by Linda Heideman, Somervell County Master Gardener
1. Add crushed eggshells to the bottom of planting holes, especially for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. These crops are susceptible to blossom end rot, which is caused by calcium deficiency. While this deficiency is most often caused by improper watering, there’s no harm in making sure your plants have a steady source of calcium. As the eggshells break down, they’ll nourish the soil, and your plants.
2. Use eggshells as pots for starting plants from seed. Then plant the seedling, “pot” and all, into the garden.
3. Use crushed eggshells to deter slugs, snails, and cutworms. These garden pests are a real pain in the gardener’s neck, and cutworms are the worst, killing seedlings by severing the stems at soil level. All three of these pests have soft undersides, and dislike slithering across anything sharp. Crushed eggshells, applied to the soil’s surface, may help deter these pests.
4. Add them to the compost pile. If you aren’t planting tomatoes or trying to deter slugs, add the eggshells to your compost pile, where they’ll add calcium to your finished compost.
5. If you are feeding birds in your yard, crush up the eggshells and add them to a dish near the feeder. Female birds, particularly those who are getting ready to lay eggs or recently finished laying, require extra calcium and will definitely appreciate it!
No matter how you want to use them, be sure to rinse the shells out well before using them in the garden.