How to Use Eggshells in the Garden: 5 Ways They’ll Help You Grow Food 62

Wondering how to use eggshells in the garden? Here are five easy ways to use them to boost your garden’s productivity — and it won’t cost a dime!

How to use eggshells in the garden

Each time you crack an egg open, instead of tossing the shell into the trash, drop it into an open container that you keep in the fridge. I’ve always saved my shells, but my friend Susan suggested keeping them in the fridge; it works beautifully. The cold air in the refrigerator helps to dry them out.

As the shells fill the container, I simply push down on them to crush them and make more room. Once the container is at capacity, here’s how you can use those eggshells in the garden.

Wondering how to use eggshells in the garden? Here are 5 easy ways to use them to boost your garden's productivity -- and it won't cost a dime!

Deter Slugs and Snails

Crush the shells into small bits, roughly 1/8″ in size. This is an excellent job for kids. Just give them a rolling pin or wooden spoon and let them go to town. Sprinkle these crushed shells around the base of your plants. The sharp eggshells will deter slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied bugs from nibbling on your garden

Eggshells to Improve Soil

Wondering how to use eggshells in the garden? Here are 5 easy ways to use them to boost your garden's productivity -- and it won't cost a dime!

Eggshells add calcium to the soil. Calcium is especially appreciated by tomato plants. Add a small scoop of finely ground eggshells directly to individual planting holes when you’re planting your garden. To get the most calcium boost from the eggshells, you’ll want to run them through a blender.

Boost Compost

Adding eggshells to your compost will boost its mineral content. The eggshells break down relatively quickly, but don’t hesitate to use the compost in your garden if the shells are still intact.

Create Worm Housing

I add “stacks” of eggshells to my worm composter pretty regularly and I’ve noticed that in time, these become chock full of worms. Now, I don’t speak worm, so I’m not entirely sure what they’re doing in there, but the shells must provide them with some sort of habitat they need.

Supplement Chicken Feed

This is kind of a roundabout way to use eggshells in the garden, but they’ll get there eventually. I feed crushed eggshells back to my hens instead of buying oyster shells to supplement. They add calcium to their diet and it has never caused my hens to peck at their eggs. It just makes sense. And those eggshells will make their way to your garden in the form of chicken manure.

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62 thoughts on “How to Use Eggshells in the Garden: 5 Ways They’ll Help You Grow Food

  • Jessica

    You can give yourself a GREAT facial w/ what’s left inside the egg shell. Just scoop what’s left of the egg white out and rub it all over your face. You should not eat, drink, speak or smile while this is drying (my sweet children make it their goal to make me laugh whilst I’m doing mine). I usually will let it stay on for about 30 minutes, then rinse off w/ lukewarm water. It’s a little thing but it makes me feel like a million $$.

    • Carol S Gibson

      This was my mom’s favorite trick, too! I use it often.

  • Miranda K

    Does this work for indoor plants?
    We should rinse them first right?? I’d hope so.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      It works primarily for crawling pests (think: slugs and cutworms) that you probably don’t have in your indoor plants! And wash them? I don’t.

    • MBH

      I was concerned about the safety issue too, especially if storing the crushed shells for long amounts of time, so I bake them. No fuss, I don’t turn on the oven just for egg shells. Whatever temperature is called for in the recipe I’m making, and for however long it says to bake it is more than enough to kill any harmful bacteria on the egg shells.  I just toss them on a cookie sheet and slide it onto an unoccupied rack while other items cook; it doesn’t impact the flavor of the food at all. 
      A few times I forgot the egg shells for a few hours but they didn’t scorch or burn, they just made a cozy crackling sound as they cooled.


        I have been saving my eggshells for a long time. I put the empty shells on a paper plate then microwave them for a minute or so. Cool. Then I add them to my apothocary jar, smashing them down. I use as needed. They never smell. I also grind some in my coffee grinder and feed them to the birds. Then to clean my grinder I grind a fresh piece of soft bread in it to miraculously clean it. I cut my banana peels into inch pieces and throw them into a freezer bag, adding as I get them. When I need them, I thaw and add to my compost pile or use for my roses and other plants. I have another freezer bag for my ripe bananas that I also keep in the freezer until I make my banana bread.

    • LeAnn

      We don’t wash ours, either. It’s going out into the garden and the thin layers of egg white won’t hurt a thing. They dry quickly and don’t stink. You crush the shells down anyway so it just mixed in and adds some trace nutrients into the soil.

