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6 Creative Uses of Eggshells That'll Benefit Your Garden

 It's no secret that eggs, full of protein, minerals, and vitamins, are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Across the globe, the average person consumes about 150-200 eggs a year. That's over a trillion eggs! Now ask yourself this: "What happens to all those eggshells?"

 

A chicken egg shell is about 96% calcium carbonate crystals which are bound together by proteins. Common commercial methods for disposing of eggshells include using them as fertilizers or as a source of calcium in animal feed, but the average consumer puts them in the trashcan or down the garbage disposal. If you're one of these people, please read on to discover six creative uses for eggshells that will benefit your garden.

1. Fertilizer
Eggshells are a brilliant way to add calcium to your compost. Since eggshells have a very high surface area to volume ratio, they decompose very quickly. You don't even have to worry about sterilizing them or grinding them up - just toss your shells on the pile or into the barrel and turn them under. Alternately, you can add crumbled eggshells directly to the bottom of your planting holes in the spring.

During the winter, distribute the shells over the plot of land where you will be planting come springtime. Once the ground warms up, you can till the shells into the soil. If you don't like the idea of having eggshells on the ground all winter, you can also clean and store the shells until planting season arrives.

While calcium is considered to be a secondary nutrient for plants, your garden will definitely appreciate the added minerals, especially if you're growing tomatoes and peppers as these plants are easily affected by calcium deficiencies.

2. Pest-Deterrent
If you have a problem with slugs or snails, try sprinkling coarsely-crumbled eggshells around the plants that these pests like to dine on. The shells' sharp edges abrade the sensitive feet of any land mollusk that attempts to cross the barrier.

 

3. Feed the Birds
Both before and after laying eggs, mother birds need lots of calcium in their diets. Sterilize your eggshells by baking them at around 120 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes so the shells are dry, but not brown on the inside. Then crumble your eggshells well and place them outdoors (in a feeder or even just on the ground) during the spring and summer.

You can also mix the eggshell crumbles with birdseed, suet, or mealworms in a bird feeder. Either way, these mother birds might just thank you by also dining on any pests that could be damaging your garden.

4. Seed-Starter Pots 

Since eggshells quickly biodegrade when introduced into soil, they also double as the perfect seed-starter pots. When you open your eggs to remove the contents, try to break just a small hole at the end of the shell. Clean the inside of the eggshells (boiling water works well here) and puncture a small drainage hole in the bottom of each empty shell. Place them back into the carton, fill each shell with moist potting soil, and add your seeds.
Once the seedlings outgrow their "pots" you can transplant them, shell and all, directly into bigger pots or out into the garden.

 

5.  Repel Deer
If you have deer visiting your garden and munching on your precious plants every night, scatter some eggshells around the plants that they like best. Deer tend to stay away from areas that smell like raw eggs. Just be careful when using this method as the smell may actually attract rodents who like to eat eggs.

6. Aesthetic Value
Finely ground eggshells can be very pretty. If you have a large family or simply eat a lot of eggs, boil your shells to sterilize them, crumble, then drop into a large glass jar for storage. Once you have collected enough shell pieces, sprinkle them around and between your plants. Not only will the eggshells help control pests and eventually add calcium back to the soil, the white color can also bring a beautiful accent to your garden.


Source: naturallivingideas

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