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How to Use Egg Shells in the Garden

Egg shells in garden

With my backyard chickens back in the swing of laying eggs for spring, I have lots of eggs, which means lots of egg shells. I use them in several ways and you can, too.

  1. Plant
  2. Grind
  3. Toast
  4. Compost

How to Use Egg Shells in Garden

Here are 4-quick ways to use egg shells in the garden:

1. Plant

Sprinkle crushed egg shells around plant bases to keep slugs off of your tender plants. Make sure the egg shells are crushed up nice and small (read: sharp!) so that those pesky slugs and other garden munchers get hurt and “hurry” away from your plants. It’s important to make sure that plant leaves are not touching the ground and providing an easy way for slugs to get onto your plants.

You can also use sharp gravel at the base of plants to achieve the same effect – just in case you don’t like the egg shell look. These egg shells are at the base of an artichoke plant.

Artichoke plant with eggs
Egg shells at the base of my artichoke plant keep slimy-slugs off my veggies!

2. Grind

Mix egg shells with fish scraps or fish heads ground up and drop a cup into the hole you dig to plant with your tomato plants. (My tomato planting routine can be found HERE.) Make sure to dig deep holes for your tomato plants so that the egg shells and fish scraps are buried deep beneath the surface. This will keep critters from digging in your garden! These will break down by the end of the season, fertilize your plant and you’ll be left with wonderful soil for the following year.

Egg shells and fish scraps
Not appetizing to me but my tomato plants love it! Fish heads and egg shells.

3. Toast

Crush egg shells and toast them to feed to backyard chickens. Placing them on a baking tray on low in the toaster oven works well. Chickens need calcium, which egg shells are rich in. The reason the shells need toasting is so that chickens don’t get a taste for egg shells. We don’t want chickens eating their precious eggs! This process smells somewhat so be ready to have your window or doors open.

(You can also give your backyard chickens crushed oyster shell which can be purchased at a feed store.)

4. Compost

Add crushed egg shells to your compost bin to put nutrients back into your soil. When eggs get used in the kitchen, we toss them into our compost pail that we keep on the kitchen counter. It gets emptied into our compost bins outside and ends up back in the soil.

Be sure to crunch up small first, before adding them to your compost bin, to speed the decomposition. You’ll find egg shells scattered around your vegetable patch if they don’t get crunched up.

Egg shells in compost
Beautiful rich soil straight from my compost bin. Notice the brown egg shells?

Those are my quick and easy uses for egg shells in the garden.

What do you use egg shells for? Any tips for keeping slugs away?

Go Gingham related links:

Egg salad sandwiches – this is the best ever! I promise
How to hard boil eggs – it’s easy and takes 10 minutes for perfection
Brownies – with whole wheat flour, eggs, and yogurt – practically health food
Egg strata that gets assembled at night and baked the next day – delicious!

10 thoughts on “How to Use Egg Shells in the Garden

  1. Hi Sara, Thanks for this! I have been eating a lot of eggs lately – now that the girls are back in production mode! – and I have been wondering if I should keep my shells and do something with them. I didn’t know about using them for slugs – great idea!

    I would love to see a post about your composting methods – I have tried different things and nothing is just right. I would like to avoid buying an expensive rotating compost bin if I can and I am sure you have a terrific solution I could copy!


    1. Hi Annie,
      Here are a couple of posts about what I use for composting:
      and more information here:
      I don’t really like our compost bins because they’re hard to get the dirt out of BUT they do serve their purpose.
      Be sure and put hardware cloth underneath to keep rats out AND it needs sun exposure to work.
      Good luck! Your garden will be so happy. 🙂


    1. Carrie, you’re so welcome! The tomato planting works very nicely and the growing is even better – if we have nice hot summer weather.
      I really like “Sun Gold” cherry tomatoes. They are tasty and easy to grow. They’re also tasty whether you’re eating them off the vine, in a recipe or roasting them.
      Good luck with yours this year ~ 🙂


  2. Perhaps this is a stupid question, but if you’re using your egg shells in the back yard, does that bother your chickens? Do they understand that those egg shells are from their eggs? Maybe it’s a non-issue because they’re in a totally separate place, but I just had to ask. Thanks for not laughing at me.


      1. Tina, I know “eeewwww” is correct. The chickens aren’t allowed in the garden area once I have items planted. They would have a hey-day eating all of the little plant starts!
        Good question, Tina. And, chickens aren’t the smartest creatures but they do like to eat and peck at just about anything.
        Thanks for leaving a comment! 🙂


  3. Sara – question: do you rinse out the egg shells before you compost or use them in the garden? Do you let them dry out? Do you break them up as you toss them into your compost pail? Thanks!


    1. Annie, the egg shells go directly from being cracked to tossed into the compost pail. Some people are better than others around my house about crunching up the shells and tossing them into the pail but I figure at least they’re going into the pail and not left in the kitchen sink! No drying, no rinsing – easy, peasy!


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