Once you see all the things you can do with eggshells, you’ll never throw them away again. Here’s how my family uses eggshells in the garden and around the house.
Fertilizer and Soil Amendment
Eggshells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate, so I grind them up into a fine powder, and use them to fertilize both my houseplants and my garden plants. Since blossom-end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant, I sprinkle powdered eggshells in the holes, when I’m planting my tomatoes and peppers. Then, I sprinkle additional eggshells on the soil throughout the growing season.
To save time, I usually save my eggshells until I have a bunch; then, I pulse them in a food processor or spice/coffee grinder to turn them into a powder. This can get kind of dusty, so you may want to do this outdoors.
I store my powdered eggshells in a five-gallon bucket, so I can easily scoop out shells whenever I need them.
Garden Pest Deterrent
I sprinkle crushed eggshells around the plants in my garden that are most susceptible to pests. The sharp edges serve as an effective deterrent against small pests, like slugs, snails and cutworms, as well as large pests like cats and deer. This natural barrier can be used to protect tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and a whole host of other vegetable plants, as well as ornamental plants, like hostas. I just lightly crush the eggshells in my hand, before spreading them around the garden.
Seed Starter Pots
I start my vegetable garden from seed every year, but I’ve never once bought seed starter pots. One of the things I use instead: eggshells. I simply rinse out some cracked eggshells, and allow them to dry. Then, I add a bit of seed-starting mix to each half; and plant my seeds. Easy and free! Here’s my seed-starting mix recipe, if you’re looking for a good one.
Chicken Feed Supplement
Hens require a lot of calcium in their diet to lay eggs, so it’s good to provide an additional source of calcium, beyond what they get in their layer feed. Oyster shells are one option, but why spend money, when you could just feed them their own eggshells? I crush them up, so they’re no longer recognizable as eggshells (don’t want any egg eaters in our flock); then, I sprinkle them in the yard, where they’re sure to find them when they’re out foraging. Some people mix the shells in with their pellets; other people offer them in a separate food dish. Do whatever seems to work best for your flock.
While some people bake their eggshells in the oven to sanitize them, I don’t do this. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
Homemade Sidewalk Chalk
My absolute favorite thing to make with eggshells is sidewalk chalk. Since calcium is the main ingredient in store-bought sidewalk chalk, eggshells are the perfect material to make chalk from. This is a fun kitchen chemistry project to do with kids.
If you’re too busy to do anything else with your eggshells, throw them in your compost pile. As they break down, they’ll add calcium and other minerals to your compost, while helping to aerate the soil.