Why You Should Throw Eggshells Into Your Tomato Garden
There are many myths about the benefits of eggshells in a garden, particularly with tomato plants. Contrary to popular belief, they don't deter snails and slugs from snacking on your plants or prevent end rot, a common condition that spoils otherwise healthy tomatoes. However, when utilized properly, eggshells serve as fantastic natural material to increase the growth and health of any tomato garden.
For one, eggshells are 100% natural, meaning they are biodegradable and the perfect addition to any mulch. They are also an excellent source of calcium, which turns this makeshift mulch into fertilizer as well. And, while eggshells can't prevent end rot completely, their calcium plays a huge part in avoiding it.
Taking advantage of the benefits of eggshells is an easily accessible way to care for your garden. Eggs (along with bread and milk) are at the top of any grocery list, making them a common household item and often garbage-disposal material. Instead, save the shells, sit them out to dry, crush them up, and enjoy your new natural tomato fertilizer.
Before planting your tomatoes, mix in finely crushed eggshells to your mulch. These natural fertilizers are mainly comprised of calcium carbonate crystals, which are a direct source of calcium and a necessity for rich soil and strong, healthy plant cell walls.
The sooner you add eggshells to your garden, the better because it takes quite a bit of time for the pieces to break down enough to release calcium. For the most efficient decomposition, crush your eggshells as finely as possible. The smaller the pieces, the quicker the calcium release. You'll see the best results by adding eggshells from the beginning, but you can add them to your tomato garden at any point in your plants' growth cycles to see the benefits of added calcium.
However, it's important to note that calcium is not the only nutrient you should add to your mulch. Most fertilizers include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are essential for healthy growth. There are even multiple tomato-specific fertilizers to incorporate as well.
As mentioned earlier, adding eggshells to your tomato garden won't magically eliminate blossom end rot or even the possibility of it. The plant condition is caused by insufficient calcium in the fruit itself but can occur even if enough calcium is present in the soil. Insufficient moisture at any point throughout a plant's growth prevents calcium from reaching fruits, eventually causing the detrimental problem.
In other words, calcium, like the mass amounts found in eggshells, paired with a consistent and appropriate amount of moisture, is a bona fide way to ensure that your tomatoes are protected against end rot. Familiarize yourself with the amount of water your tomato plants should receive based on your location and the amount of direct sunlight they get each day for the best results. And think twice the next time you're heading to the garbage can or disposal with a handful of eggshells because what's often viewed as a trash can do mountains of good for your tomato plants.