  • Joy A.

    Mine go into my bird’s food for extra calcium and the garden

  • Tanya Wicht

    If you carefully peel the skin off the inside of the raw eggshell, it can be used to draw out prickles that are too small to tweeze out. it creates a strong suction when applied, wet side down, on skin, then left to dry. if you try it on a bit of skin you will feel the pull.

    • Marty Rigwald

      A little off topic for eggshell uses — but another way to remove slivers is to use bacon.  Put a small piece of uncooked bacon over the sliver and cover with a bandage.  Overnight (or several hours) the sliver will be pulled out.  No pain, tweezing, or digging at the sliver to remove it.  I wore a lot of bacon as a child!

  • char

    if you start seedlings for your garden, you can use the egg shell as a pot to put them in…when they get big enough, you can just give the shell a gentle crush when you plant them.

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  • Sheri

    OOOOOOHH…….Be very careful putting eggshells in the garden. Although it may be a deterent for bugs, Skunks Love Them and will dig up your whole garden

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      We don’t have skunks here (YAY), but even when we were in prime skunk territory we never had problems with skunks getting into the garden. Curious to hear if others have found this to be a problem!

      • Trisha

        We have skunks but even though I save a lot of egg shells and put them in the garden, they never bother the garden at all. I suppose they would if we put whole eggs in the compost or didn’t dry them out first. We usually just store them in the egg carton and when we use it up, put the shells in a little bin to dry out. Then crush. No cooking necessary. Don’t worry, your garden is not going to get salmonella poisoning….nature has this stuff all taken care of. I also run some through the grinder and feed them to my red wiggler worms in my indoor compost bin. 

  • Jennifer Gaytan

    I feed mine back to my chickens. Makes their egg shells less brittle. I noticed your comment on the side bar about cartons and asking for eggs in a basket. My customers get a discount on my eggs when they recycle the cartons back to me. I have never bought egg cartons to sell my eggs, all are just recycled ones people had from store bought eggs in the past.

    • Stuart

      It may be illegal to recycle used store egg cartons in your state, especially if you resale the eggs. Check and be sure. If you sell eggs in used cartons and there is a health problem with the eggs, it can be a problem for you. If you have a health problem with your eggs and you used a name brand carton, that could come back and haunt you. Just be careful.

      • Kris Bordessa Post author

        Good point. For sharing neighbor to neighbor, though, I’m not gonna tell! 😉

  • rachel

    how long can you save the shells in the fridge?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      MONTHS. I leave them uncovered so the shells dry out, then I just keep pushing more into the container as I crack eggs.

      • deborah

        Make sure you rinse them out first before storing as they will begin to smell bad. Found this out.

      • Anna@Green Talk

        I stored mine in a container and they ended up going bad.  So, I wash them and let them dry.  A day later I crush them a little and put them in a glass jar.  Don’t crush them into a high speed blender like a Blendtec.  They will ruin the plastic container!

  • Marilyn

    Definately boil them! Salmonella will survive in the garden and you’ll be harvesting sickness instead of healthy foods. Crush shells, boil 5 minutes, let cool and use the water to give an immediate calcium boost to citrus plants like tomatoes and lemon trees. They will reward you with better harvest and your family will not be exposed to salmonella sickness.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I guess I shouldn’t tell you that we eat raw cookie dough, eh? 😉 (Eggs from my own healthy hens, though.)

      • elaine

        I’d love to know how you make mayonaisse, if not with raw eggs? We eat mayo regularly and none of us have ever come down with salmonella

    • Trisha

      I eat raw cookie dough from store bought eggs. Raw eggs aren’t bad for you. 😉  raw milk isn’t bad for you either. 

      • Marianne

        I agree! I wash the shells (from my own hens), air dry and then make egg shell calcium for me. The rest of the shells go back to the hens or the garden.

    • Marianne

      Commercial eggs are sprayed with bleach water before they’re packed for shipping. If there was salmonella inside the egg, no one would be eating them, right? Storing unwashed eggshells at room temp isn’t something I’d want to do, but rinsing them well and letting them air dry makes boiling or baking an unnecessary step–for me, anyway.

      • Gardener

        Salmonella can live inside eggs. Inside chickens too. I don’t keep my eggshells in the fridge, but I do rinse them and dry them out. They live under the sink, no problems with odor.

  • Michelle

    We have a terrible slug problem where I live and I heard they can be put around your plants for protection against them. So, I just started saving mine for future use in my spring garden. I wash the shells out, save them up and plan to bake them when I have enough saved up.

