This feels like it should be a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” kind of post, but clearly, in my house, it was an egg (no chicken) kind of day. Scrambled eggs, soft boiled eggs, and my favorite, eggs baked into chocolate brownies. These kinds of days are not planned. But isn’t that a lot of shells in one basket?
Funny you should ask because there is some discussion as to the safety of composting eggshells. Of course, this is due to the threat of salmonella. It’s a possibility, plus it bends the rule of “no animal products in compost” but it’s your call. Not sure how you feel? Here are a few thoughts and tips in no particular order:
- Since we have already consumed these eggs with no issues, AND since my eggs come from a farm I trust, I feel comfortable putting them into my pile. If composting raw shells makes you squirmy, you can always wash them first. Or, you can bake them at 250 degrees for 20-30 minutes to kill any bacteria.
- Usually I crush the shells with my hands before tossing in the pile but you can toss the shells in whole as well, knowing it will simply take longer to decompose. There’s a hidden benefit to jagged shells though … keep reading.
- If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you can grind the shells in your coffee grinder and sprinkle the powder over your compost heap. That’s a kind of composting megastar behavior I can only aspire to … but just thought I’d share …
- Eggshells are made up of calcium carbonate and in addition to calcium also contain carbon, phosphorus, and nitrogen, plus trace amounts of copper, iron, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. That’s all good stuff for your garden!
- If your soil is acidic (like my Georgia clay mix) then all this calcium is a great addition. If you have a primarily alkaline soil you might want to be cautious about adding too much. That said, if you also add citrus peels, which are obviously acidic, then you are balancing out your nutrients before they ever hit your garden beds.
- Speaking of acidity and alkalinity, winter is a great time to get your soil tested before the spring rush. Once you know your soil composition you can tweak your compost to fix or enhance your needs. Cool idea, right? It’s very simple. Just check with your local county extension office for details.
Since we do use a lot of eggs, just for fun, I looked up “other uses” for eggshells. Wow. There are dozens of blog posts dedicated to this subject and ideas range from fun to far out. Homemade sidewalk chalk? Maybe. Calcium rich vinegar? Not for me. But check out all the ideas because I sure there is something there that will make you smack your forehead in a throwback V-8 commerical kind of ah-ha moment.
Maybe if I’m feeling creative and have some spare time I might start some spring seeds in shells, or even make some spring candles in cracked eggs. Most likely though I’ll keep tossing big jagged chunks of shells into my compost. And that’s okay, because slugs (and their ilk) don’t like to crawl over those sharp bits, giving my garden a tiny bit of protection. So, stealthy nighttime intruders, beware! I’ve got eggshells out there!