"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday 8 December 2011

Loo rolls vs egg shells

Okay - report back time.

This Spring I tried recycling empty loo roll tubes and egg shells into seed planters.

I managed to grow radish, beans, tomatoes and beetroot successfully in egg shells. 

 But the only thing that grew in the loo rolls was mealies (corn)
I wouldn't normally try and grow corn seedlings,
but, due to the fact that I wanted corn on the,
farm, and our visit was delayed, I decided to give
them a helping hand :)
Tomatoes, radish, beans and beetroot - nada!  I don't know what went wrong with the loo roll tubes - perhaps the glue they use contaminated the soil?  But I did find another use for the empty loo rolls - they make brilliant  cutworm deterrents / supports for tomato plants :)
I buried the loo rolls into the soil
slightly to give the loo roll and the
tomato plant a bit of support
So, hands down, my favourite is the egg shells - because they work!
And the egg boxes make brilliant holders too LOL
But, not only do they work, they will also add calcium to the soil when they are planted.  And they seem to be working well as a cutworm deterrent as well.

I left the egg shell whole until the seed popped itself "above ground" (this also helped to retain water for the seed).  Then I gently cracked the base of the shell to allow the roots room to grow and planted it into its permanent bed.

I am now collecting loads and loads of egg shells - and, if any should break, I'll just toss them in my compost container in the kitchen.


  1. Fascinating! I love this! So, when you use eggs do you try and break the shells carefully, Mine normally break in half but it looks like you must just kind of crack the top off. What a brilliant idea, I have never seen this! xxx

  2. I really need to try this with this years seed starts. I should probably start collecting shells now as we don't eat that many eggs. Thanks for the update, Dani

  3. Rachael - One is "taught" to break an egg in the middle of the shell. But with a bit of practice, breaking it as close to the pointier end becomes second nature. If you want the yolk and white to be separated, please make sure your hole is big enough for the yolk to slip out without breaking.

    Tami - Yes, RMan and I are eating 1 - max 2 eggs - a week. But you'd be surprised how they collect :) Especially if you cook (bake) with eggs often. Why not ask your neighbours for their shells too LOL

  4. I agree, who knows what they use in the processing of the paper in the roll. Stick with nature, and you can never go wrong.

  5. I like what you are doing with the eggshells, doesn't get much more natural than that.

  6. Okay, now that you have tried and tested them I'm going to give these a shot next year! Sounds great!

  7. Have you tried using half loo rolls as I found the whole ones let the moisture settle to the bottom leaving the soil in the top of the roll dry, hence insufficient moisture to germinate/grow was available to the seed/seedling?
    I haven't tried egg shells but as our soil needs dolomite to raise the ph to acceptable levels for most plants I think it would be a great idea to plant the seedlings with their own slow release calcium supply.
    Thank you :)!

  8. Jane - Nature does know best :)

    Mr H - Nope - it doesn't :)

    Linda - Eggcellent LOL

    Robyn - Yes, I did try 1/2 loo rolls - not much luck there either...

  9. That's such a great idea. I'm such a clumsy guy. I don't think I could keep the shells whole.

  10. Jody - Me too :) But you'd be surprised how tough egg shells really are!

  11. What a good idea! I have quite a supply of eggshells, provided by my hens - must try this next Spring.

    Another use for eggshells in the garden is to protect bulbs from being dug up and eaten by animals. An even scattering of crushed eggshell where bulbs are planted makes an effective "off limits!" sign, and as you say, also adds calcium to your soil.

  12. to clarify: the crushed eggshells are scattered atop the soil - not mixed into the earth when you plant your bulbs :)

  13. Quinn - Welcome :)

    I have tried scattering crushed egg shells on top of the soil around my vulnerable plants - the snails still get them...

  14. Gosh, I never thought of snails as eating bulbs! Do saucers of beer work for snails? That's a popular slug-trap here.

  15. Quinn - The snails are eating the plants above ground - not the bulbs below ground LOL


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