  • janice

    I always put eggshells in the hole when I plant tomatoes along with an aspirin and some epsom salt..a couple teaspoon worth. I have never washed the eggshells when I do this or when I put them in the composter. I don’t have a skunk or racoon problem and my tomatoes always bear well.

  • Laura Johnson

    Oh no! Something else for me to hoard… least it’s for the garden…..

  • Madeleine @ NZ Ecochick

    I keep mine in a container then put them in the oven to dry out then I crush them up and feed them back to my chooks instead of buying oyster grit. Maybe I should put them in the fridge so that I can crush them up instead of putting them int he oven? Might try that thanks Mx

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  • Joe

    Why refrigerate them? I save shells in an open container at room temperature – they never go bad, never smell, so I’m wondering why the fridge?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I don’t think refrigerating is absolutely necessary, but it seems like it dries the shells out more quickly (and they don’t take up my minimal counter space).

  • Jean

    I too collect my eggshells and banana peels  and then when I use the oven (which is often on during the winter). Then when the banana peels are crispy, separately grind into powder (with a thrift store coffee grinder) and place into marked plastic bags. Each can be used for my plants and worm farm.  Helpful article……

    • Wendy

      Banana peels? How do you store them until ready to dry out in oven?

      • Anna@Green Talk

        Two ways. You can store them in the refridgerator on a plate.  They will dry out immediately.  Or your kitchen counter but that will take time.

        I use to store them in the freezer until I needed them but found the refrigerator option so much easier.

  • Leslie Call

    There is also a cool craft I want to try with eggshells. You break the shells and glue them to a small piece of wood, paint with alcohol inks or transparent acrylic paint. After it dries add a coat of Tripe Thick and you have a nice piece of art.

  • Uragr8mom

    Do you think the cracked egg shells will detour the caterpillars that eat my tomato plants too? I just saw that they hibernate in the soil until the warm weather returns and the plants grow again. My sister heard from a friend that sprinkling cayenne pepper around your plants helps too. Not sure if it worked but I will tell you do not get it on the leaves of your plants, it burned my tomato plants leaves. I read somewhere once it’s helpful to plant unused match heads under your pepper plants for more sulfur nutrients. Back to the egg shells, I also read somewhere that you can grind them down into a body powder for yourself? I guess a homemade talc? I could not leave banana peels on my counter to dry, too many fruit flies!!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      It can’t hurt to try it on those caterpillars!

  • Chris Wisnoski

    i would recommend baking them to kill off any possible Salmonella or other bacteria, just a few minutes at 350 in a baking dish. Crush them first and more will fit in.

    Adding them to your soil early on will also help stave of BlossomEnd rot in tomatoes. 

  • diane

    I have been saving egg shells for awhile to grind into a powder for my dog.Before I put them in the oven I noticed teeny tiny bugs(some were brown some were white looking. the white ones moved) I don’t know if I should use them?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I couldn’t say! But the idea of grinding them for your dog is a good one!

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  • NHWCenter

    Love all the suggestions!!!
    There’s only a rare salmonella when the chickens are fed arsenic. The outbreak of salmonella came from commercial eggs. I get my eggs from a local farm and I make my own calcium solution when I don’t use them for my garden. I peel the inner film and let the shells dry out and crush the shells. When I have enough to fill my jar I add Bragg’s Vinegar and water and it breaks down the shells. Walla…homemade calcium of high quality. BTW you can make your Vitamin C by dehydrating the skins of lemons after you remove as much of the white pulp as possible. Then I put them in my vitamix and fill capsules. I keep them in my freezer to keep them fresh. Meyer Lemons are the best.

  • Mulinah Jackson

    Hi. I have indoor plants and all year, especially through the winter, I’ve been dealing with tons of gnats and/or fruit flies. I’ve tried so many different things to try to rid the problem and nothing is working. Is there anything you can suggest to help me out!! Please please please I’m desperate!!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Are you sure theyʻre not whiteflies? You might try taking outside and hosing off if itʻs not too cold.

    • Di Kershaw

      Mulinah, For the fruit flies. A little jar with some apple cider vinegar and a piece of banana at the bottom, covered with a lid into which a few holes or some cling wrap with holes punched, will do the trick. The fruit flies enter the bottle through the holes, but are unable to get out and drown. I do this all the time and it works very well.

  • John

    Ground egg shells can also be used in making fermented beverages to make the water harder which can make the resulting drink fizzier.