7 Unusual Uses for Eggshells
For those of us raising backyard chickens, eggs have become an important part of the daily experience. We gather them, eat them, share them and a surplus is not uncommon. Of course, with eggs come egg shells. For the casual homesteader, it turns out the value of eggs doesn't stop with the morning omelet. Consider these surprising uses for eggshells around the house and in the garden.
Eggshells break down much faster than one might guess and are loaded with calcium and other trace minerals good for your compost.
Add to Potting Soil
The benefits eggshells add to compost can also be applied directly to plants. Mix into potting soil before planting to revitalize, add nutritional value and improve drainage.
Discourage Snails and Slugs
Sprinkle crushed eggshells in the garden to discourage slugs and snails. The sharp edges act as a barrier for the soft-bellied pests and the shells will break down to add valuable calcium to the soil.
Stave off Blossom End Rot of Tomatoes
Speaking of valuable calcium, sprinkle eggshells around tomato plants to help stave off tomato blossom end rot. Finely crush shells by hand or in the food processor and scatter around the roots of the plants or toss a handful into the hole when planting.
Keep Drains Clear
In small amounts, tossing eggshells into the garbage disposal will act as a mild abrasive to help prevent buildup of gunk inside of pipes. Eggshells are not recommended for septic systems, though, so if you have a septic tank, stick to the composter.
Although this trick was more common in the days when percolators were the preferred home coffee maker, it is still useful today. Rinse a fresh eggshell or two and crush into coffee grounds before brewing for an uncommonly mellow brew. Alkaline shells will neutralize some of the acidity in harsh coffee without taking away the bold flavor.
Chicken Feed Supplement
Maybe a little creepy, but true. Eggshells are great for a chicken’s diet. It’s important to thoroughly crush the shells before adding protein-rich eggshells to chicken feed so it cannot be easily identified by the flock. Once chickens have determined that eggs (and their shells) are edible, it can be difficult to discourage them from eating eggs before they can be collected.