Posted in Gardening

Save those shells!

March 31, 2013 - 11:18 am


Well, it’s Easter Sunday, which means a lot of people out there have probably dyed eggs for the munchkins to hunt, and you’ll now be eating eggs until you’re sick of them for the rest of the week because aforementioned munchkins won’t eat them. At least that’s how it worked in my house as a kid.

Now is a good time to start saving those egg shells for your garden! I rinse mine to get any leftover egg white out of the shell, and then I set them aside to dry before I throw them in an re-purposed salsa jar and give them a shake to crush them up a bit. Then they’re popped into another, bigger re-purposed salsa jar to collect until I have enough for the upcoming year’s garden.

Use your shells when you plant your tomatoes and peppers (and eggplant, if you grow it!)- just sprinkle some into the hole before you set in your plant. These plants need calcium and a lack of it can cause what’s known as blossom end rot (BER). And let me tell you, BER can make for some really disappointing harvests. We’ve had years where we’ve had more bad tomatoes than good, and when you’ve spent hours and hours tending your plants and weeding a bad harvest can be heartbreaking. Planting shells with your plants gives them a calcium source right where they need it, and as the shells break down your plants will suck up calcium for use in producing fruit.

If you have a problem with slugs, you can use your eggshells to sprinkle around your plants to keep the pests away. The sharp edges of the shells act as a deterrent to them since they don’t like crawling over sharp or jagged things.

I’ve heard, but not tried yet (we don’t boil eggs often), that you can take the water you boiled your eggs in and use it to water your calcium-loving plants. Obviously you need to let the water cool so you’re not pouring boiling hot water on them! Boiling eggs is supposed to leave you with water fortified with calcium, so rather than dump that water down the drain why not feed your plants?

And, of course, you can always just throw them in the compost bin to break down with all the other organic scraps, giving you a well-rounded fertilizer for your plants.

Want more ideas on how to use those eggshells instead of throwing them out? Check out The Prairie Homestead’s list of 30 things you can do with egg shells (some of which even this Earth lover won’t attempt…Eggshell membrane bandage? No thanks!)

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