why your tomatoes need eggshells

Did you know you can use eggshells in your garden to help you grown beautiful tomatoes and peppers?

Yup, it’s true and I’m going to tell you how and why you should be saving those eggshells!!

Why Your Tomatoes Need Eggshells

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So, have you ever had gorgeous looking tomato plants and you started getting lovely little green tomatoes and then they start turning red and your oh-so-excited??  You can just taste that homegrown tomato, right??  One day you decide that today is THE DAY and you’re going to pick that mouth watering tomato, when, *gasp!* you find a large black spot on the bottom end of that pretty tomato???  Yes, you can salvage the rest of the fruit, but the disappointment and blemish take most of the fun out of it!

“What happened??” you wonder in shock.

“Blossom end rot,” someone (probably Google, lol) answers back.

OK, so what is blossom end rot and how do you prevent it?

In a nutshell, blossom end rot happens when a tomato plant can’t absorb the calcium it needs.  A variety of factors can come into play, such as cold soil temperatures, inconsistent watering, too much nitrogen, etc.

why your tomatoes need eggshells
This is a picture of my garden from last summer. See those beautiful tomato plants in the back?? Sigh… I can’t wait for summer!!

I use to have a chronic problem with this in my tomatoes and peppers.  I knew it was calcium deficiency, so I did my research.  The main answer I came away with (besides the watering) was that I needed to add calcium.  Eggshells were a common recommendation, so that’s what I did!

Guess what?

It didn’t work.

That’s right.

So, why am I telling you that you need to add eggshells to your soil to prevent blossom end rot if it didn’t work for me?

Because, a couple different methods didn’t work, but then I stumbled upon one that did!

I don’t know about you, but we go through A LOT of eggs!  I started saving my eggshells during the winter in a plastic bag and then crushed them in the bag.  I threw these crushed eggshells in my holes when I first planted the tomatoes.  And, like I said, I still got blossom end rot.

why your tomatoes need eggshells
I store mine in the cupboard next to my baking ingredients. That way when I use them up, I can just throw them in the bag!

Then I read about just throwing the WHOLE egg in the your planting hole…. still got blossom end rot.

So, last year I had an epiphany.

I CRUSHED the eggshells in my blender!

Yup, that’s right.  I threw a handful of eggshells in the blender and went to town (so to speak.)

It turned those shells into a nice, lovely fine powder!

why your tomatoes need eggshells

Now, before I go further, I need to give you a word of caution:

DON’T BREATHE IN THE EGGSHELL DUST!!!!!

Did you hear me??  DON’T BREATHE IT IN!  If you get eggshell particles in your lungs it can cause all sorts of really bad problems.  So, BE CAREFUL!!  After I take the lid off of the blender, I step back, hold my breath and let the dust settle before I proceed.

I store my shell powder in a large canning jar (but any container will work) and then I put a large handful of that into my planting hole.

I think the reason that this method works is because the eggshells can break down easier and faster in the soil and then the calcium is available for the plant to use.

In the past, when I just crushed the eggshells by hand, I would find shells still in the soil at the end of the gardening season when I pulled my old plants up, meaning, they hadn’t broken down so my tomatoes got nothin’.

So, here’s my directive for you—

SAVE THOSE EGGSHELLS NOW SO YOU HAVE PLENTY COME PLANTING TIME!!

I actually started saving them all year around, but I plant quite a few tomatoes (last year I planted about 25) and just keep expanding.

Do you have any other uses for eggshells in the garden or on the homestead?

Melinda Donley
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Melinda Donley

I'm a 5th generation farmgirl who married a farmboy from the neighboring county 15 years ago. We reside on the family farm with our own 3 farmkids. Follow me as I share our life full of agriculture, autism, homeschooling, housekeeping, following Jesus and everything else!
Melinda Donley
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42 Comments

    1. Author

      Yes, I do! I should probably include that in my post 🙂 I either leave them on the counter, or throw them in the bag but leave it open.

      1. I put mine in microwave 5-10 seconds at a time until they are dry They crush easy that way also

    2. Yes. I leave them on the counter overnight to dry out, then I crush them and place them in a plastic coffee can container until I need them. If you put them away wet, they rot and smell awful. When the coffee can is full, I place them in a soup pot and boil them. Pour the water from the eggs in a watering can through a strainer, layout the shells to dry again, and use the water to fertilizer on your houseplants. Also, I use the shells to start my seeds, you can pick out the smaller of 3 or 4 plants that sprout in one shell. Crack the bottom of the shell so the roots can penetrate the bottom of the shell and plant the whole shell in garden. The egg containers hold the eggs conveniently in place and are easier to water and look after prior to planting. If I can find a way to attach a photo to this I will. I also use a 16 oz. Pepsi bottle to start a deep root system and until it’s warm enough to plant outside.
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      1. Author

        Yes, post a picture!! I have had zero luck with using eggshells for seed starting containers. I’d love to see your set up!

  1. How much egg shell do you need to put round your plants .

    1. Author

      I dump a handful in… maybe 3/4 cup? And I put it in the planting hole before I put my plant in.

