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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

How to Use Eggshells for Your Garden

Updated: Apr 1

Eggshells For Garden

I had the pleasure of growing up in a family that understood the rich benefits of growing our food. We didn’t have any farm animals, but we did have an awesome garden every summer.

There is absolutely nothing like those first green beans or that first BLT of the season! YUM! So, as I grew up and got married, I knew it was something I’d want to teach our kids as well. Not only would my kids know the work it takes to grow their own food, but they would also reap the benefits of a healthy diet and knowing how to fuel their bodies.

Fortunately, my husband's parents taught him these same values, so we set out to grow our first garden. There were a lot of ups and downs and learning curves. And while I don’t consider myself a “professional” gardener, I have learned some tips along the way. We even ran an organic CSA share program for a couple of summers. Our kids learned the value of hard work and a dollar those summers. These are memories we will cherish forever!

family who gardens

My father-in-law taught us so much about gardening and raising chickens! See those two high-tunnel greenhouses in the back? Those were full of organic goodness. We also had a 1-acre garden plot in our backyard that we gardened by HAND!

If you’re anything like us, you already have your garden mapped out for the year. Or, if you live anywhere warmer than we do (which is almost anywhere! Haha!), you may already have your garden planted! We’re a couple of weeks out from being able to plant our gardens here in Minnesota, but we are definitely getting things cleaned up and ready.

Part of our normal gardening routine is utilizing the eggshells from our flocks’ eggs. They’re a great source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and other plant minerals. And the best part? It’s free! Well, is anything really free? Of course, you must feed your chickens and take good care of them to be happy laying hens, but you get my point.

How Do I Use Eggshells in My Garden?

I love to kickstart my garden by using eggshells and repurposing egg cartons as seed starters. While I typically leave our eggs unwashed on the counter, I rinse them before use. After cracking the egg into a bowl, I rinse the shells and let them air dry in a bowl or jar. Once I've collected enough shells, I incorporate them into our garden when I plant the seeds.

I sprinkle them in the holes before planting, providing our plants with essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and magnesium. Plus, the sharp edges act as a natural pest deterrent, keeping unwanted critters away from the roots and plants. It's a simple yet effective way to nourish our garden and keep it thriving!

Which Plants Like Eggshells?

I remember going out to the garden one day many years ago and being so discouraged to find these black spots on the bottom of our tomatoes. They were big, juicy tomatoes that looked like they’d been in a fight. Upon some research, I discovered that “end rot” is caused by a lack of calcium. Eggshells give the plants that extra boost to ensure there’s enough calcium available to the plants, which, in turn, provides enough nutrients for healthy fruit. There are multiple plants that benefit from eggshells in your garden. Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, flowers, strawberries and squash are some examples!

Tomato Plants

To Crush or Not to Crush Eggshells?

There are different schools of thought on this. If you’re noticing a problem in your plants, pulverizing the shells into an easy-to-absorb powder will make the most sense. If you’re simply using the shells to get things started or pest control, I just crush them into little pieces. This allows them to slowly decompose into the soil around the plant while they keep pests away.

Crushed eggshells for gardening

Eggshells are also excellent for feeding back to your chickens! This provides them with a calcium-rich source that they need to continue with healthy egg production. A healthy adult laying hen needs 4-5g of calcium daily! While I always have oyster shells on hand for them, they gobble up their own eggshells as well. It’s a simple way for me to ensure the girls are getting everything they need.

If you’ve been gardening for years or are just starting, I’d encourage you to incorporate eggshells into your plan. Something I love so much about eggs is that you literally can use every part of the egg! Nothing is wasted. And crushed eggshells in a jar on your counter are actually kind of pretty!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady


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