By Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Eggs are naturals for a gardener’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and the resultant empty eggshells are very good for the garden! Instead of throwing away all those shells, make good use of them as additives to garden soil. Rinse out the shells, allow them to dry, then crush or powderize them, and they’re ready to use. They can become a no-cost fertilizer, pest deterrent, cat deterrent, chicken feed supplement, and intact half-shells make good little pots for seeds and great additions to the compost pile.
Condensed Version of this Article – “Reader’s Digest version”… if you’re short on time
- Eggshells are good for the garden.
- Dried and crushed shells are preferable to whole shells.
- Sprinkle where cats frequent to prevent re-visitation.
- Add eggshells to chicken feed to increase hens’ calcium intake.
- Crushed eggshells are ideal in compost and earthworm bins.
- Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants benefit from eggshells.
- Crushed eggshells work much like Diatomaceous earth to repel insects.
- Fill half shells with potting soil and use as seed-starter pots.
If a neighborhood cat thinks your garden is his own personal litter box, you need to engage in a little dissuasion. Cats have an aversion to eggshells, so shells will keep wandering kitties out of your garden beds. Just scatter eggshells in the areas cats frequent. After stepping on your eggshells a few times, they’ll decide your neighbor’s garden is preferable to yours.
Chicken Feed Supplement
If you’re one of the many homeowners who keep chickens, you want to keep your hens healthy. Hens need plenty of calcium to lay thick-shelled eggs. Add crushed or powdered eggshells to their regular feed to help them get the nutrients they need. It’s important to crush or powder used eggshells before feeding chickens. It will prevent them from developing a taste for the ones in neighboring nest boxes.
Eggshells are the perfect candidate for composting, as they add a nice dose of calcium to the soil. It’s important to let your shells dry before adding them to the compost pile to prevent unwanted critters from digging through your compost. For worm composting bins, eggshells are a great way to maintain proper pH levels for the worms. Eggshells break down faster when crushed before adding to garden soils or a compost bin.
Deer don’t care for the smell of eggshells and stay far away, reducing their desire to come and nibble on your precious plants.
Prevent blossom end rot by fertilizing your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants with eggshells. The plants absorb the calcium from the eggshells and grow problem-free. For maximum effect, sprinkle eggshells into each hole before planting. Then sprinkle additional shells around the base of your plants every two weeks.
Garden Pest Deterrent – YouTube Garden Expert
Slugs, snails, and cutworms can do severe damage to your garden. Protect your plants from these pests by spreading coarsely crushed eggshells around your garden. The jagged edges work much like Diatomaceous earth by cutting and then dehydrating these common garden pests.
You don’t need to spend money on small pots to start seeds in the spring. Just fill half an eggshell with a tiny bit of seed starter potting soil, drop a seed in, and sprinkle with water. Use egg cartons for the perfect containers to hold seed starts until they’re ready for transplant.
Until next week, I’ll be helping gardeners here at Watters Garden Center.
Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or FB.com/WattersGardenCenter .