Whether you like to eat them in a salad, on a sandwich or straight out of the container, tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum, USDA zones 10-11) are glorious fruits that keep on giving. Before you decide to forgo store-bought tomatoes and begin the journey of growing your own, remember that using eggshells around tomato plants can do wonders. Give your soil some extra love and get ready for delicious abundance.
Benefits of Using Eggshells to Fertilize Tomato Plants
People who purchase eggs and live an environmentally friendly lifestyle hate throwing away eggshells that will just sit in a landfill. The next time you have eggshells, don't throw them out. Use them in your garden.
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Although most soil has plenty of calcium, eggshells add extra calcium to plants without messing up the pH like lime often does in a garden. That extra calcium may strengthen the tomato plants, among other things. As the eggshells break down, they provide slow-release calcium, restructure the soil to make it porous, and improve your soil's drainage.
When placed around your plants, eggshells also deter slugs from cohabitating with your tomato plants because the slugs want to avoid the shells' sharp edges. Burying eggshells not only provides drainage, but the soil gets aerated as well.
Although your soil should be able to accommodate plants of any kind, tomatoes love well-draining, nitrogen-rich soil. Organic matter like eggshells provides food for soil-dwelling organisms that improve the soil and make your tomato plants happy.
Benefits of Using Eggshells as Fertilizer for Tomato Plants
Not only do eggshells make for a great low-cost organic fertilizer, but they also:
- Add calcium to plants without radically affecting the pH of the soil
- Make soil porous, which promotes plant growth
- Improve soil drainage
- Aerate soil
- Deter garden pests, especially slugs
- Provide food for organisms that live in and improve the soil
How to Use Eggshells as Fertilizer for Tomato Plants
1. Wash and Dry Eggshells
Always wash your eggshells before you do anything with them to reduce the risk of salmonella. Washing them should also get rid of their sulfuric smell. If you want to take extra precautions against both salmonella and smelly eggshells, you can put them in a 300-degree oven for no more than 10 minutes.
2. Grind Up Eggshells
Put clean, dry eggshells in a food processor and blitz them until they've become a fine powder. If you don't have a food processor (or you'd rather not dirty any dishes), you can crush the eggshells by hand. Ground eggshells can be better absorbed into the soil, so make sure to crush them as small as possible.
3. Add Eggshells to Garden
Sprinkle the crushed up eggshells on top of the soil around your tomato plants, laying them in a thick layer so that they can work their magic.