Friday, June 24, 2011
Using egg shells in the garden
We have 3 chickens. We also have 6 people who live in our collective household, so we tend to go through a fair amount of eggs every week. Whole or cracked egg shells generally do not compost well. When we harvest our worm bin we often notice a few things like egg shells, seeds/pits, & avocado skins still in tact. We've tried to start seeds in egg shells but the plants always seem to get root bound way too quickly so I don't recommend doing it. Always looking for diy hacks, Dan & I did a little research and found some great ways to use up those egg shells and actually get some benefit from it as well.
Here are a few tricks for using egg shells to help improve your garden:
-Deter slugs, snails, and cutworms. Loosely crush up egg shells in to small pieces (like in the img to the right). Sprinkle these pieces in a thick ring around the base of young tender plants to deter harmful pests like slugs, snails, & cutworms. These guys don't like crawling their tender bodies over the sharp shells.
-Add ground shells to the bottom of planting holes for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. This gives the plans a nice dose of calcium which helps stop the blossom end rot that can commonly affect these crops.
-Give your chickens the extra calcium they need to make their own strong egg shells. Add a small amount of ground up egg shells to your chickens food about once a week to help them produce stronger shells on their eggs. This is especially helpful during the summer months when chickens are laying at their peak.
- Put lightly broken egg shells (roughly half pieces) in the bottom of plant pots instead of rocks for drainage. The egg shells are lighter than rocks and allow for more air flow in the soil. They will also very slowly break down and give your plant some nutrients over time.
-Add finely crushed sells directly in your compost bin. Make sure you crush them up very well or grind them in to a powder. This will help add calcium in to the soil you will use in your garden next year.
* To grind up my eggs I use an old coffee grinder I got at a thrift store. This grinder is dedicated specifically to grinding spices, oats, nuts, etc. When I grind the egg shells in it I always make sure to clean it out very well, though a little egg shell powder won't hurt you.