Eggshells for the Garden

As I was browsing through some blogs the other day I came across a question about eggshells on Ask Jackie. Her response reminded me of how we used to bury our eggshells in our small composting area many, many years ago.
“You can just set them out in an old carton until they are nice and dry then crush them and put them in a bucket until you can sprinkle them on your garden or dig them into your compost pile. Crushed egg shells add calcium to the soil and help prevent such problems as blossom end rot in tomatoes and squash. Good for you for thinking of it! Waste not; want not is our motto. — Jackie”
We haven’t been saving eggshells here because I didn’t want to put them out in the garden and attract varmints. But the idea of letting them dry, and crushing them before adding them to the garden seemed like a great idea. And I really like the comment that said putting crushed eggshells around the base of the plants deterred snails. The snails have eaten my winter broccoli from the inside out leaving a slimy hollow stalk.

So, now I have another bucket for eggshells sitting next to a small cookie sheet covered in empty eggshells drying on a shelf. We use at least 9 or 10 eggs a day for animals and humans, so that will be a fair amount of calcium added to the garden soil. I will especially add them to the squash and tomato plants and see what a difference it makes.

Many people dry their eggshells and feed them back to their chickens. This may be an accepted practice, but it’s not one we choose to do. We avoid any practice that could encourage them to eat their own eggs. Our chickens don’t get anything that comes from chickens – egg scraps, eggshells, broth, or meat. We don’t consider it to be a healthy practice to consume your own species. You know, cannibalism. This is just our practice.

One more way to extend the usefulness of an otherwise discarded item. Isn’t life grand? It’s always giving us something to learn and something to put to good use.

Until next time – Fern

10 thoughts on “Eggshells for the Garden

  1. I know a lot of people feed eggshells to their chickens, Jan, it's just not a practice we use. Every so often when the hens scratch the hay in the nest box down to bare wood, an egg is broken and they eat it. We gather them twice a day to help prevent that, but right now we have some young layers that tend to really scratch the hay out regularly. It's kind of like an egg hunt when we look in the next boxes for eggs. Sometimes they are well buried in the hay and if you don't check very carefully, you'll miss them. No two flocks of birds are ever quite the same. It's always a learning process. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  2. I read somewhere that gently baking the rinsed eggshells (I rinse & freeze till I have enough) then crushing changes the taste somewhat and then crushing them about the size of grit to give to the chickens. I put them in an old cheese container and sprinkle in their food. They think it's a treat I guess because they'll throw the food out of the bin to get to 'that white stuff'! In 8 months with various ages, I've had no egg eating. Jan in NWGA

  3. It sounds like you were doing exactly what Jackie recommended, Bellen. I keep the cookie sheet on a shelf in a west window. It is also above a central heat vent. It only takes a day for them to dry. I don't see why it wouldn't work on the dash of a vehicle, but I'm not going to cart them out there. I like the short walk across the room to a shelf. (-:Thank you for sharing.Fern

  4. I have never heard about putting eggshells in juice, or any liquid, to benefit from the calcium in the shell, Tewshooz. That is fascinating. I think you teach me something new with every comment. Thank you.Fern

  5. Good information, SJ. I don't dry our coffee grounds, just keep them in an old coffee can as I empty them from the reusable filter. We tried them out on fire ants last summer and it does seem to make a difference. It doesn't get rid of them altogether, but does seem to impact the population density. I'm looking forward to trying the eggshells as well. And I'm excited about a good use for something that would otherwise get thrown away. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  6. I have Jackie's canning book, as well as a handful of her smaller homesteading books. Her canning book is filled with lots of information besides just canning. I would recommend it to everyone. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  7. I used to keep eggshells on a cookie sheet and after using the oven just stuck the cookie sheet in and the eggshells dried overnight. Put the shells in a bucket and when it was about 1/3 full crushed them with a piece of 2×4 and put on the garden where needed.Recently started saving shells again and now just set them outside in the sun to dry – this time of year takes about 3 days, in the summer about 1. I've even dried them in the solar oven. Wonder if you could dry them on the dash of a vehicle?

  8. Years ago I used to wash our eggs well and then put the shells in the orange juice pitcher. That was when orange did not have all the additives it does now, We got our vitamin C and calcium together that way. I think that was something Adel Davis has in one of her books on healthful eating.

  9. I also use the egg shells to deter slugs and snails and have found it effective. Since I don't use many eggs in a week, my system is a little different then yours. I keep a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer on the door. I add my egg shells to the bag as used. When the bag is full, I crush the shells in the ziplock and then sprinkle the crushed shell in the garden. I also save used coffee grounds, dry them in a colander and add to the garden. The dry grounds seem to deter the slugs and snails as well. Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC

  10. I very much enjoy Jackie Clay and Backwoods home magazine. I subscribed for years, but now it's been a couple years since I've subscribed. I do have her canning book though and her pantry cookbook. She's my go to for \”outlaw\” canning. I always have trouble with blossom end rot so I'm going to have to try this as well.

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