Here's Why You Shouldn't Throw Away Eggshells
It is well known that eggshells make for great composting material, but now we are learning how they can do so much more in the garden. According to Apartment Therapy, eggshell water may be the nutrient-rich drink your plants have been looking for, as it is a highly effective, convenient, and inexpensive fertilizer option. Whether you save the water from hard-boiled eggs or you make it using empty shells, eggshell water is a great way to repurpose and get more out of your eggshells.
As it happens, eggshells can provide all the calcium carbonate the soil needs, which helps to lower the soil's pH level and make it more alkaline as opposed to acidic. This is incredibly beneficial for plant growth because many plants prefer to grow in soil that has low acidity. The lower pH levels of the soil help the plants to absorb more nutrients and it also acts as a repellent to elements that can be toxic to plants. That said, make sure you do your research on whether or not your plants prefer acidic or alkaline soil, and avoid using eggshell fertilizer on acid-loving plants.
Eggshells also discourage something known as blossom-end rot. There are certain fruit-bearing plants that will sometimes develop black spots on their fruits when the tissue breaks down, and these black spots are caused by calcium deficiency. Blossom-end rot significantly impacts the plants and reduces their overall yield. Moreover, eggshells can act as pest control in your garden. Deer are warded off by the lasting scent of eggs that were previously inside the shells. So you'll have fewer deer snacking on your plants. Also, because the broken shells are hard and have sharp edges, soft-bodied bugs will be put off by them and less likely to invade.
As the Apartment Therapy website notes, many plants absolutely love calcium carbonate as it helps keep the soil's pH at optimal levels to encourage their growth and long life. Calcium carbonate also helps to strengthen the cell walls of plants, which encourages vigorous growth. But it's not only the leafy parts of plants or the fruit they bear that benefit from the calcium carbonate. The mineral also encourages root growth, helping to strengthen the roots so they can grow at a faster rate. But, rather than just haphazardly throwing the shells on your plants and letting them decompose, Apartment Therapy suggests creating calcium-rich eggshell water, which you can easily do in the comfort of your own home.
Making Eggshell Water
The recipe and the list of ingredients are quite simple. To create the ideal eggshell water, SF Gate suggests you do the following::
Step 1: Boil a gallon of water.
Step 2: Add 10 clean and dry eggshells to the water.
Step 3: Allow the shells to sit in the water overnight.
Step 4: Strain the shells out of the water.
That's all it takes. You can then pour the milky-looking water directly onto the plant soil for a nutrient boost. We recommend using about two cups of the liquid. Do this once a week for maximum results. The great thing is that this method of using eggshell water works well for both outdoor plants and indoor plants. Eggshell water can also be stored in a closed container at room temperature for later use.
How Effective Is Eggshell Water?
You may be asking just how much calcium carbonate your plants will be able to receive this way. According to Jeff Gillman, author of The Truth About Garden Remedies, they are getting plenty. As he told SF Gate, he steeped a shell in water for 24 hours and then sent the water to a lab for testing. The results showed the eggshell-infused water contained four milligrams of calcium and potassium, along with small amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium.
If you don't want to make the water mixture because that seems like too much work or you simply don't have the time, you could always collect your eggshells, clean them, and crush them directly onto the soil in your garden or into a fine powder to get similar results. The best way, SF Gate noted, is to pulverize them first in a food processor or blender and sprinkle the powder on your soil just before you begin planting. That way, you get to both give your breakfast a second life, and give your plants a booster shot to thrive.