Eggshells are great way to add calcium and nutrients for your tomato plant. Few people also claim its ability to avoid blossom end rot and keep snails away.
Facts and myths can be differentiated only by your personal experience.
When you start growing tomato plant in your garden or container and use eggshells to fertilize them, certainly these myths can be burst.
I knew only few of you’ve time to this research work.
Thank me, for what?
I did the research work for you and all you’ve to do is spend few minutes to know the fact and sideline the myths.
As a bonus I’ll also share the best method to use eggshells in your garden.
Prior to that lets know how good are eggshells for your tomato plants?
Eggshell contains NPK ratio of 1.19, 0.38 & 0.14. It also has calcium and organic matter in white shell. When you add leftover eggshells to tomatoes, eventually, it will benefit the plant. (1)
Rich amount of nitrogen will enhance overall growth and contribute in chlorophyll production.
Are Eggshells Good Tomatoes? – Benefits
Tomatoes are among those vegetable plants that need extra nitrogen to thrive.
And it already proved that organic matter in white shell has traces of nitrogen.
Can eggshell use alone contribute overall nitrogen of tomato plant?
No, as a vegetable plant tomatoes are heavy feeders and need balanced amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and other trace elements.
As eggshells are leftover in your kitchen, it isn’t a good idea to throw them away, when your tomato plant can actually benefit from it.
Now, let me list all the possible benefits of using eggshells for your tomato plant.
Check this article: How much it takes to grow tomatoes hydroponically?
#1 Ultimate way to Mulch
Apart from fertilizing, your tomato plant needs mulching.
It is one of the underrated garden methods that locks soil moisture for longer time and controls weed growth.
Organic mulch like eggshells, shredded dry leaves and straw grass can actually add nutrients to the soil as the time passes.
How to use:
Wash leftover eggshells and dry them.
Crush eggshells with mortar and pestle. Add these crushed eggshells around tomato plant. It can acts as brilliant mulch.
Also Read: How Much Water Do Carrots Need to Grow?
#2 Excellent Fertilizer
Though not rich, eggshells do have nutrients like nitrogen and calcium.
Primarily, eggshells are abundant source of calcium. A research say that use of powdered eggshells as dietary supplement can strengthen bones.
Calcium in eggshells can reduce acidic nature of the soil and it can act as lime. (Source)
Alternative to use of crushed eggshells, you can steep eggshells in water and use the water on tomato plants to fertilize them.
Important: Eggshells must be decomposed to release calcium and other nutrients into the soil. Just adding crushed eggshells to your fully grown tomato plant won’t benefit without undergoing this process.
So, you must plan to add crushed eggshells prior to growing season.
How to Use:
Eggshells carry salmonella that attract fungi and bacteria infestation. Wash eggshells and allow them to dry under sun for a couple of days.
Now, crush them with mortar and pestle. Add pulverized eggshells to your young tomato plant.
Do you know this: Is bone meal good for tomatoes?
#3 Can Add to Compost
Instead of adding them directly to plant, you can actually add to compost heap.
As other kitchen waste, eggshells take months to decompose.
In a compost bin you can recycle the old and new compost and enrich your plant with much needed nutrients.
However, remember not to fill the compost bin with eggshells. As it can imbalance nutrients in the compost.
A balanced NPK will enhance overall growth of vegetable plants like tomato.
Note: Don’t add big chunks of eggshells to your compost bin. Instead, crush them into fine powder before adding to compost heap.
Here a gardener share how she faced difficult after adding hand crushed eggshells to compost.
Also Read: Are Banana Peels Good For Tomato Plants?
Deter Slugs – Myth
Garden slugs eat-up leaves and your hard worked tomatoes. You must stop them. It is said that sharp edges of eggshells halt slugs and snails from moving towards the plant.
In this video you could see that slug easily cross sharp cutter without any difficulty.
Though you might have heard claims about eggshells avoid slugs or snails, it’s just a myth.
Moreover, un-cleaned eggshells could attract slugs, which can turn harmful for your plants.
Best as seed starting pot – Myth
You can grow tomato seeds in eggshell halves but it can’t be considered the best method.
Because, as mentioned above eggshells take long time to decompose. If you plant the newly germinated seedling directly into the ground, the plant can face stunted growth.
Tomato plant can’t penetrate or break the eggshell to reach the soil.
In second case, you must break the eggshell as soon as the seedlings reach certain height.
Though eggshell halves can be used to grow seeds, it isn’t worthy. It takes lots of time if you’re planning for a good crop.
Prevent Blossom End Rot – Myth
Insufficient calcium results in rotting at the bottom of tomato. So gardeners made-up that adding calcium rich eggshells can avoid blossom end rot.
But, there is no scientific evidence behind this claim.
To understand, it is not the insufficiency of calcium in the soil, but the inefficiency of the plant to absorb calcium present in the soil.
It can be due to extreme root pruning, excess water or under watering your plant. (Source)
Also Read: How long can your tomato plant survive without water?
How to Use Eggshells for Tomato Plants?
Without right usage your plants can’t be benefited from eggshells.
Eggshells include Salmonella that isn’t good for your vegetable crop. It is important to remove the traces of Salmonella before adding to the garden.
- Wash the eggshells to remove the moisture. Break eggshell halves into large chunks. This help to remove the moisture inside the shell.
- Allow the large chunks of eggshell to dry under sun for a couple of days.
- Grind or mash in mortar pestle to obtained fine eggshell powder.
- You can add this pulverized eggshell powder to your growing tomato plant or to the compost bin. In both ways you could reap nutrients and trace elements to enrich the garden soil.
If you’re using eggshells as mulch, then you can use hand crushed eggshells around the tomato plant.
But, even in this case you must ensure eggshells are free from moisture.
Check this article: How to grow tomatoes in clay soil?
Are crushed eggshells good for tomato plants?
If you’re looking to fertilize your plant, then experts recommend pulverized eggshells.
As eggshells take long time to decompose, you can use crushed eggshells as mulch around the plant.
Why should I use vinegar + eggshell to fertilize tomatoes?
Vinegar is used with eggshell powder so that it can break calcium carbonate in eggshells to calcium acetate.
This will increase the decomposing process and your soil can be enriched with good amount of calcium and nitrogen.
How to make eggshell tea for plants?
According to this book by Jeff Gillman, steeping eggshell in water for 24 hours can help to transfer the calcium, potassium and small amount of phosphorus, sodium and magnesium into the water.
Eggshell fertilizer tea
Boil a gallon of water and add 10 cleaned dry eggshells to it.
Allow it to steep in the water overnight (24 hours).
Strain the water and pour it to your tomato plants. Do this once in a week to give your tomatoes calcium boost.
In a Nutshell
Yes, eggshells are good for tomatoes.
But, you must know the right procedure to use them. Adding unwashed eggshells directly to tomato plant will do more harm than good for your tomato plant.
Clean eggshells, dry them and grind them into powder before using it in your vegetable garden.
You can also add these pulverized eggshells to your compost bin.