Looking for some creative eggshell uses in the garden? You’ve come to the right place.
There’s nothing quite like a morning batch of scrambled eggs to get you going first thing. But what if, instead of throwing the leftover eggshells in the trash, you could find a better way to use them?
Believe it or not, eggshells are highly nutritious, and while you may not want to chow down on the shells yourself, there are lots of ways you can incorporate them into your garden.
Here are some tips and 9 different eggshell uses for your garden.
9 Eggshell Uses in the Garden
Eggshells are rich in calcium. While nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are all essential for healthy soil - the ubiquitous “N-P-K” you see advertised on fertilizer labels - calcium is also crucial.
Calcium helps plants develop healthy cell walls. You can easily introduce eggshells to the soil. All you need to do is grind them up and then till them into the soil. You can add them to the hole at planting time, or you can add them in the fall and let them break down slowly over the winter months. Either way, your plants will thank you!
You can use eggshells as fertilizer on just about any kind of plant, but they work especially well for plants like tomatoes, which are heavy calcium feeders. You can learn more about diy fertilizers here.
2. Pest Control
Got slugs? Many gardeners swear by using crushed eggshells to repel slugs and snails. The jury’s still out on whether, scientifically, this is actually an effective method. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the harsh shells penetrate through a slug’s soft skin and dry it out, making it unlikely to come back to your broccoli, lettuce, or other sensitive plants.
You can also use eggshells to deter deer. You need to be mindful about fully drying and sanitizing your eggshells before you do this, so they don’t attract rodents, but when done correctly, scattering eggshells around the perimeter of your garden is a great way to keep deer from nibbling on your crops.
3. Soil Improvement
Even if you don’t plan on growing anything in your garden right away, it’s a smart idea to add some eggshells. Eggshells can reduce the overall acidity of your soil. They also help aerate it, improving its structure and making it easier for water, nutrients, and beneficial microorganisms to do their good work on your plants.
4. Seed Starting
Don’t waste all of your money on expensive seed starting trays. Instead, look to eggshells for help. All you need to do is poke a tiny hole in the bottom of an eggshell with a nail. This will provide proper drainage.
Then, add a bit of potting soil to the shell. You can plant your seeds according to the instructions on the packets. As soon as sprouts appear, you can plant them - eggshell and all - directly in your garden. Read up on our collection of diy seed starters.
5. Prevent Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot is a disease that is common in peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. More often than not, it is caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil. You can prevent this by adding a bit of ground-up eggshells to the soil when you plant. You can also scatter them around the base of your plants later on, after planting, to provide a helpful dose of nutrients.
6. Bird Food
Like plants, birds also need a bit of calcium in their diets. After all, they use a lot of calcium to make healthy eggs. If you have chickens, you can feed crushed up eggshells directly back to them as a supplement. It will help them lay stronger, healthier eggs.
If you don’t have chickens, feel free to take advantage of this “gardening hack” nonetheless. Just sterilize your shells and then crush them up before mixing them with your favorite bird seed. Learn how to build birdfeeders from upcycled materials.
Mulch provides a ton of benefits to a garden. It can deter weeds, retain moisture, and also provide a striking accent. It will take a lot of eggshells to make a dent, but if you have a stockpile, feel free to crush them up and use them as mulch around your plants. They’ll add nutrients to the soil as they decompose, too. Learn more about mulching here.
8. Scrub Your Garden Pots
At the end of the gardening season, it’s essential that you clean your containers carefully. This will remove any soilborne pathogens that can make your plants sick during the following planting seasons. Plus, cleaning will just make your pots look a million times better!
It can be tough to get some of that cake-don grime out of your pots. Luckily, eggshells are wonderfully abrasive. Just crush a few shells into a dirty container, along with some soap and hot water. You’ll have a sparkling clean pot in no time!
9. Add Eggshells to the Compost Pile
If you’re a gardener, you are probably already aware of the myriad benefits of using eggshells in the compost! Eggshells, especially when ground down into a fine particulate, don’t take very long to decompose. Add them to the compost pile, and you’ll be able to supply all kinds of beneficial nutrients. Your compost, which can then be used in your garden, will thank you! Additionally, learn how to build your own compost bin and here you'll find 100 things you can and can't compost.
Tips for Using Eggshells in the Garden
Some people are grossed out by the idea of using eggshells in the garden, believing that the shells will attract pests as they decompose.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Eggs are known vectors for salmonella, but as long as you take a few steps to sanitize the eggshells before you reuse them, you will be totally fine. You don’t have to worry about bacteria being transferred to your plants, nor do you have to worry about attracting pests.
To effectively sanitize your eggshells, simply sterilize your shells in an oven for half an hour at 200 degrees. You can then crush up the dried shells using a coffee grinder, food processors, or a mortar and pestle.
This method not only sanitizes the eggshells and makes them safe to use, but it crushes them down into fine particles so they are easier to use, too. Store them in an airtight container, and they’ll last close to forever - but you probably won’t ever learn that for yourself, as you’re likely to use them all up in your garden right away!