Why You Need To Save Egg Shells

This post is for those who would like to use less fertilizers but still get good growing results in the vegetable garden.   

Did you know that an eggshell is made from the very same substance as the pearl?  Wow, that just upped the egg on the fancy scale, now didn't it?   I just love chickens, and the beautiful pearly eggs they so willingly plop into the straw for our consumption and Instagram pictures.  

The main ingredient in eggshells is calcium carbonate (the same brittle white stuff that chalk, limestone, cave stalactites, sea shells, coral and yes, pearls are made of.)  The shell itself is about 95% CaCO3 (which is also the main ingredient in sea shells).  This must be why eggs and the beach are among my favorite things on the entire planet to love.  

Let's talk about why the egg shell is a conscientious gardener's buddy.  

There is a nasty little disease called "blossom end rot".  And it is just that. Where the end of the young tomato rots before it can mature.  What causes blossom end rot is simply a lack of calcium and magnesium in the plants base. And truly, blossom end rot is not really a disease, it's actually the result of a deficiency to the plant. And that is what this post is about.  The tomato plant deficiency and how to easily cure it. 

So why is this blog post called "Save the Shells"?  Because come spring, if you want beautifully structured tomato plants with healthy and flavorful fruit, you will most likely need a little extra magnesium (Mg) and Calcium (CaCO3) running up those gorgeous young stems.  

I am just going to assume you do want to achieve that balance of calcium and magnesium to your tomatoes next spring, and you are eager to hear how for not one extra cent out of your pocket.  

Here are your choices: 
  1. You can go to your local nursery and buy a calcium filled fertilizer.  This will surely work, but it can get quite expensive, and well, in my opinion, it's not much fun.  
  2. You can take yourself a pearl hunting snorkeling adventure, which would be amazingly fun, very expensive, but will only prosper you with some awesome memories and beautiful beach pics.  This option is mighty tempting, right? 
  3. Or, just take the cheap and easy way out, simply save your egg shells after breakfast, brunch, and baking.  
Now, egg shells can do nothing to help the magnesium deficiency.  But a hand full of crushed ones around the base of your plant will aid in adding calcium to your hungry young tomatoes.  For added magnesium, toss in some epsom salt that you can pick up most anywhere on the cheap.  Egg shells and epsom salt play very well together in equiping your tomato plants to fight blossom end rot. 

I guess it depends on how many egg shells you go through in a year as to when you should start saving for the spring planting season, but I start in the winter saving the shells for fall.  

To save your shells make sure you wash them thoroughly, let them air dry on a cloth, then toss into a mesh or cloth bag until ready to use.  

I keep them whole until I am ready to sprinkle around the plants, then I crush them up with my hands. It's just that easy.  

I love to crush egg shells.  You seriously should do it.  It's cheap therapy. 

Oh, and just another little tip.  If you like to compost, as I do, let your hubs know that the bag full of egg shells is ONLY egg shells.  Otherwise, he just may toss coffee grounds in with your spiffed up, shiny cleaned shells.  It won't hurt the shells, but it could possibly aggravate the heck out of you! Just sayin'.  

Want to know more ways to have healthy tomato plants? 

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