7 Ways to Use Eggshells in the Garden

Don't throw away those eggshells after you cook breakfast! Save the shells and reuse them. There's many ways to use eggshells in the garden.

Egg Shells in the gardenJennifer A Smith/Getty Images
There are many ways to use egg shells in the garden.

Watering Ferns

Whenever I use an egg, I drop the shell in a container of water with a lid on it and save it until it’s time to water my ferns. In less than a year, one fern outgrew its pot, then was planted in a larger pot. I had to transplant it again later! I thank my mother-in-law for sharing her eggshells garden tip with me, says Birds & Blooms reader Rhonda Zimmerman.

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Eggshells in Potting Soil

I save eggshells all year then crush them in the spring and mix them into the soil around my tomatoes. Planting sweet basil with or near the plants also seems to improve the yield, says Julius Frank.

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Start Garden Seeds in Eggshells

Ordinary eggshells can give your plants a nice early start indoors. Break several eggs so the halves are intact. Place them in an empty egg carton, fill the shells with good soil and plant your seeds. When the weather’s warmed and the plants have grown enough to be transplanted, all you have to do is crack the shells around the roots and plant them—shell and all. The shells act as a slow-release natural fertilizer, says Glenna Roberts.

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Add Eggshells in Garden Compost

In winter, we compost our biodegradable matter. Coffee grounds, egg shells, vegetables and fruit all contribute to the pile. We aerate it with a pitch fork, says Sue Steele.

Stop Slugs

Add an inch of coarse eggshells in a 3-inch-wide band around plants. In dry weather, slugs won’t cross over the sharp material to get to their buffet.

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Provide a Calcium Source for Nesting Birds

Some birds—particularly blue jays—seek out calcium as a needed supplement, especially during the breeding season. Try offering the birds some eggshells. Be sure to sterilize the eggshells first by either boiling them for five minutes, or heating them in the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees, say birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman.

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DIY Fertilizer

I make my own fertilizer by boiling and baking old eggshells until dry. Then I grind them into a fine powder with my food processor, says Jennifer Broadstreet Hess.

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Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.