Walking on Eggshells

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Let’s chat a little about reducing waste and building soil.  These things are so very important!  We began going green here several years ago when we started recycling.  We began with mixed recyclables, and then a year or two after that I started keeping a box for paper recycling.  We were truly amazed at how much those two things cut down on our trash.  It was a wonderful feeling knowing I had cut our contribution to the landfill by about half.  It always made me sad seeing bag after bag and box after box of garbage after Christmas morning, so this year I made the decision to go through all of the wrapping and packaging and separate the paper as well as the recyclable plastic.  I was thrilled to find we were left with only half a bag of actual trash after this.  I’m happier when I’m doing my best for my children and our beautiful planet.

Two years ago we bought a compost bin.  (This one actually: Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler, Black, 80-Gallon)  Once again our trash can filled even more slowly, and you just can’t beat free compost for your garden.  It always seemed like such a complicated thing that I didn’t think we could keep up with, but it’s really not a big deal at all.  When it is time to empty our bin next month, we’ll go through some steps to making great compost.

If you have a garden I hope you are not throwing away your eggshells. Please tell me you’re not!  If you are, start saving them now!  When we started out we were throwing our eggshells into the compost.  I knew they were good for it and would add lots of awesome calcium to the soil eventually.  I then read more and more about ways to use eggshells more directly, so I began to rinse them out and place them back in the carton.  When we use the whole dozen, I bake them to dry them out and kill any bacteria.  You can either bake them on your lowest oven temperature for a couple of hours or pop them in the oven after baking something and let it sit in there as the oven cools.  Once they’ve cooled, grind those bad boys up.  You can just crush them into small pieces but it will take quite a while for them to break down and really be beneficial to your plants.  I bought a mortar and pestle and set the kids to work.

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It occupies them for a while, and they get to work on their arm muscles.  😉

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When they are very fine to powder texture we dump them into a storage container.

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I do a few different things with these now.  When I put my tomato plants in the ground at the beginning of the season I have a whole “cocktail” I add to the dug hole before adding the plant.  They get some Epsom Salt, an aspirin, rock dust, organic fertilizer (Fish emulsion or worm castings are wonderful) and a scoop of the ground eggshells.  If you have ever had a problem with blossom end rot, adding ground eggshells or bone meal at the time of planting, before your little tomato plants are even thinking about fruiting, is a wonderful preventative.  I also add them to the areas where I plant my squash and zucchinis since I’ve had trouble with blossom end rot with them as well.

Ground eggshells also help to ward off slugs.  I don’t know about your garden, but mine is a slug magnet in the spring, so I need all the help I can get protecting the plants.  I make a ring around the ground at the base of the little plants with the ground shells and, for the most part, the slugs won’t cross the shells because sharp edges cut their soft bodies.  It’s not perfect, but it is a HUGE help.

Since the pictures of eggshells aren’t overly exciting, I thought I’d add a few that I took this week of a couple of our dragonflies.  We have TONS of these guys flying around the yard lately and the kids and I just love them.

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Sometimes they sit and pose for me for as long as I would like, but this week they were a little too busy and kept flying off after a few seconds.

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I love the blue ones.

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My daughter looked at this and asked if the patterns on dragonfly wings are all different, like fingerprints.  I LOVE when my kids come up with really awesome questions.  🙂  Of course, it also ruins the mom knows everything card.  😀

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I am amazed by their eyes.  It’s probably the photographer in me obsessing over eyes, but W.O.W.!!!

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Summer is going way too fast!  I hope you are enjoying every second of yours!!!

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