Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DIY: Make Your Own Soil Amendment with Egg Shells

Starting a garden can be an expensive proposition. Your local home center's garden area is full of great products, meant to put your garden on the path to success. Building materials, seeds, plants, compost, soil amendments, tools -- it all adds up fast. In the past I've written about starting your own seeds and making your own soil blocks. Here's another frugal idea for all you gardeners out there.

Plants need calcium to form strong cell walls. You can add calcium to your soil very inexpensively by recycling your own egg shells. Here's how I do it:

1. Save your egg shells. We keep a container on the counter for this. Broken shells are rinsed and placed in the container. Make sure there is a plenty of air available -- don't crush the shells or cover the container, or it will quickly start to smell nasty!

2. When your container is full, spread them out in a pan or on a cookie sheet, and place them in the oven at a low temperature. I recommend to do this after other baking, as your oven is already warm. I leave them in for up to 2 hours at 125 F, depending on how wet the shells are to begin.

3. When dry, place them in batches (follow the recommendations of your equipment) into your food processor, blender, or coffee grinder. Process until they are as fine as you can get -- larger chunks will break down more slowly than smaller ones.

4. Add these to your garden, especially around brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts), tomatoes, potatoes. All plants in your garden will benefit from the calcium!

5. If you're not planning to add your amendments right away, I place my ground egg shells in a well sealed ziploc bag and store in the freezer. Even though they've been dried, I like to avoid an possibility of unpleasant smells!

Here's to healthy and happy garden plants!


  1. Brilliant! I'll definitely be doing this, as I've been going through eggs like mad lately and am expecting some chickies soon! Thanks for the tip on freezing, too.

  2. I have been saving eggshells for years to use in my garden. I rinse them, let them dry for no less than 24 hours, then grind them in a food processor. I store them at room temperature in a container that is NOT air-tight. I have never had a problem with odor. Drying them in the oven and storing them in the freezer seems like more trouble than it's worth.

  3. Hi Anonymous! Thanks for visiting my blog! It sounds like you have a good system that works for you! I usually tie my eggshell drying into another oven use, so I'm not spending more money for energy - plus they get done faster. As I've got some young helpers and cooks in my kitchen, the eggshells don't always get fully rinsed, so they go into the freezer after processing just to avoid any problems that might arise from residual egg matter. As you've noted, it can work other ways; I think you'll agree that the end benefit is worth it! :)

    Happy Gardening!

  4. I have been saving my eggshells because I knew I could use them in my garden somehow but hadn't pursued just how. Now I know. I rinse my eggshells and zap them in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds and store them in a baggie. I haven't had any odor issues. Now I need to grind them and sprinkle them around my broccoli.


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