crushed eggshells and coffee grinds?

fostina1(7)June 2, 2008

my mother in law crushes about a dozen eggshells everyweek and mixes with used coffee grounds and sprinkles over everything in her garden. i thought i read somewhere that this would take away from the garden at first to break it down. she also puts banana peels around her rose bushes, (huge and beautiful so it must work) and she uses diluted spoiled milk to water her house plants. is she crazy like most in-laws or should i be doing this too? lol

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holly-2006

If she ever mentions burying a fish under a tomato plant, have her committed.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:18AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Half century ago you MIL might have crushed the egg shells and put them in the coffee before brewing. Don't know why they did that - people who couldn't even write ''acid" said it had something to do with acid.

Anyway, then, after brewing she would put the egg shells and coffee grounds on the ornamentals or dump them in the bucket of scraps for pig food.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:46AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

If she is crazy, then so am I. I feed my roses banana peels and the rotten bananas and they love it. Also give them cornmeal (helps with blackspot), alfaltha and epsoma salt and they reward me with lots of growth and blooms.

I use coffee grounds over my whole garden...as many as I can get. Not many eggshells...have cut back on consumption but these do get crushed and put on the top of the soil to deter slugs and snails.

Not all mother-in-laws are crazy...I know...I am one LOL!
Peggy

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:47AM
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fostina1(7)

interesting. i go through about a dozen eggs a week and about a dozen pots of coffee. maybe i should start saving this stuff lol.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:05AM
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veggieholic(5)

This is not crazy at all! This is just an organic way of feeding your plants. The eggshells will take away nitrogen from your plants temporarily IF you bury them with the roots, otherwise they will break down on top of the soil away from where your plants feed. Coffee is a quick release nitrogen so it will not take away, but regardless both of these things should be used in thin layers on top of the soil. The very best thing is to compost them first along with all your yard waste and vegetable kitchen scraps and then mix that in with the dirt before planting. Composted waste will not take anything away from your soil but will improve your soil structure and add all kinds of nutrients and attract beneficial earthworms. Before we had access to chemical fertilizers, this is how plants grew! It's much healthier for your soil and for the planet than adding chemicals, and it's 100% renewable.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:09AM
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fostina1(7)

ohh and at first she did have fish scraps (heads guts ect..) spread between the rows, thats when i mentioned that i read it would take away from the plants to break it down, and she took it out. but she is insistant on the eggshells and coffee.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:09AM
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di_h

would the same work with tea? We drink tea not coffee (I hate the stuff)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:52PM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

Egg shells deter slugs. Coffee grounds are loved by earthworms. Banana peels contain potassium.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:24PM
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happyday(WI4a)

My neighbor put fishheads under cukes last year, and you should have seen those fat juicy cukes.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:30PM
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chudak(10 San Diego)

both eggshells and coffee grounds go in my compost pile so I see nothing wrong with adding them directly to your plants.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:33PM
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kay____h(5a)

What does that mean, that it will "take away from the plants?" Take what away? All the things mentioned, in fact all food scraps, ADD to the nutrients in the soil. And the soil does not work to break it down....worms and freindly nematodes do it for us. And the plants benefit.

What she is doing is called sheet composting and it is an old, old, old method of feeding the soil.

Having a truly crazy MIL myself, I feel for you, but nonetheless, I must say, your MIL is right. Kay.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:15PM
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justaguy2(5)

Eggshells primarily add calcium to the soil and most veggies need lots of calcium. It is a building material for plant tissue/cells.

Coffee grounds add some nitrogen, which plants generally need more than anything else and in an alkaline soil it might acidify the water slightly which can help with nutrient availability while not acidifying the soil permanently.

Bananas primarily add potassium which many veggies use almost as much of as nitrogen. It helps with heat stress and regulation of water loss via the leaves among other important plant functions.

You MIL may or may not know what she is doing from a scientific perspective. Many gardeners do things they observe work and don't have the first clue what is actually going on, they just see that the results are favorable so keep doing it. Either way she isn't crazy.

Burying a fish with a plant isn't crazy either. Good nutrition for plants as it is decomposed.

