When someone mentions the word “egg,” what do you think of? The obvious answer has something to do with breakfast, cooking or baking. Of course, a cracked egg can result in a scrambled or a fried egg breakfast or the egg can provide needed ingredients to make cake, soufflés and more.
But what do you do with the shell? Most people simply throw them out. However, there is a good reason to save those shells because they can be beneficial for your garden.
We all know that eggshells are a great source of calcium. The truth is, the garden soil as well as the plants growing from it could use that calcium. The shells also help to balance the soil’s pH and can deter blossom end rot in tomatoes and other types of fruits.
Many people who use eggshells in their garden are somewhat concerned about contaminating the soil with salmonella. Some may say it’s not a real issue, but people want to take precautions when lives are concerned.
So if you are interested in perhaps using eggshells in your garden, then you can follow a simple procedure that some use to prepare them.
· Save and rinse out the empty shells with hot water.
· Leave on the counter in a rack to dry.
· Place the shells on a sheet pan and put them into a cooling oven after the oven has been used to prepare a meal. The heat will sterilize and dry the eggshells
· Take the sterilized and dry shells out of the oven and collect them in a container.
· Once you have a good number of shells collected, pulverize them with a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle or mini chopper. A dozen eggshells make about one-third cup when they’re pulverized.
· Keep the prepared shell around until you need them.
It is not even necessary to have plants in the ground to use the shell. For example, you can add shell to the hole as you plant flora. This assures that the growing plant sucks up the calcium as the shell material breaks down.
If you already have plants in the ground, then scatter the material around the base of a plant or use it to make eggshell tea that you can pour over plants. To make the tea:
· Put two tablespoons of crushed shells and one tablespoon of Epsom salts into a jug containing a gallon of hot water.
· Place the jug outside so that the concoction can steep for a few days.
· Pour the mixture on to your plants.
You don’t have to go to the trouble of making eggshell tea to share their benefits with your garden. Instead, you can include the cracked eggshell with other organic materials in compost.
You can also use crushed eggshells to rid your garden of pests like slugs, snails, cutworms and other crawling critters. Simply spread the crushed shells over the soil. The shells cut the underside of the pests as they crawl over them. The wounds caused by the shells dehydrate the pests and they die.
You can also use a cracked eggshell to host growing seedlings indoors. When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted into your outdoor garden, then all you have to do is place the shell with the seedling directly into the ground. The eggshell will decompose over time and provide a much needed shot of calcium to help the plant grow.
Here is how you prepare the shell and seedling.
· Use large eggshells
· Poke pinholes in the bottom of half an eggshell.
· Fill half of the eggshell with soil.
· Place a seed in the soil and cover it lightly with soil.
· Use a pencil or permanent marker to write on the eggshell the name of the plant buried in it.
· Store in an egg carton near a window.
· Water as needed.
· Move the plant to the ground of your outdoor garden when the first leaves appear.
· Gently crush the eggshell in your hand then plant directly into the ground.
You can also put crushed eggshells into the bottom of a container or pot, add soil and plant flora into it. The decomposing shells will infuse the soil with calcium, help provide drainage, and deter cutworms and slugs.