You Can Grow 2 Times More With Eggshells! How to Start Using Eggshells in The Garden.

When people ask about my mom’s secret to growing tomatoes, she always replies with “I just use eggshells!”. That’s the only fertilizer that she uses.

For context, my mom grows the tomatoes the size of an adult man’s head.

Enough to away tons of gallon bags of ‘Beefmaster’ tomatoes to our neighbors every year. She grows enough tomatoes to feed a neighborhood!

And you can learn how to start using eggshells like her! However, first, we need to prepare them safely. Let’s start!

How to Prepare Eggshells For Plants

Preparing eggshells is simple! It’s essential to do it right to avoid salmonella from spreading to you and your plants. So here are the steps for preparing eggshells to use in the garden.

Step 1. Gather Your Eggshells

The average four-person household can easily go through a dozen to three dozen eggs in a week, so there’s plenty available for use. To collect eggshells for preparation, keep them in either an airtight container, or paper bag.

Step 2. Rinse Your Eggshells

To rinse or not to rinse is a hot topic. I like to rinse my eggshells before using them. It gets rid of any remaining slimy membrane or bacteria.

Rinsing them is straightforward. Run it under cold water, and you’re finished!

However, if you want to be 100% that there are no containments, rinse them with vinegar instead. The acidity of vinegar kills bacteria, dirt, or any other things you would not want on your eggshells.

Step 3. Dry Your Eggshells

Layout your washed eggshells on a flat surface until they’re dry.

Want to make the process faster? Then heat your eggshells for 30 minutes at 200 degrees F. This will also sterilize them if you’re not a fan of the smell of vinegar.

Step 4. Crush Your Eggshells

Crushing your eggshells makes it easier to be decomposed, and therefore, you get results faster. There are many ways to grind them. You can use a mortar and pestle, a blender, or a coffee grinder.

How fine the pieces are is to you. If you’re using this for vermicomposting, crush them to almost a powder.

If you want to make them easier to crush, freeze your eggshells for a week.

Step 5. Store or Use Your Eggshells

To store your eggshells, put them in an airtight container. Or use them however you see fit!

Close up of broken eggshells against paper surface

Here Are 3 Ways to Start Using Eggshells

The good thing about this method is that you can use your shells for many different purposes. It’s the multipurpose supplement that your plants want and need. Here are the ways you can use them. However, it isn’t limited to just these three.

Close up of a pair of hands holding a pile of soil with a garden plant growing out of it

1. As a Fertilizer

Just like us, plants need calcium to build up their “bones” or cell walls. And eggshells are the perfect way to get that well-needed nutrient. This leads to resilient, crunchier plants!

Tomatoes that get extra calcium are less likely to get blossom-end rot. See the definition of blossom end rot here.

Closeup of gloved hands holding a pile of dirt full of garden worms

2. Add Grit for Your Vermicompost

Many believe that worms have gizzards, just like chickens, to aid in digestion. Eggshells are the perfect grit for your worms, but there’s a couple of guidelines to follow.

  1. You have to crush them to a fine powder. Worms don’t have teeth, so they can’t break down whole shells.
  2. Only add up to 1/2 of powder a month. Too much of a good thing is damaging, especially when it’s about nutrients in your compost. Make sure to monitor how fast your worms go through a helping.
  3. Sterilize Your Shells. Having bacteria like salmonella in your compost can produce some nasty smells that could render your entire batch useless.
Close up of garden broad beans
Broad Beans love lime in their soil! But blueberries? Not so much.

3. Use It As a Lime for Your Soil

See the definition of Lime here.

Eggshells are mostly made of calcium, so it is perfect for alkalizing acidic soil. Therefore, I do not recommend using it as fertilizer for plants that like acidic soil, like blueberries.

close up of eggshells

Common Questions When Using Eggshells

1. Does It Smell?

In a nutshell, no. The gooey part of an egg consists of protein and fat. When it starts to expire, it causes a funky rotten egg smell. This is also why you don’t add meat and dairy to compost.

If you wash your eggshells well, they should be free of the membrane, and the smell.

2. Is it Dangerous?

While most eggs are free of salmonella, you can’t be sure until it’s too late. However, there are ways you can safely use eggshells.

You can rinse them in vinegar or sterilize them to make sure it is free of salmonella.

3. How Much Eggshell Should I Add to my Plant?

Five crushed shells per plant. Or one teaspoon of eggshell powder.

4. Can I Use Eggshell to Repel Pests?

Eggshells do not repel slugs or rodents. It encourages it. I recommend that you try out another method instead! Good luck with your pest adventures!

5. Can I Add Whole Eggshells or Eggs?

Whole eggshells, yes. However, it will decompose slower, and you won’t get the benefits as quickly.

Whole eggs? No. Once the eggshell decomposes, the protein and fat in the egg will attract multiple pests like flies, maggots, and other unpleasant guests to your soil.

What’s Next, Sarika?

You can start saving up eggshells today! Especially since the gardening season is wrapping up in many temperant areas. You can have a whole season worth of eggshells to use by the next gardening season! So why not start now!

To check out more cool season articles, read “5 Vegetables That Grow Quickly In Pots“. Hope you enjoy!

Sign up to my email list and get exclusive announcements and coupons when my latest product, “You are a Gardener: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Gardening” launches for preorder at 30% off!

If you want to learn about more plants to grow and get to know me personally, subscribe to my Plant of the Month! I share gardening experiences, and teach you about a new plant every month! You can always unsubscribe!

Before you go, don’t forget to snag your gardening dictionary! I collected and defined more the 100 of the most common gardening terms you’ll come across. So that next time you encounter a gardening word, you’re not scratching your head and saying, “Huh?”.

And that’s all for now. Happy Gardening, till we meet again.

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