We used Eggshells in Our Garden. It Took 2 minutes & Improved Our Tomatoes 100%

We used Eggshells in Our Garden. It Took 2 minutes & Improved Our Tomatoes 100%

Ever see a tomato plant with the leaves dying back, or with dark brown tinting on the leaves? Or, have you ever seen a plant full of tomatoes…except all those tomatoes have brown and black spots on the ends that just seem to get bigger?

 

These are symptoms of calcium deficiency – and your garden needs some serious first aid!

 

You CAN fix it – if you’re fast enough! That’s where your leftover eggshells come in. If you have chickens or eat a lot of eggs, you can repurpose your leftover eggshells to improve your garden!

 

Calcium is an essential mineral, and it aids plant development by helping them form healthy, strong cell walls. Without calcium, your plants will experience lags and slow growth, and could die in the long-run.

 

As you can imagine, since we have so many ducks and chickens, we have a LOT of eggshells, and it’s a shame to just throw them away.

 

Eggshells, which are mostly calcium, are a perfect way to improve your tomato harvest  – and in this article, I’m going to show you how to do just that!

 

Stopping Disease In Its Tracks

Tomatoes can develop blossom end rot – which is a symptom of not having enough calcium. Should your tomatoes develop this disease, you can add crushed eggshells directly to the soil to help your plants.

 

Stop tomato diseases in their tracks by using eggshells in your garden!

 

Despite common belief, you can help a plant that’s developed blossom end rot, and the plants can produce healthy fruit once they’re no longer calcium deficient.

 

Before adding them to your garden, grind the eggshells in a blender or with a mortar and pestle to make the calcium more bioavailable. You can then mix the powder with water or  add it directly to the soil.

 

Just note that adding eggshells to your garden before the planting season will help prevent blossom end rot, and it’s better to prevent than to fix it.

 

Preventative Measures: Adding Calcium to Your Compost With Eggshells

While you can add eggshells directly into your garden, taking the extra step to compost them is also a good idea. As they degrade, they’ll help neutralize the pH of your compost, as well as leave rich minerals behind.

 

Be sure to wash and crust them before adding them to your compost so they won’t attract insects and other animals and so they break down faster.

 

Starting Tomato Plants In Eggshells

Another idea, if you’re feeling creative or truly committed to making sure your tomatoes have enough calcium, is to start your tomato plant seedlings IN eggshells.

 

When you transplant them, you can transplant the seedling AND the eggshell (which you’ll bury directly into the soil).

 

Stop tomato diseases in their tracks by using eggshells in your garden!

 

Whenever you start your tomato plants, clean out eggshells, leaving most of the shell intact. Place potting soil in the shell, and then insert your tomato seed.

 

As it sprouts, it will get nutrients from the soil, and the shell will continue to feed it long after it’s been transplanted (you should still side dress with compost when it flowers, however).

 

Safeguarding Against Pests

Coarsely crushed eggshells have the ability to develop a strong and highly effective barrier against the incidence and occurrence of pests such as slugs and snails, which also happen to love chomping down on tomatoes.

 

Slugs and snails have soft bodies, and the sharp spiky shells can cause some deadly harm – so the pests avoid the ragged eggshells at all costs.

 

Simply arrange the crushed layer of the eggshells around your tomatoes, and you can rest easy that snails and slugs will find something else to eat for dinner.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you used eggshells to improve your tomato garden? Leave a comment below!

How To Ripen Green Tomatoes!

How To Ripen Green Tomatoes!

Are you staring at a bunch of over-enthusiastic tomato plants in your garden and wondering how to ripen green tomatoes without losing them to frost now that summer is over?

 

At the end of summer, there’s always a few green tomatoes that haven’t yet started to turn red. While you can always pluck them off the plant and eat them while they’re still green, they can be a bit tough and sour, especially if they’re very under-ripe.

 

If fried green tomatoes or salsa verde isn’t your thing, and you’re dreaming about pasta sauce, there are a few things you can do to speedily ripen green tomatoes.

 

Before we get started, you should only look to harvest green tomatoes that are healthy, with no soft spots, insect holes, or diseases (these tomatoes might ripen, but also might not be edible once they DO ripen – so use them for animal food or just compost them).

 

Here’s 3 ideas to help to ripen green tomatoes!

 

Got lots to harvest and wondering how to ripen green tomatoes? Here's 3 ways!

 

Choose green tomatoes that already show signs of ripening

Tomatoes that are not fully mature will either take FOREVER to ripen or won’t ever ripen – so for the best results, make sure the green fruit feels a little soft when you squeeze it.

 

If it’s starting to show a little pink, that’s even better, and you can pull them off the vine and they’re more likely to ripen for you.

 

Allow green tomatoes to ripen on a sunny shelf

 

To ripen, some fruits, tomatoes included, produce ethylene. If you leave your green tomatoes on a sunny shelf, eventually they’ll let off enough of the gas to ripen on their own. This is the simplest and most straight forward way to let them turn red.

 

Place with a banana or apple to speed it along

While we’ve never had much of a problem getting healthy, mature green tomatoes to ripen, it CAN take a while. One option to cut the ripening time down is to place your tomatoes in a paper bag with an apple or banana.

 

Both fruits give off ethylene – it will trigger your tomatoes to start the ripening process.

 

Choose a banana that still has green areas on it – just-starting-to-ripen bananas release more ethylene than when they’re fully ripe. This method cuts down the amount of time it takes your green tomatoes to ripen.

 

For larger amounts of tomatoes, place them in a cardboard box (you only want 2 layers to reduce the chance of squishing, especially as they ripen) along with the banana or apple.

 

Don’t allow the tomatoes to touch to increase circulation around each fruit. Place newspaper between layers.

 

Store in a cool, dry place since humidity can attract flies, other insects, or cause mold. Check on them frequently and pull out tomatoes that have ripened, or any that show signs of decay.

 

Got lots to harvest and wondering how to ripen green tomatoes? Here's 3 ways!

 

Allow green tomatoes to ripen on the vine

If you still have a few weeks before the first fall frost date, you can try to speed along ripening on the vine.

 

Pinch off any new flowers that bloom so the plant puts it’s effort into completing the reproductive cycle of the fruits that already have started to grow.

 

If frost threatens but it won’t be a hard frost, you can try using a row cover to keep the temperatures higher around the plant.

 

If you have a sunny, south-facing room in your house, and you grew your tomato plants in pots, then you can try bringing the whole plant indoors.

 

We’ve had mixed results with this, so we usually skip this step and just harvest the remaining green tomatoes. However, if you live in an area with higher winter temperatures, you might have more success.