Garden Hack of the Month: Eggshell Do’s and Don’ts

January 10, 2018

Since the majority of us consume eggs, whether sunny side up or in cookies and cakes, we all have leftover eggshells. But, if you have a garden, don’t throw them out quite yet! Once they have been rinsed out of any remaining egg, sterilized, and dried, eggshells can be re-purposed and used in many places throughout your garden…and there’s also a couple places that they don’t do much good.

Do:

-Use eggshells as a fertilizer- cleaned, dried, and pulverized eggshells (use a blender, mortar and pestle, etc to break them down) help add calcium to the soil once they’ve broken down after a couple months. The best time to till in eggshells is in the fall/early winter so they have time to decompose.

-Compost eggshells- Eggshells can be composted either full size or crushed up but it’s best to crush them first since they do take a while to break down.

-Make eggshell garden “tea”- Please do not drink this, I can’t imagine it tasting very good anyways! Once your eggshells have been cleaned and dried, add them to a milk jug or other large container of water. Let this eggshell/water mixture sit out in the sun for a couple of weeks (keep away from people/windows as it can start to smell a little) and then strain out the eggshells. You can now use this eggshell “tea” to water your plants, such as strawberries and tomatoes.

-Make seed starters- This is a great activity to do with kids and let them watch the seeds sprout. Keep the deeper halves of the shells and make sure to clean and dry the shells. You’ll also want to use a nail or needle to carve out a hole in the bottom of the shell for drainage and then place them in an egg carton to hold them while they sprout. Add soil to each shell half and then plant the seeds according to the directions and water. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can then plant them, shell and all, in your garden.

-Add to bird feed- If you have birds in your yard or wishing to attract more, eggshells are a healthy addition and welcome treat, especially for female birds. It’s important to sterilize in a 250 degree oven until dried out and let the eggshells cool off before crushing them. You can then add them to your bird feeder with bird seed, millet, etc or even sprinkle a little on your deck railing if you want to see the birds up close.

Don’t:

-Don’t use as a foolproof slug/pest deterrent: While coarsely crushed eggshells can work as a slug deterrent, it’s not always true. I’ve seen slugs and snails just slither right on over them like there’s nothing there so just be cautious of this.

-Don’t use raw eggs as a deer or cat deterrent if you also have a rodent problem: While deer and cats don’t like the smell of raw eggs (and who does?), that same smell can attract rodents so if you or your neighbors have rodents, it’s best to steer away from this use for eggshells.

Have you tried using eggshells in your garden? Found any surprised uses that have worked best for you? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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