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Eggshells, a Must Have for Your Gardens
January 10, 2011
Hi,

I know some of you find Mourning doves to be a pest, but I appreciate these birds.

Besides, how can you not adore this face.

Things are pretty much back to normal, as Christmas is all packed away and the furniture is back in place.

Winter is back and Lake Effect Snow has given us several inches of a fresh white cover.

Lake Effect Snow is typically the big fluffy flakes that can actually look pretty and offers up some great photo opportunities.

Now that I no longer work out in the elements, I can tolerate winter and sometimes even enjoy it.

With snow, comes the birds and I don't lack for birds most of the time.

The pictures of the cardinals will show you just why I ground feed as well as using various feeders.

Late last summer I mentioned it was a good year for cardinals.

So far it has been an even better winter for the Red Birds.

These are not the same birds, there are several pair.

I understand there could be an issue with rats, mice and other animals like rabbits, but ground feeding also offers me the privilege to watch up to 30 cardinals at a time (male and female).

Towards dusk, there are more.

Using just the feeders doesn't give me that opportunity.

By tossing Black oil sunflower seed (and cracked corn for the juncos) near shrubs and trees, the birds have some protection from the marauding pair of Copper's hawk that hang out around here.

I don't have to deal with rats, and mice are ubiquitous no matter what.

Still, mice aren't a big problem for me.

Several readers have asked about the turkeys I have had issues with.

I am happy to say, they aren't a big deal right now.

It could be my timing on feeding the ground feeding birds.

It could be the snowballs I would lob at them (when we had snow).

It could be that Ziggy the poodle finally got the idea on chasing them away.

Good boy, he would stop at the property line as the large birds flew off.

It is a sight to watch these large bird fly.

It could be they found better feeding grounds without interruptions.

Oh well.

The Mallard duck flock has grown to about 50 on some days/evenings.

They come at dusk so I am not able to get a decent picture of them.

Besides the cracked corn I feed them, they too glean for other food where I toss it.

Duck corn is usually placed on the side walk out front and passersby always get a kick out of it, especially the kids.

Seed catalogs continue to show up almost daily.

I don't mind, they give me something to look forward to.

Without a greenhouse, I'm not in a big hurry to make out lists and that limits what I can do anyway.

Last week I wrote on banana peels and if your responses were any indication, it went over well.

Today's topic is on eggshells and if you aren't aware of their value, you will soon learn the many benefits of the exiting eggshell.

Enjoy.






A normal person may look at an egg and think "scrambled or omelet, 'sunny side up or hard boiled."

You and I are different, however.

We are gardeners and backyard birders.

We may look at an eggs and think, "Cool, Eggshells!"

Yes, I save eggshells year round.

It's not that I'm a total weirdo or have this fetish.

I know the true value of garbage, and like banana peels, eggshells have real value and can serve me in many ways.

I feed my garden eggshells,

Especially my tomatoes and peppers.

Tomatoes are the most popular crop grown in home gardens.

Tomato plants require sunlight, nutrients, and water to thrive and produce.

If calcium is lacking in your soil, your tomato plant roots can not take in enough water and this will result in blossom end rot just as a lack of watering will do so.

Using eggshells is an easy and environmentally friendly method to supplement your soil and add calcium.

The incredible edible eggshell

Eggs are one item that is 100% consumable.

Yes, ground eggshells can be used in your diet as well as for plant food.






Planting:

After you have dug the hole for your tomato plant, but before you plant it, add crushed eggshells in the bottom of the hole, then proceed with planting the tomato.

Eggshells are 95 percent calcium carbonate, which is the ingredient of agricultural lime.

Calcium carbonate raises the pH value of your soil and allows the roots of your tomato plant to be able to take up sufficient water.

Eggshells provide a slow release of this needed calcium carbonate, so you can never add too much eggshell to the plantings.

I plant in large pots and add eggshells as I gradually fill the pots.

Fertilizing:

Tomato plants continue to need calcium while growing and producing fruit.

Feed calcium to the roots by working crushed eggshells into the soil surrounding the base of the plant.

Prepare the shells by first thoroughly rinsing them to remove the possibility of harmful bacteria forming.

After the eggshells have dried I run them through the Micro-wave oven for at least a minute (depending on how many I nuke).

Nuking kills of any remaining cooties and make the shells more brittle and easier to crush.

Crush them, either by hand or using your kitchen blender or some other object,.

You can save them in a container or plastic bag and until you need them.

When ready, you can spread the crushed shells and gently work them into the soil with a hand trowel.

Faster absorption can be obtained by pulverizing the eggshells into powder, using a blender, before incorporating it into the soil.

Me, I simply crush them and use the eggshells as needed.

Some people like to plant in eggshell halves, but I find this method to cramp the root growth of any seedlings.

You can hard boil eggs and save the water.

Once it has cooled down, you can give any of your plants (inside and out) a calcium rich drink.

You may want to add eggshells to their compost pile and allow the calcium carbonate to mix in with the organic matter before using the compost in the garden.

This works well if the need for additional calcium is not immediate.

Recycle Eggshells in Your Houseplants too.

Washed and crushed eggshells can be added into the soil of your houseplants, and they'll help in two ways:

One, the eggshells will add beneficial minerals to the soil.

Two, the eggshells will help keep the soil loose so it will drain better.






That incredible eggshell.

Eggshells offer more than feeding plants and a calcium supplement for our diets.

Eggshells work double duty for our wild birds and I am sure to offer this to them.

GRIT, birds need grit to help break down food for digestion.

Eggshells offer an ideal source for grit, especially if you live in a snowy region.

Not only to the crushed shells help birds grind food, the shell itself offers the bird a wonderful source of calcium.

Again, calcium is needed for strong bones.

Not only do eggshells offer calcium for strong bones, they offer calcium so your birds can lay strong eggs.

I continue to offer crushed eggshells to my birds during mating and nesting season.

If you are in a good mood, you can even cook up some eggs to feed your birds.

Another reason to make sure your shells are cleaned and nuked to kill off bacteria before using them.






Sharp Shells Slay Slugs:

Say that three times fast.

Still another wonder of the eggshell.

Cleaned and crushed eggshells make an excellent barrier around your prized plants.

The sharp, course, jagged edges of eggshells are a deterrent to slugs, snails and even cutworms.

Some of these very destructive creatures in the garden are often killed off by the crushed shell as the move across the jagged edge, slicing and dicing the under belly of these garden marauders.

As the eggs shells decompose or become bird grit, you can replace the egg shrapnel with new as needed.

As you can see, eggshells find a purpose and place in my yard and gardens everyday of the year.

I hope you consider the value and importance of eggshells in your gardens.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I leave, here is your positive thought for the week.






He is a man of sense who does not grieve for what he has not, but rejoices in what he has.

Epictetus (55-135 AD) Greek Philosopher

Focus on what you have, not what you don't have.

Be thankful and glad for what you do have.

Grieving on what you don't have solves nothing and indeed can lead to foul play if you begin to covet.

Indeed, be thankful for what you do have.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us REJOICE and be glad in it.

Psalms 118-24






"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson



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