February 29, 2012

Eggshells as Garden Helpers - Less Trash, More Plants

As anyone that helped our family move in the fall of 2010 can attest to, I have a healthy affinity for plants.  Maybe slightly more than healthy, some might say.  Either way I've really enjoyed having a yard to work in for the past year and have learned a lot about plants.  I previously touched on using coffee as a fertilizer, today's post is about the benefits that eggshells can bring to your yard and garden.


When we started our garden I was really disappointed to see our first plantings disappear almost overnight.  Basil, tomatoes, cilantro, and many other seedlings we put into the garden would quickly lose most or all of their leaves.  After a few nights of inspection with a flashlight I found multitudes of silverfish, slugs, and snails feasting on the greenery.  I was unable to find a quick solution to the silverfish, but eggshells proved to be a strong deterrent to the slugs and snails and I learned they also provide a number of benefits to the soil and plants.

Putting crushed eggshells in your garden helps to deter snails, slugs, cutworms, and other soft-bodied pests from your garden because of the sharp edges that they possess.  When these types of pests crawl along the soil, the eggshells cut their soft undersides and greatly help to prevent them from enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Eggshells also have a high concentration of calcium carbonate, which is a good fertilizer and helps to avoid root rot for plants like tomatoes and peppers.  Putting eggshells directly onto the soil of your garden will help to fertilize and protect from these pests, or you can add the eggshells to your compost pile and the calcium carbonate will be incorporated into your compost harvest.

Sometimes eggshells can slightly cut your hands when you crush them (if you don't have a set of gloves you want to use).  To make them more brittle, so they break more easily, you can place them in an unused gas oven for a few hours.  The heat from the pilot light will dry them out and make them easy to break.

Suggested action steps:

1) If you like eggs, make a nice scramble or omelet this weekend
2) Save the eggshells and sprinkle on your garden, yard, or around the base of a shrub or tree

Using eggshells to enhance the plants in your yard will make your space more verdant, and also help to reduce your weekly trash output.  


  1. how fine/coarse do you crush the shells? I need to get rid of the snails before they get my new garden!

  2. I just crush them with my hand and roll my fingers to make it a little finer. There are some big pieces and some small, but it works pretty well either way. If you make eggs even just a few will go a long way.

    Also, doing both coffee grounds and the egg shells together seems to work better than each separately. I've read that the smell of coffee is noxious to some pests. Not sure if that's completely true, but I do think using both together gives better results.