It might sound a bit like Jack and the Beanstalk, but some gardeners are talking about planting eggs in their garden, particularly for their tomato plants. The hope is that when the eggs decompose, they contribute to the ground much-needed nutrients, helping to protect healthy plants. But does it work?
This is pretty easy to do, all it takes is to place a raw egg on top of a thin layer of soil in the bottom of the hole you dig, or placed it in the bottom of your pot. Some people break their eggs, but most people don’t bother. Anyway, the egg is going to decompose which will contribute nutrients back to the soil. Another choice is to bring together an egg and a banana in the hole, to add even more nutrients to the soil.
Any gardener would tell you that the soil is the most important aspect of any garden and the nutrients it contains are what makes the soil valuable. Plants leech the nutrients from their roots out of the soil, absorb them and use them as the essential building blocks to form new cells. If the soil doesn’t have enough of the right nutrient sorts, it slows plant growth and reduces the amount of produce the garden can yield.
It is for this purpose that gardeners spend so much time and money fertilizing their garden. Yet most commercial fertilizers only have the three macronutrients of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. It is improved by composting serious gardeners, as well as using other fertilizers, including fish emulsion, bone meal and blood meal. These decompose to provide the plants with a much better diet.
What Do Eggs Provide?
How about chickens, then? What do they provide? A calcium is produced by adding eggs to your garden, an essential micronutrient. Calcium is essential for bone formation in humans and in animals. In plants, this is critical for cell wall formation. Without enough calcium, the plants can’t thrive in the soil.
But calcium is present only in the eggshells, not the inside of the eggs. The inside of the eggs will add other nutrients; but only a small amount. The main advantage lies in the shells.
Something similar happens with bananas. People add those to bring potassium in the soil and potassium is contained in the peel of bananas, not the fruit inside. Just as much can be accomplished, plant a banana peel, as you can a whole banana.
In fact, you can do much better to cut up the eggshells and banana peels, either with a blender or a food processor, add them directly to the soil or to your compost pile.
Grinding them up allows them to decompose more quickly, bringing the nutrients into the soil and from there into the plants that is so much quicker.
Doing it this way, you get to eat the bananas and the eggs, give your garden the part you don’t eat. To you, that’s a double win and helps turn the pieces that you can’t consume into usable food.
Since the plants in your garden end up using the nutrients from the eggshells and banana peels, at least some of them end up in the fruits and vegetables that your garden grows.
The other advantage of doing so is you don’t have rotting eggs in your backyard. Rotten eggs don’t produce a very good scent. Although this won’t hurt any of your plants, it could damage your nose while working in the greenhouse.
It will also draw raccoons and mice to your garden, which will use those rotten eggs as a food source, digging up your garden to eat them.
Another Use for Eggshells
There’s more that you can do with eggshells, use them to protect your plants. Crushed eggshells, not ground up eggshells are a great protection for your plants, keeping slugs away from them.
All you need to do is crush dry eggshells with your fingers and put the small crushed pieces around the base of your plants.
The sharp edges should act as a major deterrent to the slugs, which they can get cut by them. It is likely to do a pretty good job of shielding your plants from caterpillars, too.
Lots of Other Additives
It’s simple, if you want a healthy garden which gives you a great harvest, you’ll have to spend some time on the soil. Eggshells are a great start for that, but you can do many other things to improve the consistency of your soil.
To continue with, composting is always a fantastic idea. You won’t be eating anything that comes out of your garden, cuttings, scraps, weeds other scraps will still be there. Besides, you are going to have table scraps that are not being used. All of these naturally break down, provide nutrients to bring back into the soil. Through composting, you do as happens in nature, recycling certain nutrients.
Compost can be added to your garden anytime you want, but the best time to add it is in the fall, when your harvest is full. That allows the nutrients to work their way into the garden soil over the winter. Granted, the colder weather will slow down the cycle of decomposition, but water from the melting snow will allow the nutrients to soak in.
The pH of the soil in the garden is also essential to development. Some plants need slightly acidic soil, but most need a neutral pH. The addition of either ash from the fireplace (or wood-burning grill) is a perfect way to raise the pH. Mycorrhizal fungi is one of the best soil additives I’ve found for gardening. Such subterranean fungi bind themselves to plant roots, form a symbiotic relationship with the plant.
The fungi serve as an extension to the roots of the plant, giving them nutrients, thus feeding off plant roots. Adding this fungus to your garden will do incredible things to improve the yield your plants get. It’s also a perfect addition where there are small roots and plants don’t get enough nutrients.
I had a burned lawn area once, which wouldn’t grow back for two years, before mycorrhizal fungi were introduced. When the fungi got hold of it, the grass was growing and green again within two months.