The very idea of composting is simply to let a bunch of stuff rot and then add it to the growing soil, but there are many raw ingredients that can be very valuable added directly to the growing soil so none of their nutrients are leached away in the composting process.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:32PM
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sffog(10/SanFran)

i must be crazy too, coffee grounds, eggshells , banana peels or over ripe bananas, all to my plants in the garden. no fish parts but i use fish emulsion(smells like rotting fish) every month, my plants are doing great , i am another mil.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:51PM
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bulldogges(6/7 - Southeastern PA)

Two things.

One, I notice that no one has touched the watering with spoiled milk part.

Two, putting eggshells is you coffee is normal, so long as you do not have a drip coffe machine - in an old percolator, the egg sheels make the coffe settle to the bottom for some reason.

I know ,completely off topic, but that is the only thing i can contribute to this post :)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:02PM
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happyday(WI4a)

One, milk has calcium too and when sprayed on the foliage, combats several plant viruses.

Two, I've heard that about eggshells making the grounds settle and neutralizing some of the coffee acids, and also, I once hard-boiled some eggs in a pot stained with hard water minerals and when I washed the pot, the minerals came right off. Worked better than the stuff they sell for removing hard water stains.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:37PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

The old timers (even older than I) used to make large pots of coffee by throwing the coffee grounds in the pot and then adding an egg at the end to get the grounds to settle and contain them. I AM pretty sure it was the whole egg, but it is a long time ago.
JMO,
Tom

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:23AM
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mike1970(5B)

I put all those things in my worm composting bin and the little wigglers just love them. They actually get a little buzzed from the coffee grounds and tea bags. I try to crush the egg shells, since they sometimes make it through the composting intact. Then I start my seeds in a 50-50 mix of worm compost and potting mix. And then when the seedlings go into the garden they get a big scoop of compost in the planting hole. My tomato plants just love it!

Mike

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:35AM
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alfie_md6

I water the container plants (when they're outside) with spoiled milk, undrunk milk, undrunk coffee milk, milk jug rinsings, and yogurt container rinsings. Also noodle cooking water, vegetable cooking water, bean soaking water, and vegetable can rinsings. Nothing bad has happened yet, as far as I know.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:45AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

The fish parts would not take anything away from the plants. They would add lots of needed nutrients. Tell your mother-in-law to go ahead and use the fish...I wish I had access to some!

You need to visit the Soil and Compost forum and learn what is true and what is fiction. Many people blend their scraps and add to their gardens around the plants. The plants love these 'shakes'.

Current generations believe chemical fertilizers are the only ones that will feed your garden...not true...our forefathers knew how to feed their crops long before there were chemical fertilizers and our Earth was much healthier then. The chemical fertilizers run off and contaminate our ground water and lakes; for that reason I do not use any chemical fertilizers.

I'm hoping to leave behind a healthier Earth than what I found when I began to garden. My neighbor sprays daily and he over fertilized his garden last year with chemicals and killed it very early in the season. He laughs at me for what I use but I had tomatoes until the frost got them. He asked my husband what I used for fertilizer because I had vines that were 14 feet long...hubby told him I did not use fertilizers, that all I used was coffee grounds/tea leaves, alfaltha, and cornmeal. He pooh-poohed and said that would not make them grow that much and produce so long.

This neighbor has killed some of my plants spraying right at my fence and the stuff carrying on the wind. I use Roundup on Bermuda grass...nothing else.

Peggy

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:22AM
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captaindave

Interesting read. Eggs shells can and do help your soil and tomato growth.

As with the fish parts added to the soil, well I had some freezer burned salmon that was not going to be cooked and eaten and so I though why not put a couple of pieces of that salmon under my tomato plants when I plant them this year. I dug my holes like usual and put a couple of pieces of the salmon in, a little dirt on top of the salmon and then my composted dirt to fill the hole. Then I always open a hole in that filled in hole and lay my plants on their side with some of the stem and leaves to be covered.

Everything looked really good with all 10 plants. The next morning all ten plants had been distroyed. Every one of them had been dug up and guess what, the salmon pieces were all gone. I had an idea what happened and so after replanting what was left, I set our "have-a- heart trap" with a piece of that salmon. Sure enough, the next morning we had us a cacoon which we moved to another location! needless to say, I have not put salmon under our plants again.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:47AM
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