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Making Compost From Eggshells For Home Garden

Introduction to making compost from eggshells

Many people don’t know that using eggshells in the garden can help in several ways. Putting eggshells in your compost is okay and they are a rich source of calcium and other essential nutrients that plants need. Composting is a way to reduce organic yard and enrich garden soil, though eggshells are identifiable after the compost product is finished. This is not a problem but seems unsightly to some people and to avoid this, let them dry out for a few days or place them in a warm oven to dry more quickly. Drying your shells allows them to crush more completely before you add them to the compost bin. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How do you use eggshells in the garden
  • Are eggshells good for plants
  • How long do eggshells take to compost
  • How long does it take for eggshell to break down in the soil
  • How to safely compost eggshells
  • Baking eggshells for compost

A step by step guide to making compost from eggshells

Crushed eggshells can be used to block holes in plant pots though providing the soil with nutrients as they decompose. This trick works for all kinds of potted plants such as spider plants, ferns, and ivy, and is as simple as placing a layer of crushed shells at the bottom of a planting container. Before using the shells, they must be washed clean of residue and broken into pieces large enough to thoroughly cover the holes.

Eggshells are the perfect candidate for composting and they break down quickly, and they add a nice dose of calcium to the soil. Just make sure the eggshells are dry before you add them to the pile so you don’t attract any unwanted critters. If you have a worm compost bin, adding eggshells is a great way to keep the proper pH level.

Nutrients in eggshells

Eggshells have plenty of calcium that can make compost even more powerful. Plants require calcium to grow fast. The mineral is necessary for cell formation, and in some plant species, it mainly helps to prevent blossom end rot.

In addition to calcium, eggshells have many other minerals that are beneficial to plants. These include carbon and a low percentage of phosphorous and nitrogen. The eggshells contain small amounts of copper, sodium, potassium, zinc, iron, and manganese.

Nitrogen – Nitrogen is an essential part of the living cells, and it helps with rapid plant growth. It increases the metabolism involved in the synthesis of food in the leaves. Nitrogen improves the quality of the plant leaves and facilitates the transfer of energy.

Potassium – This mineral is required in larger amounts than all others except for calcium and nitrogen. Potassium mainly helps in the building of proteins and photosynthesis. Potassium assists in fruit formation and prevention of diseases.

Zinc – It is a constituent of many plant enzymes and proteins. It helps in many processes like hormone production and elongation of internodes. Zinc deficiency causes stunted growth, distorted leaves, interveinal chlorosis, and brown spots on plant leaves.

Magnesium – Magnesium is an essential component of chlorophyll. Magnesium activates all the vital enzymes required for growth and photosynthesis. Magnesium deficiency leads to low crop yield. Because the mineral is mobile within the plant, the symptoms will first appear on the lower and older leaves. You will notice pale leaves with purple or reddish colour spots.

Phosphorous – Phosphorous helps in the conversion of nutrients and is a building block that facilitates growth in plants. Many commercial fertilizers have phosphorous as a constituent. Phosphorous deficiency can mainly cause low or zero flower production, a weak root system, and a bright green cast. If you are gardening plants for their flowers and fruits, replenishing phosphorous is necessary. Instead of using commercial fertilizers, you can quickly improve soil’s phosphorous content through eggshell manure. Adding eggshell compost to the garden help the garden plants better absorb the phosphorus amounts in the land.

Copper – It is a micronutrient needed in small quantities by plants. Copper plays the main role in the activation of enzymes required in lignin synthesis. The mineral comes in handy during photosynthesis. It mainly helps in plant respiration and the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. Copper deficiency causes leaf chlorosis, improper formation of plant leaves, and wilting. Lack of copper can also inhibit the growth of lateral branches. Another telltale sign of copper deficiency is a shorter stem length between the plant leaves.

Manganese – Manganese is an essential nutrient required for plant growth. Many plant processes mainly depend on manganese, including photosynthesis, chloroplast formation, nitrogen metabolism, and the formation of some enzymes. Unlike magnesium, manganese is not a component of chlorophyll. Though, its deficiency symptoms are very similar to those of magnesium. These include yellowing of leaves and interveinal chlorosis. The symptoms appear first on new plant leaves.

Eggshells in the Garden

It turns out eggshells have a variety of nutrients that plants can use (calcium 50 ppm, sulfur 39 ppm, magnesium 12 ppm, and potassium 12 ppm). They also have 21 ppm sodium and 5% organic matter.

The organic matter might be a surprise as it is not mentioned by any gardening sites. Eggshells have a hard outer shell, and a soft inner white skin. The inner skin contains the organic matter and the organic content can be even higher than 5% if they are not washed out. This organic matter contains nitrogen in the form of proteins, which is useful to plants after it decomposes. From a nutrient point of view, eggshells would be a benefit to the garden soil if they decompose so that the nutrients are made obtainable to the plants.

Eggshells have been recommended as a soil amendment and containers due to their high calcium content. Some gardeners grow tomatoes swear by adding six or more eggshells in the planting hole, with the idea that the extra calcium will reduce blossom end rot of tomato fruit. And, other gardeners use compost their eggshells to add calcium to their finished compost.

