"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

Monday, 19 November 2012

Egged on...

You recall last year I mentioned that I was saving all the empty egg shells from the eggs that I used in cooking / breakfast, etc. as well as all the empty loo roll holders.  I have a limited number of seedling trays and I wanted to compliment that quantity of seeds I could grow without having to purchase more plastic (trays).
Normal seed trays together with empty egg
shells - I kept them in a recycled Styrofoam
boxes I got from RSon. The Sty
rofoam boxes
act like giant drip t
rays, and when covered
with bubble wrap which we used when packing 
the delicate items, they became miniature
hot houses :)
With the move from town to farm, a whole bunch of the shells got broken, but I did managed to use over 80 empty egg shells, as well as numerous empty loo roll holders :)

And, even though my planting was late this year, I have a good crop of seedlings peeping through the soil.  I'm not terribly worried as we have a long planting season here - heck, I've still got broad beans being produced on the plants I cut back.  Who would have thought in the heat we are already experiencing...?
Loads of empty egg shells in egg cartons - to hold
them upright.  They, too, became too soggy and
fell apart.
But, I thought I'd give you some feedback on egg shells vs loo roll holders...

The loo roll holders I found got too soggy, and fell apart when it came time to plant them out.  And one has to space them very closely together too - to prevent them from falling over.

But the egg shells - they're a winner!!!!
You can see the roots peeping through
where I broke the 
shell prior to
planting out the seedlings.  The one
in the foreground is not planted yet -
I just propped it there to show you
the healthy seedling it has managed
to produce.  I planted them in the
ground leaving about 1cm (1/2 an inch)
of the shell above ground.
The benefit, for me, is that while I am reusing the empty egg shells, I am also simultaneously adding calcium to the soil when I plant out the seedlings.

And, hopefully, the extra benefit is that the bit of egg shell peeping above the ground will act as a cut-worm deterrent.

To use your egg shells, make sure that you cut the egg open as close as possible to the pointed end of the shell.  A hassle initially, as one is used to cracking eggs through the middle.  But, you soon get used to it :)

And just think of not having to sterilize those seedling trays ever again...!

A last tip - all those seedling trays you have lying around - keep them and use them to support the egg shells whilst the seeds are germinating.

Using empty egg shells, to grow seedlings, works.  I promise :)


kymber said...

awesome Dani! i tried the toilet paper/paper towel thing and got the same results as you! i have thought about the eggshell starters but have not yet gotten around to it - i am glad that you are having such success. we have soil blockers now and i am happy with them - but like you said - with every eggshell starter that you plant, you are adding calcium. and the eggshell starters will definitely help with the cutworms. hmmmm....need to start saving all of our eggshells!

your friend,

1st Man said...

What a great idea, I'll have to try this out. I love, as Kymber said, the fact that you are adding some calcium to the soil and giving the plants a 'boost. Might have to just start saving them myself!

Nice job!

MsBelinda said...

Thank you for posting this beneficial tip. Will have to try it next spring.

Dani said...

kymber - And judging from the steak and eggs that you and Jam enjoy, gathering enough shells should be no problem for you... LOL

Dani said...

1st Man - Saving the shells is easy - the only hassle is where to keep the fragile things. But, it's WORTH the hassle :)

Dani said...

MsBelinda - You're welcome :)

Leigh said...

I've used egg cartons but never egg shells. Excellent points about them though. I'm feeding mine back to my chickens, but will have to think about maybe buying them some oyster shell next spring, just so I can keep the shells for seeds.

Dani said...

Leigh - Being human you're sure to break some eggs accidentally, plus you'll have the "lid" section - so I'd suggest feeding those back to the chickens. Keep the whole ones for your seeds :)

farmfancies said...

Just catching up and my goodness you've had an exciting month, with all kinds of incidents and visitors - 2 legged and 4, a new look to the house - love those stairs - and gardening :D! I'll have to stop using my eggshells as scattered snail/slug preventation and start planting seeds in them.
Cheers, Robyn

Dani said...

Robyn - LOL - yeah, when you put it like that we have had a lot of welcome (and unwelcome) visitors :)

Just a thought to all of you who feed your egg shells to your chickens. Save the ones you use for seeds, and pop into a local restaurant / coffee shop and ask them if they will supply you with theirs instead of chucking them into their refuse :)

Win-win all round!

Sprig said...

great idea! :-D

Dani said...

Sprig - Thanks :)