“Are eggshells good for tomato plants” is a good question for avid gardeners to ask. Surprisingly, eggshells are very helpful for these plants’ growth and fruit development. This article will unfold all the benefits of using crushed shells on growing tomatoes.
This article will also discuss time-tested and research-backed methods of adding eggshells to your soil.
- Are Eggshells Actually Good For Tomato Plants?
- How Best To Use Eggshells For Tomato Plants?
- How Many Eggshells Are Good For a Tomato Plant?
Are Eggshells Actually Good For Tomato Plants?
Yes, eggshells are actually good for tomato plants during growth and fruit development. They provide adequate calcium to the plants, help with root growth and decrease soil acidity as preferred by the plants. They cannot, however, replace a well-balanced tomato fertilizer like compost or liquid feed.
– They Are Rich In Calcium
Eggshells are enriched in calcium carbonate crystals, a much-needed element needed for healthy soil. The soil naturally depletes calcium over time as tomatoes are planted seasonally. There is no better natural method of restoring this lost calcium than using shells from used eggs.
Tomato and other plants take up this calcium and use it to make strong cell walls. This is specifically true during the first stages of the plants’ growth before it starts producing fruit.
Remember that eggshells take considerable time to break down and release calcium into the soil. Therefore it is best to begin incorporating crushed eggshells into the soil as soon as the plant is in the seedling or propagation stages.
– Eggshells Make The Soil Less Acidic
Eggshells tend to be alkaline and decrease the acidity of the soil. Calcium carbonate in them interacts with the acid in the soil to neutralize it and make it suitable for the tomato plant. Most studies have found that this plant grows best when the pH ranges between 6.2 and 6.8.
Using eggshells is a safer option as compared to an acidic fertilizer. It might take some time but poses no risk of making the soil too alkaline. Still, it’s recommended to conduct a home soil pH test before using too many eggshells.
– Prevent Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rots are a classic sign of calcium deficiency in tomatoes. The developing fruit cannot form strong cell walls, and its ends begin to rot and turn black. The fruit itself is moist, mushy, and less tasty than you would like it to be.
Adding eggshells is a harmless means of ensuring that blossom end rot does not happen. However, they must be added to the soil before the tomato plant starts flowering. Adding eggshells to the soil will not treat blossom end rots once it has occurred.
Sometimes, the soil contains an adequate quantity of calcium, and yet you start seeing tomato ends rotting. In this case, you might have to figure out why the plant is not absorbing calcium rather than adding eggshells to the soil.
– Promote Root Growth
Instead of going for a commercial calcium nitrate fertilizer, why not add eggshells? Calcium carbonate is a much-needed plant nutrient for root growth and strength.
The plant will establish roots much faster and produce tomatoes earlier than expected. This is especially important when propagating a new plant from the stems of an old one.
– Keep Snails and Slugs Away
Another reason egg shells are so good for tomatoes and similar plants is their pest-repelling properties. Snails and slugs pose a severe threat when growing these plants outdoors—these slimy bugs like to chew on the leaves and the tomatoes.
For repelling snails and slugs, the eggshells need to be crushed in larger chunks. Spread these all around the plant’s main stem to keep bugs off. Snails, slugs, and even more minor pests are irritated by the texture of the crushed shells and tend to stay off.
Mix eggshells with crushed coffee grounds to make an even better pest-repelling mixture. Eggshells emanate a weird smell that is off-putting to larger animals like deer and raccoons and protects them from these animals.
How Best To Use Eggshells For Tomato Plants?
The best way to use eggshells for tomato plants is to clean them and crush them using a mortar and pestle. Another method is to crush them first and then immerse them in water for several hours. This water then becomes a fertilizer tea rich in calcium.
– Make Eggshell Powder
Powdered and crushed eggshells are the easiest to introduce calcium organically to tomatoes.
- The beginning step is to wash and clean the eggshells thoroughly using hot water. Then place them on a towel for at least one to two days until they are 100 percent dry.
- A quicker approach is to boil the eggshells in water and then dry them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- Crush the shells into a fine powder using a mortar, pestle, or electric grinder.
- This powder can be mixed in with the soil by itself or along with coffee grounds. A better approach is to add it to the compost pile for a more balanced supply of all essential nutrients.
– Make DIY Eggshell Tea
Using liquid fertilizer tea from crushed shells is a great way to boost plant growth while growing and planting tomatoes. This is easier than having to rake in eggshell powder within the topsoil. Then again, making such a tea takes longer than grinding shells with a mortar and pestle.
- Clean and crush the shells from used eggs and wash them thoroughly with boiling water.
- Then let them sit in this water for a whole night or five to six hours consecutively. During this time, a significant quantity of calcium seeps from the shells into the water.
- Strain the water out of the crushed pieces of eggshells and collect it in a bottle. You can throw the crushed chips away or add them to the compost bin.
- This tea can be poured directly onto the soil in small amounts. It needs not to be refrigerated as it rarely goes wrong, and the plant loves the water at room temperature.
– Use Them As Seed Starters
To plant tomato seeds, eggshells make an effective and organic seed starting pack. As they decompose throughout seed germination, a significant quantity of calcium and nitrogen is released.
Of course, you also need to purchase fresh seeds from a trusted and experienced vendor. For seed germination, you must carefully wash and clean the eggshells without breaking them. Keep the empty eggshells on an egg tray and fill each one with a damp seed starter mixture.
After putting the seeds in, sprinkle a very light layer of soil to cover them up. Keeping the seed starter mixture lightly damp by watering it two to three times will help speed germination. Tomatoes growing from such a plant will be significant, plump, and not suffer from end rot.
How Many Eggshells Are Good For a Tomato Plant?
Approximately one cup of eggshells in crushed form is good for a tomato plant. When the pieces have been crushed too finely, then it’s best to use even fewer eggshells than this. Use a rake to work these crushed pieces properly into the soil.
– Too Many Eggshells Make Tomatoes Salty
When too many eggshells are added to a single tomato plant, the plant produces salty tomatoes. This effect is compounded when eggs are mixed with Epsom salt, as suggested by some gardeners.
Adding too many eggshells also has the disadvantage that it makes the soil alkaline. If the pH exceeds the limit tomatoes prefer, the plant and the fruit both suffer.
– Do Not Use Eggshell Too Often
While there is no doubt that eggshells are a helpful soil additive, do not use them more than once per week. Eggshells take a long time to decompose and continue to deliver their nutrients into the soil, so frequent additions will only lead to an overdose. Finely crushed powder releases calcium faster, so it can be added more frequently, but the quantity must be decreased.
Tomatoes can be tricky to grow even though they are a staple plant in every kitchen garden. This article taught you how to recycle eggshells and use them for a healthy yield of tomatoes.
- Eggshells are rich in calcium and contain significant nitrogen that helps tomato plants during germination and growth.
- Once you plant tomatoes in the soil, add crushed eggshells to the top soil before the fruit forms to prevent them from developing blossom end rot.
- Eggshells are also good because they aerate the soil and keep large-sized bugs like snails and slugs away from the plant.
- Soaking eggshells in boiled water overnight produces an eggshell fertilizer tea that can be used regularly for a healthy plant.
In short, the benefits of using eggshells as a food supplement while growing tomatoes are numerous. However, it would be a blunder to consider them a potential replacement for compost or commercial fertilizer.
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