Well it has been a while since we did an Small Scale Gardening blog post, and it is time we got back to business. For those of you that have been following the story about our son Danny, head on over to the Bring Danny Home site for an update.
For those of you who do not want to head there, our prayers were answered on June 28, 2015, and my wife Julie and others found Danny. We are looking to get him back home as soon as we can. We thank everyone out there who helped us through prayer, volunteer work and support. We never could have gotten so far and done so much without you all.
In the meantime, it is time to get back to the main purpose of this site: Small Scale Gardening!
How to Save and Use Eggshells in the Garden
Plants need all kinds of nutrients to grow and develop. One of these key nutrients is calcium. Plants such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, and eggplant need calcium to set and develop healthy fruit. Without calcium, the ends of the fruit become grey and black and “sink” due to rot.
Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency. The plants are not getting enough calcium, and this can be the result of a lack of calcium in the soil, drought conditions/moisture fluctuations or rapid growth due to fertilizer applications.
I have dealt with blossom end rot before, and I believe it was due to the soil conditions. In order to prevent blossom end rot, I add calcium to the soil before I plant tomatoes, peppers, melons and eggplants. A great source of calcium for plants is eggshells.
I have a pretty straightforward method for saving and using eggshells. I typically bake the eggshells for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, crush them with a mortar and pestle and save them in the freezer until using them in the garden. This brief video shows how I save and use eggshells in the garden.
Other Uses for Eggshells
Fellow Minnesotan and gardener, Amy at Get Busy Gardening uses eggshells in her garden. The main difference in our methods are the following:
- Amy sets the shells out overnight and lets them dry naturally,
- Amy uses a coffee grinder to grind the shells into a fine, uniform powder and
- She uses the powder to control insects, slugs and other pests that damage the plants in the garden.
I have not used eggshells to deter Japanese beetles (had an infestation in Illinois) or slugs (battled them in 2014), but I am very interested to try them if I have pest problems.
Saving and using eggshells in the garden fits with the Small Scale Gardening Core Principles:
- Conserve and control resources (particularly water, energy, transportation)
There is no question that using waste products like eggshells in the garden is conserving and controlling resources. If we can use a waste product to control AND defeat pests, I am all for giving it a try!
Have you tried eggshells to combat blossom end rot or pests? I would love to hear your story and experiences! Feel free to submit a comment here or at the Small Scale Gardening Facebook Group!