Egg Shell Fertiliser For Plants

Egg Shell Fertiliser For Plants

Egg shell fertilizer represents an innovative and environmentally conscious method of utilizing egg shells as a nutrient source for plants. With global egg production reaching billions annually, the potential for harnessing these byproducts as a substitute for conventionally mined limestone in agricultural and horticultural lime applications is gaining attention. While research on the large-scale feasibility and efficacy of converting egg shells into fertilizer is ongoing, it is already possible for home gardeners to produce their own egg shell fertilizer through simple processes such as oven baking and manual crushing using a pestle and mortar. This practice not only reduces food waste but also supplements plant nutrition, although the impact may be limited at the household level.


Composition and Nutrient Profile

Egg shells are predominantly composed of calcium carbonate, which constitutes approximately 95% of their mass. Each typical egg shell contains over 2 grams of calcium, making it a rich source of this essential mineral. Additionally, egg shells harbor trace amounts of other beneficial nutrients and minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and manganese. Consequently, egg shell fertilizer is particularly advantageous for calciphilic plants like brassicas, whereas it should be avoided for acidophilic species such as rhododendrons.

Application Techniques and Considerations

The most straightforward means of utilizing egg shells for plant nutrition is through composting. To prepare egg shells for inclusion in a traditional compost bin or for direct application to plants, it is advisable to rinse them in water first to eliminate any residual egg white, which can attract unwanted wildlife like rats. However, if incorporating the shells into a wormery or a rat-resistant composting system, hand-crushing the clean shells without prior washing is sufficient; simply add the crushed shells to your kitchen waste collection.


While there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that crushed egg shells may deter slugs and snails, recent scientific studies have largely refuted this claim, indicating minimal to no deterrent effect.


Targeted Crop Applications

Certain crops exhibit a heightened calcium requirement and are thus more likely to benefit from the application of egg shell fertilizer, potentially mitigating specific growth disorders. For instance, insufficient calcium can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes, characterized by a dark brown lesion on the fruit, and bitter pit in apples, presenting as small, brown-speckled depressions. It is crucial to note, however, that these disorders are more frequently attributed to inadequate watering rather than soil calcium deficiency, as plants can only assimilate nutrients when dissolved in water.


Crops that may particularly benefit from egg shell supplementation include potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, courgettes, marrows, and squash. Conversely, it is advisable to refrain from applying egg shells in significant quantities to acid-loving (calcifuge) plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons, pieris, and azaleas, as they may be sensitive to increased soil alkalinity.

Soil pH Testing

Prior to incorporating substantial amounts of egg shells into the soil, it is prudent to conduct a soil pH test to ascertain its acidity or alkalinity levels. This information will guide the appropriate use of egg shell fertilizer, ensuring it aligns with the specific nutritional and pH requirements of the target plants and contributes to overall soil health and plant vitality.

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