Either route you choose, you’ll need to cook some egg shells.
If you’re boiling scrap eggshells, try crushing the shells before boiling to allow the calcium to dissipate into the water more easily.
Allow the water to boil for 1 to 2 hours, adding more water as needed.
Remove from heat, and allow the pot to cool until it’s room temperature.
Water your plants with this solution, which offers them a fast boost of calcium. The closer you can get to the roots, the better!
If you opt for the vinegar option (the best for severe calcium deficiency), you would use equal parts of pulverized egg shells and vinegar; 1 Tbsp each.
Mix, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Then, mix with pure water in a one gallon jug. Apply the whole jug to a single tomato plant.
This is quite time consuming and repetitive for multiple plants, but an excellent option when plants are in trouble.
Don’t forget to opt for tomato plants that are resistant to blossom end rot if you’re having frequent problems.
Some varieties are more prone to BER, just as some peppers are. Picking the right tomato seeds will make a big difference.
Crushed Eggshells for Tomato Plants
At planting time, add crushed egg shells into the planting hole before you add compost.
They will begin breaking down, offering your plants a source of steady calcium throughout the growing season.
If you add eggshells during the fall months as you turn your bed before winter, the egg shells will decompose providing the soil with more calcium for next year’s plants.
Enriching your soil consistently will keep your garden producing heavily year after year.
When growing peppers and tomatoes together, you’ll find that your beds will work through the available calcium quite rapidly.
Why You Should Wash and Cook Egg Shells before Crushing Them (and Ultimately Storing Them)
Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella and other pathogens.
Therefore, I recommend washing and cooking the shells before processing them in any way.
This makes the shells safe to handle and store.
Once cracked, rinse the egg quite well. If you boiled your eggs, you could skip this step.
Next, preheat the oven; I like to cook my shells at 300*F for 1 to 1-1/2 hours with a bit of water.
You could skip this step too if you’ve boiled; however, the oven works wonders when it comes to making egg shells brittle.
If you’re pulverizing the shells with a processor or grinder, then you only truly need to worry about the egg shells being sanitary.
Once the shells have cooled, begin crushing them.
You’ll find that it’s much easier to pulverized the shells into smaller pieces, making them easier to work into the soil (thus releasing calcium more quickly.)
This is assuming that you do not have a processor or grinder that you can use for this process.
When the shells are finished, store them in a mason jar until spring settles upon the garden.
Eggshells Around Tomato Plants
If your plants are healthy, and aren’t showing signs of BER or calcium deficiency as a whole, sprinkle your egg shells around the plants as a preventative action.
It’s quick, it’s frugal, it’s easy, and it’s a long term solution for preventing calcium deficiencies within the soil.
Egg shells can take a very long time to break down, which is why this is an excellent practice.
As a matter of fact, I recommend sprinkling them around every plant in your garden.
As the years come and go, these shells will get worked into the soil over and over, even through rotations.
How Many Eggshells for Tomato Plants When Amending the Garden Soil?
Yes, it’s a bit vague to say “some eggshells.” If you’re wondering how many shells you’ll need, assume between 9 and 15 per plant.
If your soil has proven to be deficient in calcium recently, you would benefit from heavier applications of shells.
You’d also benefit from boiling eggshells and pouring the cooled liquid over the roots of your plants.
For the typical family of 4, it’s not uncommon to consume 2 dozen eggs per week.
This could translate into enough shells for 2 tomato plants, or 8 per month.
If you started collecting shells in the winter, you’d have plenty of shells saved up by the time planting season arrives!
Otherwise, you could evenly split what you do have on hand among the planting holes, then add more around the plants as the weeks pass.