  2. I use TUMS (the medicine to calm your stomach). Drop a TUMS or 2 in the hole when planting. Seems to work great!

    1. Author

      Interesting!! I haven’t heard of that! I’m always open to new tips and tricks 😉

      1. I put my blended shells in a cheese shaker, so I can just sprinkle them around the hole.

  3. How do you make those beautiful cages?? Do you have a closer picture of them??

    1. Author

      We use that concrete wire (the large mesh wire that’s laid down before you pour concrete). I can certainly take close ups and do a tutorial- they’re really easy and the last a lifetime! My mom is still using the same ones she’s had since I was a kid 🙂

  4. Do you use fresh eggs or hardboiled egg shells? Or does it matter? We eat a ton of hardboiled eggs 🙂

    1. Author

      I always use dried eggshells from fresh eggs, but I would think hardboiled egg shells would accomplish the same thing! I would still try to grind them up well so that they incorporate into the soil easier.

  5. Half egg shells are also very good for planting tomato seeds. Put shells in an egg box , plant seeds in mix then watch them grow. Shells can be crushed when plants are ready for transferring so there is no damage to the baby plants.

    1. Author

      I have heard of that, but haven’t tried it yet! I’ll put that on my to do list for next year 🙂

      1. Can I put eggshells on top of soil after its already growing?

        1. Author

          I don’t think it would be nearly as effective because the roots of the plant need to access the nutrients from the eggshells. If you could at least lightly till them in around the plant?? That being said, you could always try it on top of the soil and see if you notice a difference! Never be afraid to experiment in the garden 🙂

  6. Folk law states that EGag shells are witches boats and must be crushed. These are then placed on an old foil tray and placed in the oven so when tthe oven is next used the shells dry out. These are crushed when cool and used for a number of purposes. For tomatoes and also wherever you suffer from slugs and snails as they hate crawling over the stuff. Of course, it adds both calcium and grit to the soil.

      1. We simply throw the eggs into a bucket throughout the winter they dry out there just fine doesn’t seem to be a smell then we crushed them up and throw them down on the garden as a all natural deterrent To unwanted slugs slide over them and it cuts them open and they die

  7. Thanks for these great tips!!

  8. good day ma’am, thanks for the very insigthful tips. but can i also put the eggshell on my hydroponics tomato and bellpepper? i must say i’m sad that the leaves look withered and thin. i’m a newbie in home gardening especially in herbs & veggies. i will try your eggshell tip. God bless you always ??

  9. Thanks for sharing these tips. I had plenty of these problems last summer. I always save my eggshells also, I store them under my kitchen sink cupboard till they’re dry and then crush them up. I put them around my rose bushes last summer and they were just thriving. But I didn’t know about it working for tomatoes. I will definitely try it this summer.

  10. Is the whole egg also beneficial as the egg shell only ? Can I put in the blender one or two fresh whole eggs with the egg shells and liquidify them and pour it in the hole before planting ? The whole egg will also minimize the dangers of egg shell dust.
    Please send me your response. Thank you.
    Kris.
    Krismirzayan@gmail.com

    1. Author

      Interesting thought…. I know the whole egg would also add benefits to the soil (I’ve read places where they recommend placing a whole egg in your planting hole). I say try it and see what you think!! You never lose anything by experimenting 🙂 Report back and tell us how it went! I would love to know- and I may try this myself to see what happens. Thanks for the comment!

  11. Thanks for the care about others I have been facing so many challenges in my vegetable gardens.but after reading your post hope everything will go on well…..I understand egg shells add calcium may I know what ash wood do or add because I have it here in Kampala uganda

  12. You asked for other uses for egg shells. I’m from the land of slugs and snails here in moist Western Washington state. For years now I have thrown crushed (not super fine) egg shells around any new seedlings and sprouts that are often devoured by those slimy pests. It works great. It sounds awful, but the jagged shells rip the undersides of these green loving menaces so they die and are unable to reproduce.

  13. Hello,
    I’ve been reading all the tips in using ground up egg shells & using tums too! Of course tums also have calcium in it. Never thought to use it! I just started planting my flower seeds.i hope they will grow.

  14. I’ve used egg shells before under my tomatoes, but never thought if pulverizing them! Great idea! I also put Epsom salt in with my egg shells when planting, and have always had great results and a high yield. In the human body, we need magnesium to absorb calcium. I have no idea if that concept transfers over to tomatoes in regard to egg shells (calcium) and Epsom salt (magnesium), but my results have been good, so I’m running with it. 😉

  15. I take most of my saved shells, put them on a cookie sheet and place them in my hot oven after I have finished using it. Turn off the oven and let the heat dry them out. Then I pulverize them in my blender. The others I put in a Ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. So the pulverized shells go in the soil for the needed calcium, and the crushed go around the plants to ward off the #%$& snails.

  16. what about mixing with coffee grounds?

  17. i’ve been mixing together with coffee grounds is this ok?

  18. How much epsom salts to put under container grown tomato plants when planting?

  19. Hello Melinda, such great advice for fruitful tomatoes 😀
    I was wondering if you could advise me as to what other vegetables would benefit from using crushed egg shells at the time of planting out?
    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer me
    Tracey

  20. Hello Melinda, such great advice for fruitful tomatoes 😀
    I was wondering if you could advise me as to what other vegetables would benefit from using crushed egg shells at the time of planting out?
    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer me
    Tracey

  21. Do a search on “Eating egg shells.” The shells are 95% calcium and get for humans!! Follow the directions to turn them into a healthy powder. Read different articles about this but follow the directions to kill any bacteria. I use a small coffee grinder because it turns them into a fine powder. We didn’t like the powder added to our foods so we put the powder into size OO gel capsules. Which we buy from Piping Rock. You should be able to get them at a drug store or Health Food Store but I’m not sure. Call around. You should take two with a magnesium pill at the same time. But above all read the sites about this calcium for humans. There are lots of articles on this from many research sites.

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