Get down and dirty in the garden
We eat a lot of eggs. The best part of the day is heading out to the coop and checking on the urban farm-fresh eggs. Each morning we crack open a few in a pan along with some toast and butter. Ahhh. Nothing like it. Sometimes my day just isn’t complete without an egg, served any style.
I even keep a dozen hard-boiled eggs on my car console. It’s my favorite snack! Even before I had my chickens, I would buy the case of five-dozen eggs—and I lived alone at the time.
This love of eggs leaves me with a lot of eggshells. Although we always compost our endless river of shells, we’ve been exploring new twists in our quest to reuse materials and found some amazing uses for crushed eggshells:
• Got slugs? Slugs hate to slither across scratchy surfaces to get to your plants and wreak havoc. So, why not smash up dried eggshells and sprinkle around each plant; it acts as a barrier of protection. Each time it rains, though, you have to put down a fresh layer of shells.
• Before planting, sprinkle eggshells in a hole to add additional calcium; this encourages a healthier plant by staving off blossom end rot. We added shells to our tomato plant soil and it will, no doubt, yield us endless sweet tomatoes!
• My chickens eat chicken and they eat fried, scrambled and poached eggs, too. They also eat eggshells, and eggshells provide added calcium to help their own eggshells strong. We just sprinkle it throughout their coop for them to peck when needed.
• Every February we are knee-deep in seedling starts, and we keep planting throughout the spring. Fill half an eggshell with seedling mix and add your seed—voila!—you have free seedling containers that stand up perfectly in their cartons. When the seedlings are big enough to transplant, break up the shell and replant.
• Instead of using chemical-rich Drano, try sprinkling eggshells in your drain screen to allow calcium to run through your pipes to reduce residue and help keep your pipes clean. You can also put a couple spoonfuls in your thermos and coffee pot; add water and shake to eliminate stained sediment and residue.
• Don’t throw out the water you hard-boiled your eggs in. Save it and pour around base of plants for added nutrients.
• Dry out eggshells before breaking them up. You can store in a container for future use and enjoy all the good things from reusing eggshells—the natural way.