Garden center shelves are lined with a variety of assorted plant fertilizers, both chemical and organic. One thing the myriad of fertilizers have in common is that none are inexpensive. If you're a budget-minded gardener, save used eggshells and turn them into an effective fertilizer for vegetables, plants or flowers. Eggshells are loaded with calcium carbonate, a common fertilizer ingredient. In addition, eggshells contain small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and other beneficial trace elements.
Rinse eggshells carefully in warm, running water. Place the eggshells on a tray or a sheet of waxed paper and put them in a warm place to dry until they're brittle. You can also place the eggshells on a baking sheet and put them in an oven set at the lowest temperature.
Place the eggshells in a bowl. Break the shells with your hands, then use the back of a large spoon to crush the shells into a fine powder. If you prefer, pulverize the shells in a blender or food processor.
Sprinkle the powdered eggshells around garden plants. Work the powder lightly into the top of the soil with a trowel.
Bring a gallon of water to boil in a soup kettle or large saucepan. Add the shells from 18 to 20 eggs.
Remove the pan from the burner and allow the eggshells to steep in the water for eight hours. Pour the cooled eggshells and water through a strainer into a large container or gallon jar. Discard the shells or throw them on your compost pile.
Store the liquid fertilizer in a covered container. Add a small amount of the water to your houseplants or outdoor plants every week.
About this Author
M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.