Composed of calcium carbonate, eggshells are a good way to introduce this mineral into the soil. To prepare the eggshells, grind with a mixer, grinder, or mortar and pestle and till them into the soil. As it takes several months for eggshells to break down and be absorbed by a plant’s roots, it is recommended that they are tilled into the soil in fall. More shells can be mixed into the soil in the spring. Finely crushed shells mixed with organic matter at the bottom of a hole will help newly planted plants thrive. For an exciting recycled garden cocktail, try mixing eggshells with coffee grounds, which are rich in nitrogen. Finally, eggshells will reduce the acidity of soil and help to aerate it.

Different uses of Eggshells in the home garden

Eggshells provide further benefits such as enhanced aeration when added directly into the soil. It is claimed that eggshells act as a slug deterrent because of the sharp surface they create for the pests – conversely, however, you do run the risk of attracting rodents into your garden who are looking for a free snack.

If you fancy being creative, half-shells can be used as starter pots for seedlings providing them with calcium benefits from the very start. Whatever the use, the general advice for using eggshells on the garden is to wash, dry, and grind and be prepared for them to take a while to breakdown.

Adding Eggshells in soil for better compost benefits

Eggshells can be added straight to the soil. Many people plant eggshells with tomatoes, peppers, squash and vegetables that are susceptible to blossom end rot. While planting eggshells directly with plants most likely will not help this season’s plants because the eggshells will not break down fast enough to create calcium, eggshells in the soil will decompose eventually and help add calcium directly to the soil.

Using Eggshells in the garden for pests

Eggshells can be used in the garden to help fight off pests like slugs, snails, cutworms and other crawling pests. Crushed eggshells will work much like diatomaceous earth on these pests. When crawling pests cross over an area in the garden where crushed eggshells have been spread, and the eggshells make several small cuts in the pests. The pests then dehydrate and die due to these cuts.

Crushing eggshells for pest control is as easy as tossing your empty eggshells into a food processor for a few seconds and just rolling them under a bottle or rolling pin. After the eggshells are crushed, sprinkle them around the areas in the garden where you are having problems with slugs and other crawling pests. Using eggshells in the garden is a great method to make use of something that would normally just get thrown out. You can put eggshells in compost, in soil or use them as a kind of organic insecticide, and which means that not only are you helping reduce trash, but helping garden too.

Process of making compost from eggshells

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Process of Composting Eggshells.
Process of Composting Eggshells.

Step 1) Adding eggshells to compost will help add calcium to the makeup of final compost and this important nutrient helps plants build cell walls. Without it, plants cannot grow as fast, and, in the case of some vegetables such as tomatoes and squash, the fruit will develop blossom end rot because there is simply not enough building material like calcium coming into the plant.

Step 2) Using eggshells in the vegetable garden compost can help prevent this. While you don’t want to crush eggshells before composting them, doing so will speed up how fast the eggshells break down in the compost. You may want to consider washing your eggshells before composting them so that you do not attract animals, as well as reducing the slight risk of disease which raw eggs pose.

Step 3) Composting eggshells might be to provide better conditions for earthworms, either in your compost pile or in your vermiculture bin. Earthworms need the grit to digest their food, and ground-up eggshell is an excellent source. Even if you don’t have a worm bin, you’ll eventually have earthworms hanging out in outdoor compost pile, and your soil, so including some shell debris for them will help them to thrive.

Step 4) Before you add eggshells to the compost pile or worm bin, pulverize the dried shells to ensure that your finished compost is smooth and dirt like uncluttered by large pieces of shell. Note that composting whole eggs is generally not advisable, as the smell can attract rodents. Grinding them before adding them to compost or worm bins will also make it easier for the earthworms to use the material as grit.

Step 5) Wash eggs shells – It is advisable to wash eggshells before composting them to keep pests at bay. Many chickens live with the Salmonella bacteria that are transferred to the egg. Without cleaning the eggshells, these bacteria will be transferred to the soil where it can negatively impact on plants health.

Step 6) Dry eggshells before crushing – By the time the compost is ready, you could find that the eggshells didn’t break down and are still visible. That is no cause to worry; however, if you want to reduce this unsightliness, you can first dry eggshells before crashing and compositing them. Then, drying the eggs shells allows them to decompose quickly.

Step 7) Eggshell compost is the best natural treatment you can give to garden. The manure will help to nourish plants and moisturize the soil. The advantage of this type of manure is that it helps in aeration and maintenance of proper and consistent soil texture.

Step 8) Better still, compositing eggs shells can help in the disposal of household waste and you need not worry about the costs of garbage disposal anymore. Instead, you have a reason to be happy for you have found a way to revitalize the soil and keep garden flourishing with flowers and fruits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, eggshell compost causes no harm to the environment as the other chemical fertilizers do.

Step 9) Composting involves the layering of eggshell powder and organic waste to make a mixture that decomposes into the perfect finished compost mix. Then, it’s time to use the finished, eggshell enhanced compost in and around the garden.

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