find how to use His creation. After all, He began it all in a garden, so use as much of His creation as you can in yours. Enjoy your garden!

Now for Eggshells–Another Use in Your Gardens/Compost!