Image by Peter Lindberg
By Heather Rhoades
Many people do not know that using eggshells in the garden can help in many ways. If you are wondering what to do with crushed eggshells (or whole eggshells for that matter), keep reading. We will look at how eggshells can help your compost, soil and even keep away a few common pests.
Eggshells in Compost
A common question is can you put eggshells in compost heap? The answer to this is yes, you can. Adding eggshells to compost will help add calcium to the make up of your final compost. This important nutrient helps plants build cell walls. Without it, plants cannot grow as fast, and, in the case of some vegetables like tomatoes and squash, fruit will develop blossom end rot because there is simply not enough building material (calcium) coming into the plant. Using eggshells in the vegetable garden compost can help prevent this.
While you do not need to crush eggshells before composting them, doing so will speed up how fast the eggshells break down in the compost. You also may want to consider washing your eggshells before composting them so that you do not attract animals as well as reducing the slight risk of disease raw eggs pose.
Eggshells in Soil
Eggshells can also be added straight to the soil. Many people plant eggshells with tomatoes, peppers, squash and other vegetables that are susceptible to blossom end rot. While planting eggshells directly with plants most likely will not help this season’s plants (because the eggshells will not break down fast enough to create calcium), eggshells in the soil will decompose eventually and will help add calcium directly to the soil.
Using Eggshells in the Garden for Pests
Eggshells can also be used in the garden to help fight off pests like slugs, snails, cutworms and other crawling pests. Crushed eggshells works much like diatomaceous earth on these pests. When crawling pests cross over an area in the garden where crushed eggshells have been spread, the eggshells make several small cuts in the pests. The pests then dehydrate and die due to these cuts.
Crushing eggshells for pest control is as easy as tossing your empty eggshells into a food processor for a few seconds or just rolling them under a bottle or rolling pin. After the eggshells are crushed, sprinkle them around the areas in your garden where you are having problems with slugs and other crawling pests.
Using eggshells in the garden is a great way to make use of something that would normally just get thrown out. You can put eggshells in compost, in soil or use them as a kind of organic insecticide, which means that not only are you helping reduce trash, but helping your garden too.