Make an all-natural vegetable fertilizer with old eggshells

This method uses water and eggshells to produce inexpensive, nutrient-dense tea for your houseplants and garden.

Eggshells are no stranger to the gardener – whether used to start seedlings or crushed to add nutrients to the soil, many plant hobbyists use eggshells. But I especially like this method of making eggshell tea (yum!) To use as an all-natural, inexpensive fertilizer that can be used for houseplants or in the garden. Not only does this give our green friends a healthy dose of calcium, but it gives the eggs one last hurray before they head for the compost.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for plants, and as explained in a paper in the Annals of Botany, calcium deficiency can lead to all kinds of problems, such as: “tip burn” in leafy vegetables; “Brown heart” of leafy vegetables or “black heart” of celery; ‘Blossom end rot’ of watermelon, pepper and tomato; and “bitter walnut” of apples. And no one wants black hearts and bitter pits in their backyard.

And a good point that Emily Weller Remarks in SFGate, “Unlike synthetic fertilizers, when you use eggshells in your garden, you don’t have to worry about overdoing it.”

How to make eggshell tea fertilizer

• In a large saucepan, boil a gallon of water and add 10-20 clean eggshells to it.
• Put out the fire.
• Let the infusion sit overnight, then filter.
• Pour the tea over the soil of the plant.
• Apply once a week.

Why use eggshells?

Eggshell is almost entirely made up of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which is a common form of calcium and the most common form of calcium in nature (think seashells, coral reefs, and limestone). It is also the cheapest and most widely available form of calcium in supplements. And here we are, we throw it away! Eggshells also contain small amounts of other minerals. When master gardener Jeff Gillman, author of “The Truth About Garden Remedies,” sent a batch of eggshell tea to the lab, the results showed it contained 4 mg of calcium and potassium, as well as very small amounts of phosphorus, magnesium and sodium, Weller reports.

If you don’t like the eggshell brew, you can also crush the shells into coarse or powdered breadcrumbs. Wash the shells well and crumble them with your hands or grind them with a mortar and pestle, food processor, blender, etc. Mix it with garden soil or potting soil.

Finally, for as little work as possible, you can sprinkle crushed shells (crushed to the size of confetti) around the garden – this is said to be especially good if you have a slug problem, as they are said to don ‘ don’t like sharp edges.

For more all-natural gardening ideas, see the related stories below.

Going through Live in the south

Leon E. Hill

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