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Supercharge Your Gardening Soil With Something You Probably Discard

Updated on May 20, 2018
Amber Killinger profile image

Amber has been crafting since childhood and a recycling enthusiast her whole adult life.Blending these two hobbies is a passion of hers.

Eggshells Are A Great Source of Calcium for Soil

While all plants need calcium, many vegetable plants, and some fruit plants, especially thrive in soil that is rich in calcium. It's so easy to make your own egg shell fertilizer.

What Does Calcium Do For Plants?

Calcium helps build strong cell walls in plants and is one of the nutrients that help form strong stems to help the plants grow straight.

In this article, I will share with you how I use eggshells to improve the mineral content in my gardening soil.

Add nutrients; Eggshells in garden soil add calcium.
Add nutrients; Eggshells in garden soil add calcium. | Source

Simple Steps for Using Eggshells for Soil Enrichment

  1. Allow eggshells to dry completely
  2. Crush eggshells into pieces as small as possible
  3. Sprinkle crushed eggshells on the soil
  4. Gently turn the crushed eggshells into the top of the soil

Steps with Photos

Step 1

When you're cooking, set aside eggshells and allow them to dry.

We keep a bowl next to the stove and put our discarded eggshells in the bowl. We keep piling them up until the bowl is full. We let them dry out thoroughly before moving on to Step 2.

Source

TIP

Let the eggshells dry completely before crushing them!

Eggs are a binding agent and if the eggshells have wet egg in them when you crush them, it will cause clumping.

Step 2 - Crush Eggshells

I like to crush the eggshells in two steps.

First, I put the eggshells in a recycled container and I use a metal potato masher to crush the shells from large pieces into smallish-medium pieces.

First, break down large eggshells into smaller pieces.
First, break down large eggshells into smaller pieces. | Source
Source

Second, I place the broken eggshells on newspaper or other thick paper to crush it into smaller pieces.

Lay eggshells on thick paper or newspaper
Lay eggshells on thick paper or newspaper | Source

Below, I will cover some different tools I've tried to crush eggshells, and I'll show you the results. Generally, I'll use whatever is on hand and convenient. I always place the eggshells on thick paper prior to crushing them.

Option #1: Use a vitamin bottle to roll over the eggshells to crush them.
Option #1: Use a vitamin bottle to roll over the eggshells to crush them. | Source
Option #2: Use a discarded can to roll over the eggshells to crush them.
Option #2: Use a discarded can to roll over the eggshells to crush them. | Source
Option #3: Use the same potato masher to pound the eggshells to crush them.
Option #3: Use the same potato masher to pound the eggshells to crush them. | Source
Option #4: Use a rubber mallet to pound the eggshells to crush them. NOTE: Cover the eggshells with another layer of paper before hammering, to avoid eggshell pieces from flying around.
Option #4: Use a rubber mallet to pound the eggshells to crush them. NOTE: Cover the eggshells with another layer of paper before hammering, to avoid eggshell pieces from flying around. | Source
Option #5: Use a small heavy mallet to pound the eggshells to crush them. NOTE: Cover the eggshells with another layer of paper before hammering, to avoid eggshell pieces from flying around.
Option #5: Use a small heavy mallet to pound the eggshells to crush them. NOTE: Cover the eggshells with another layer of paper before hammering, to avoid eggshell pieces from flying around. | Source

Eggshell Crushing Results

Using the small heavy mallet did the best job of crushing the eggshells. I found that it was easier, and less tiring on my arm, to crush the eggshells with the top of the mallet, instead of holding the mallet like a hammer.

Tip: Using the top of the mallet to pound the eggshells in a straight up and down motion is easier on your arm than using it like a hammer.
Tip: Using the top of the mallet to pound the eggshells in a straight up and down motion is easier on your arm than using it like a hammer. | Source
On the left, eggshells crushed with vitamin bottle, can and potato masher all look similar.  On the right, the metal mallet crushes the shells into smaller pieces. (The rubber mallet crushed the eggshells into sizes between these two)
On the left, eggshells crushed with vitamin bottle, can and potato masher all look similar. On the right, the metal mallet crushes the shells into smaller pieces. (The rubber mallet crushed the eggshells into sizes between these two) | Source

TIP

The smaller the pieces of eggshell are, the more easily they will break down and be absorbed into the soil. A powder would be ideal.

Step 3 - Sprinkle Crushed Eggshells Over the Soil

I take every opportunity I can to upcycle an item instead of throwing it away, and I found that a cap from a laundry soap bottle makes a really great eggshell scooper. Scoop a little bit of crushed eggshells and sprinkle them over your garden.

Crushed eggshells sprinkled over soil
Crushed eggshells sprinkled over soil | Source

TIP

Use an old laundry soap cap as a scooper

Laundry soap cap as scooper
Laundry soap cap as scooper | Source

Step 4 - Gently Turn The Soil To Mix In Eggshells

Using your fingers as a rake, or a spade or a small hand-rake, gently work the eggshells into the soil. If you are preparing a new larger gardening bed, a shovel can be used. Eggshells should mostly disappear as shown in the next photo.

Gently mix eggshells in to top of soil
Gently mix eggshells in to top of soil | Source

That's It!!

Not too hard, huh?

I get a lot of satisfaction in finding easy ways to reuse every-day items, help keep things out of our landfills and fill my crafty cravings. It's a bonus when it's good for the Earth!

TIP

If you aren't going to use all of the crushed eggshells right away, store them in a recycled container with a lid. Funnel the crushed eggshells into the container after crushing them.

Fold the paper that your eggshells are on to help pour them into a container, for later use.
Fold the paper that your eggshells are on to help pour them into a container, for later use. | Source

Re-apply Eggshells From Time to Time

If you want to keep the soil rich in nutrients, you will need to replenish the soil from time to time. I like to sprinkle crushed eggshells around my garden 2 or 3 times a year.

© 2018 Amber Killinger

Comments

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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      6 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Thankyou for the useful article. I had no idea about eggshells, so I learned something today!

    • Amber Killinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Amber Killinger 

      6 months ago

      Peggy, thank you so much for your comment. I love that you're composting and refreshing your garden soil. Good for you. It's so nice that you're treating the Earth kindly. Hopefully you will inspire others to do the same.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      We have a compost pile and I always add crushed eggshells as well as coffee grounds and vegetative matter into it. At least once a year I work the decomposed matter which is rich with nutrients into our garden. Nice that you are publicizing the benefits of using eggshells in gardening.

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