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This article will share with you why and how to use eggshells in the garden to improve your soil and benefit your plants!
Have you ever wondered how to use eggshells in the garden? Most homesteaders have chickens and a vegetable garden, and most homesteaders like to utilize everything they have on hand. So in this article I will explain a couple of different ways of how and why I save my eggshells to use in the garden.
During the fall and winter, I start saving eggshells in preparation for using them when I plant my tomato seedlings and pepper seedlings. But before I use them, there are a couple of steps I do in preparing eggshells for the garden.
In the spring, when you have a surplus of eggs to use up, check out my article 12 Ways to Use Eggs for some great ideas besides using the eggshells in your garden!
Baking Eggshells for Garden
Below I will go over the steps I take to prepare the eggshells for use in the garden, including how long to bake the eggshells for the garden, how to prepare and grind up the eggshells for using on plants, and how I store them for long term use.
How to Bake Eggshells for Use in the Garden
Why bake the eggshells you might wonder? Baking eggshells helps to dry them out fully, especially the membrane inside the egg. Drying out the membrane, allows you to crush up the eggs more easily.
How Long to Bake Egg Shells for in the Oven
I bake them by placing the eggshells on a cookie sheet, and put them in the oven on low, around 250-275 degrees, for about an hour. After they have been in for an hour or so, pull them out and let them cool.
Baking Eggshells for Compost
If you have a very large flock of poultry, you may have more eggs than you need to use as a direct additive to plants. In this case, you may want to bake them and then just add them to your compost. You can skip the baking part and add them directly, but by drying them out in the sun or in the oven, it will help them break down a little bit faster.
How to Dry Out Eggshells Without an Oven
If you don't have an oven, or don't want to use one to dry out the eggs hells, I would recommend using the sun during a few hot summer days. Lay them out in a single layer on an old screen or fine wire mesh to allow for good air flow. Depending on the temperature, one day may be good enough, just test and see if the membrane is still rubbery. If it is, put them out for another day.
Crushing Eggshells for Use in the Garden
You can throw the baked eggshells in a blender at this point and it will grind them into a fine dust super quickly. I prefer to just mash the baked egg shells with a large wide spoon. It is actually quite satisfying to do this. Something about the sound, I don't know! I just really enjoy it.
Another great thing you can do with these crushed up eggshells, is feed them back to your chickens in place of oyster shell. It increases their calcium intake to make for nice hard eggshells! Funny how that works. Circle of life I suppose. 🙂
How to Use Eggshells in the Garden
Using Eggshells to Benefit Your Plants
I use the eggshells when I am planting my peppers and tomatoes into their final pots that they will live in for the summer. I will add 1 heaping TBSN of the eggshells along with 1 TBSN of Epsom salts, into the hole I have dug in the pot, or in the ground. Stir them around a bit, than plant your tomato or pepper plant.
The eggshells will add extra calcium into the soil, which can help prevent blossom end rot. Epsom salts also add extra magnesium.
Using Eggshells to Deter Pests in the Garden
I have heard mixed reviews on using eggshells to deter snails and slugs. I prefer to use Sluggo for that.
Using Eggshells in Your Compost
Another easier way to use your eggshells, is to just throw them in your compost. That way when you use the compost in the garden later, that calcium and magnesium will be added to your soil. Baking egg shells and crushing them for your compost isn't necessary, but it does help them break down faster.
Make your Own Fertilizer with Eggshells
To make fertilizer with your eggshells, it is best to have them as fine as possible. Then add the crushed eggshells to warm water and let sit out in the sun for a bit. The warm water will leach out some of the calcium from the eggs.
Add some epsom salts to this solution and a little fish emulsion fertilizer, and you have a great spray on fertilizer. Use this once a month to give your plants an extra boost of goodness. Using eggshells as fertilizer, is one of the best way to use egg shells in the garden to benefit your plants!
See 7 Easy Natural Fertilizer Recipes for more ideas!
Feeding Eggshells to Chickens
Now, this is not a use for your eggshells directly in your garden, unless you use your chicken manure in your garden! But eggshells can be crushed and fed right back to your chickens to boost their calcium intake. Just like feeding them oyster shells, but this option is free and available if you already have chickens, so why not choose it?
See my other articles on chickens:
What are Crushed Eggshells Good For?
I hope from reading above, that you have discovered a few good reasons to dry out your eggshells crush them up and how to use them in your garden. They are good for adding in when you are planting your plants, making fertilizer, adding to compost or for feeding your chickens. So don't let those eggshells go to waist!
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