Easter Is the Perfect Time to Start Building a Stronger Compost with Eggshells.
Easter is right around the corner, which means families across the country will be participating in the tradition of turning hard-boiled eggs into festively colored Easter eggs.
Do you ever wonder what happens to all those colorful eggshells each year? The majority of them end up as waste, but eggshells have beneficial properties that can prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Eggshells can be composted or added directly to your garden as both a supplement and a pest deterrent.
Coloring Your Eggs Naturally
If you are trying to limit your use of food dyes, you can color your eggs naturally with common household ingredients. The process is simple, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
Vinegar, a mild acid that will not weaken eggshells, is the main ingredient that allows the color to absorb into your eggs. When combining vinegar with colored water, the mixture colors the outside of your eggs. To color your water naturally, you can use turmeric, paprika, onions, oranges, beets, raspberries, and grapes. Below is a list of ingredients that will help you get started:
- Yellow: Turmeric, Carrots, Chamomile, Oranges
- Orange: Paprika, Yellow Onions
- Red/Pink: Beets, Cranberry Juice, Red Grapes
- Blue: Blueberries, Red Cabbage
- Brown: Coffee/Tea Grounds, Dill Seed
- Green: Red Onions, Yellow Apples
- Lavender: Grape Juice
You can find detailed instructions online at Better Homes & Gardens.
Composting Your Colored Eggs
Eggshells provide your compost with essential nutrients. They enrich the soil with calcium, which helps build strong plants. These nutrients will also help prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes, squash, peppers, and other fruiting vegetables. Eggshells help prevent slugs, snails, and other insects from getting into your garden and can also deter deer.
Be aware that dirty eggshells can attract unwanted pests and animals, so be sure to wash out your shells in warm water and leave them to dry before adding them to your compost bin. Doing so will also help to eliminate Salmonella bacteria from entering your garden. If desired, you can bake eggshells in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350-degrees to remove the bacteria; Although most bacteria are killed naturally at the temperatures reached during the composting process.
Crushing or grinding eggshells is not a requirement for your compost, but it does help speed up the composting process, as the smaller pieces will break down faster. Using a coffee grinder or blender works well to break up the pieces and spread them evenly throughout your compost.
Using natural dies can be a fun way to color your Easter eggs this year, as well as provide a nutrient boost to your compost and protection from unwanted guests. Even if you don’t dye your eggs, help minimize waste by recycling your eggshells and add all the nutrients they contain to your garden.