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All plants need a good all-around fertilizer to provide them with the macro and micronutrients they need to thrive. Calcium is a plant micronutrient, meaning that its needed in smaller quantities than that of macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. But that doesnt mean calcium isnt important for healthy plants.
Giving your vegetables the proper amount of calcium can also prevent blossom end rot. As seasoned gardeners know, this frustrating blight can affect vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.
Although many commercial fertilizers include calcium in the formula, cold weather or high humidity can impact the uptake of calcium by your plants, leading to a deficiency. This is why I like to occasionally add a boost of calcium eggshell fertilizer to all of my plants, especially just before theyre about to go into a growth cycle or produce buds.
Youll often see advice from gardening and houseplant bloggers and YouTubers around using eggshells as a natural plant supplement. Some say to roughly crush eggshells and put them in water to make an eggshell tea. Others advise using crushed eggshells as a soil amendment.
This advice wont harm your plants, but it might just be a waste of your time. Eggshell calcium needs to be in a format that your plants roots can absorband it takes a long time for eggshells to break down to that point, even in water or soil. Eggshell fragments are often found at archaeological digs, if youre wondering how long it can take!
To make water-soluble calcium eggshell fertilizer that your plants can use immediately, youll need a small amount of white vinegar to convert the insoluble (calcium carbonate) to the soluble (calcium). Then you simply add the solution to the water that you normally use to water your plants.
Eggshells are made primarily of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), plus small amounts of calcium phosphate and magnesium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is insoluble in water, which plant roots use to uptake nutrients.
A commonly asked question is whether the vinegar will make your eggshell fertilizer too acidic to use on your plants. As the reaction occurs, the calcium in the eggshells effectively neutralizes the pH of the vinegar. If you have a spare pH test strip (like the kind used for fish tanks) you can check it out for yourself once the vinegar and eggshells complete their reaction.
Youll need at least 10 eggshellsI save mine in a bowl in the fridge until I have enough. If youve collected a lot of eggshells, youll be able to save the extra dry eggshell powder to make more fertilizer later.
For grinding the eggshells, a coffee mill works really well. Ive used the one pictured above for many years, and it pulverizes the shells in seconds (they dont make that exact model anymore, but this one from Hamilton Beach is very similar).
If you dont have a coffee mill, you can always crush the eggshells with a rolling pin. I recommend using a wooden cutting board to crush them onthe shells tend to stay put a bit better than if you use plastic or glass.
Spread the eggshells in a single layer on a baking sheet, then place them in the oven. Turn the oven to bake on its lowest setting, usually around 180F/80C. Dry the shells in the oven for about two hours. This step not only removes moisture from the shells, but will also kill any bacteria that may be lurking on the shells.
Fill your coffee mill halfway with the roughly-crushed eggshells, and grind them to a fine powder. Youll want the shells as fine as possible, so you may have to blitz them a few times to grind up any coarse bits.
Tip: If you have a lot of plants to fertilize, you might want to use a separate small bowl to measure each dose of the eggshell and vinegar solutionone for each gallon you plan on mixing. This saves you the step of measuring the solution again each time you add it to the water.
Now its time to water your plants with your eggshell fertilizer! Water your houseplants, garden veggies, and flowerbeds as usual, giving your plants a bit of a boost from the added calcium dissolved in the water.
If you crushed more eggshells than you needed, save the extra in your lidded jar. The shells will keep a lot longer dry, and you can just measure out the amount you need and mix with vinegar in the future.
Always forgetting to water or fertilize your plants? Our free plant care tracker printable can help with that! Help your plants thrive (with less stress for you!) Just let us know where to send your free printable, and its on its way.
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To obtain the minimum particle size calcium carbonate, the vibrated mill was used to grind analytically pure calcium carbonate. This experimental method was introduced to research what effect grinding time, grinding media size and filling rate have on grinding in order to select the optimal operation condition. The results showed that the vibrated mill could grind analytically pure calcium carbonate with size of about 1.5m, and with the grinding time increased, the size of the particles decreased. However, its size remained even reversed when decreased to a certain degree. The optimum technological condition is a parameter combination including 10mm diameter grinding ball, 65% filling rate and 500g powder quality.Get in Touch with Mechanic