If you are wondering how to reduce your used egg shell waste daily, you can repurpose them for plants to fulfill the nutrient requirements.
Not just an excellent source of protein for humans, the egg shells equally aid plant health.
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Benefits of Egg Shells for Plants
Gardeners often use fertilizers to supplement significant nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, but deep down struggle to supply micronutrients, especially calcium.
Since egg shell primarily constitutes calcium and is bio-degradable, it is the best way to fill the plant’s calcium needs, adding a green thumb.
- When incorporated in the soil, it lowers soil pH, which benefits plants like geranium, lavender, and campanula that prefer alkaline soil.
- Adding egg shell powder to soil amends the soil by aiding porosity.
- Increase the uptake of other nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous.
- Egg shells contain traces of minerals like fluorine and magnesium that encourage vigorous growth, strengthening the plant roots.
- Reduces or potentially replaces the use of synthetic chemical calcium carbonate, thus promoting organic produce.
Apart from the above benefits, several myths about egg shells for plants are circulating among the gardening community online.
For instance, many gardens believe egg shells help prevent blossoms rot caused due to calcium deficiency.
It might be somewhat valid, but no scientific proof exists for complete prevention.
Likewise, you’ll notice home gardeners overlaying egg shell chunks over the soil with the hope to deter pests and rodents due to the smell of raw eggs.
However, that’s far from the truth. The smell of raw eggs doesn’t last long enough to prevent pests.
How Do You Use Egg Shells for Plants?
Now that we know all the benefits of egg shells for plants and their composting property, we cannot let 95% of calcium carbonate carriers get dumped into landfills.
Following this, you might think of randomly throwing out egg shell chunks into the soil. Instead, it takes some work to convert the raw egg shells into compostable form.
The first step to using egg shells for plants is to clean the shells by rinsing them under running water.
This is because residual egg or yolk in the shells increases the risk of harmful bacteria or potential pathogens entering the soil, leading to plant diseases or other issues like infected roots and root rot.
1. Egg Shell Powder
To prepare egg shell powder for your plants, you’ll need some clean and dry egg shells, a baking sheet, a blender or food processor, and an airtight container.
- Place the egg shells on a baking sheet and let them dry out completely in an oven for 10-15 minutes preheated at 200°F.
- Allow the egg shells to cool for a few minutes until touching them barehand is okay.
- Put the egg shells in a food processor or a blender and pulse them until they are finely ground into a powder.
- Now the powder is ready to be used. Store the remaining in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting in.
You can add egg shell powder to your plant soil as often as you like, but it’s generally best to do so once or twice a month.
For that, sprinkle the desired amount of egg shell powder onto the soil around the base of the plant or mix it into the top few inches of soil.
However, as a general rule, use around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of shell powder per plant.
Further, water the soil thoroughly to help the powder settle into the soil and release its nutrient.
Note: You can crush the egg shells using a pestle and mortar or rolling pin. However, the result is a coarser powder that takes a relatively long time to break down and release its calcium into the soil.
2. Egg Shell Tea
Another way to extract the goodness of calcium from egg case is by boiling it or, in normal terms making an egg shell tea for your plants.
After boiling it for 20-30 mins, let the concentrate cool and settle down overnight.
Further, strain the egg shell into a jar, and your egg shell tea is ready to be poured into your favorite calcium-starved plant.
But before using the water, dilute a glass of egg shell tea into four liters.
Apparently, the calcium component in the tea is less than that in the crushed one.
3. Egg Shell Planter
An egg shell is an eco-friendly option for starting seeds indoors. Moreover, making egg shell planters can be fun to keep your kids busy on weekends.
For that, you must ensure to crack right at the top, keeping most of the shells intact.
As egg shells are very fragile, be mindful while handling them, or you’ll end up with shell crumbs instead of a planter.
Now, clean the shell’s inside, and add some seed-starting mix using a spoon. Place your desired seeds into the mix and lightly cover them with more potting soil.
Further, keep the seedling shells right back on the tray or egg carton and lightly water them.
For vigorous germination and growth of the seedling, you’ll have to keep the egg shell warm. So, place them near the window where it receives bright indirect sunlight.
After the seedlings reach an inch in height, you can simply transplant them along with the egg shells. This saves your plant from potential stress during transplanting.
Apply light pressure to crush the shell and directly bury it into a pot or garden with the shells wholly covered.
From Editorial Team
Egg shells are a versatile material, with their use beyond just plants.
Like plants, add crushed egg shells to your pet’s food as a natural source of calcium.
And if you do not grow plants and pets, use egg shells in various crafts, from mosaic art to jewelry making.