Adding Calcium to Your Garden

Calcium is an essential nutrient for a healthy garden.  If your soil is lacking in calcium your plants will not be able to transport other soil minerals to the leaves and fruit.  Obviously, this could lead to a variety of health issues for your plants including blossom end rot.  Having to purchase fertilizers can be avoided by adding natural sources of calcium to your garden soil and compost that you might already have, and might even otherwise be throwing away.

 

Eggshells

Eggshells are a great source of calcium for your garden that most of us already have.  The calcium in the eggshells will not immediately be plant available, so you can just add the shells to your compost bin, giving them the time to be consumed and broken down without any effort you’re your part.  But if you want to speed the process along a little you can rinse and dry your eggshells and then put them in a blender until they are a fine powder.  This can be added directly to the garden beds.

Bones

Bones will provide a great long-term source of calcium for your soil.  Dry them out in your oven or in the sun, then put them in several paper bags.  Squeeze and twist the bags so that all the bones are confined to one small area.  Then using a 3lbs mini-sledge, smash the bones until they are as small as you can get them.  Because these pieces will not be as small as your powdered eggshells and might attract scavengers like raccoons at first, they would be better put in your compost.

Add Vinegar

The thought of using vinegar in the garden might cause alarm, but vinegar could actually help you deliver calcium to plants in need.  How?  Well like I just said above, the calcium in bones and eggshells will require time to break down in order to become plant available.  This means that if you have plants that are already suffering from a deficiency they will not be helped by simply adding crushed eggshells to the soil.  But, if you mix those crushed or powdered eggshells with an equal amount of vinegar, shake or stir, and let it sit for about an hour, the vinegar will chemically react with the eggshells and will both extract the calcium and neutralize the acid in the vinegar making it harmless for your plants.

 

All of these items are probably in your house right now, so there is no need to go spend money at the store buying fertilizers, limestone, or gypsum to increase the calcium in your soil.  Save yourself some money and help your plants today with these easy tips.

 

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