You’ve probably heard that using eggs in the garden is a great way to add nutrients to plants, deter pests, and solve all sorts of other gardening problems.
Eggs are a staple in many people’s diets, and we throw away many eggshells (easily hundreds a year) that can be of use in the garden. But how do you know if it makes sense to use eggs in your particular garden?
While we wouldn’t suggest that you should expect miracles from your old eggshells, we’ve listed some of the clever ways you can reuse them in your yard and shattered some of the myths about gardening with eggshells.
- See: 5 possible uses Coffee grounds in the garden – extraordinary ways to increase your blooms
1. Use crushed eggshells to add nutrients to your soil
This is by far the most common use for eggs in the garden. Eggs contain calcium as well as traces of other elements such as magnesium and phosphorus. It’s great for adding nutrients to your soil and compost.
However, most soils in North America are already high in calcium, so you may not need to add more. Also, if you add egg to acidic soil, the calcium will not be absorbed by your plants. In fact, you may have too much nitrogen in your soil, which will do more harm than good. Do a simple pH check of your soil to see if you should add egg.
- See: Ideas for flower beds – 10 beautiful ways to create flower arrangements in your garden
2. Using eggs to prevent flower end rot
Some people swear by adding egg to the base of plants that are prone to flower end rot, especially tomatoes and zucchini. What people don’t know, however, is that flower end rot mainly affects annual flowers.
If you’re still struggling in your sophomore year, it’s time to give eggshells a chance to work their calcium-boosting magic. You can also try accompanying planting to reduce all kinds of problems with tomatoes and other plants.
3. Use eggshells as mulch
Eggshells make an excellent mulch that helps plants retain moisture and fight off weeds. You need a fair amount of eggshell to make enough mulch, however, so you’ll need to whip up those cakes and omelets to build up a large enough supply of shells.
4. Fending off pests with eggs – fact or fiction?
Opinions are divided on whether eggshells repel slugs, bugs, and other insects that you don’t want near your plants. The mechanism for repelling snails is clear enough: the sharp edges of crushed eggshells cut snails so that they dodge them.
In reality it works just if your eggshells stay dry. Watering and rain both affect how this hack works, so be sure to try it on dry days or try another method instead.
5. Feed wild birds with eggshells
This is the best use of eggs in the garden. Wild birds visiting our gardens are often calcium deficient and eat small pieces of crushed eggshells as a supplement. For this reason alone, it’s worth spreading crushed eggshells around your garden.
- See: Ideas for wild gardens, from the horticultural experts at the National Trust
Should I use whole raw eggs or crushed eggshells?
Using a whole raw egg in the garden is a bit of a waste of eggs – all of the nutrients needed for plants and / or wildlife are in the egg shells.
“Raw egg fertilizer may not be the best way to add calcium to your plants,” writes Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturalist Garden knowledge. Use the eggshells instead – and bake them to disinfect them when you’re feeding birds.
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