How About Composting Sea Shells?

bogey123April 20, 2007

I purchased a few bags of compost to top dress my rose garden with and the stuff had bits of sea shells in it. The product is called "Coast of Maine".

I would think it would take a long time to break them down in a pile but was curious to know if anyone had a view on this.

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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

In a hot pile, they can be composted. Of course, crushing first helps. They may act as a slow liming agent if pieces remain intact- taking quite a long time to work.

I have composted heavy clam shells, lobster shells, steamahs, shrimp shells, and a variety of other bivalves and oceanic insects. Heavy clam shells take longest, lobster, crab, and shrimp shells disintegrate quickly.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 4:34PM
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bogey123

I was at the garden center today and saw that they had bags of lobster compost which contained quantities of lobster shells amongst other things.

In the bag of compost I mentioned earlier the shells were all broken up.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 5:04PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Mussels and oysters stay around a long time. But I think they're quite decorative around the garden.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 5:09PM
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kandm(8b coastal alabama)

Whenever I go to a local oyster bar I always ask for extra shells they have laying around. I usually get about 5 take out boxes packed full. I go home, boil, bleach soak, rinse and decorate the garden!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 6:29PM
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tclynx

I would not go to extra effort to add lots of shells to my home compost bin but I'm sure that compost comming from a facility that takes the waste off of a seafood processing would have lots of shells in it. Not a bad thing especially if you need some extra calcium or lime in your garden anyway.

Some kinds of shells will definitely take a long time to compost since they are not so much organic anymore but mineralized and instead of composting, they are really just slowly dissolving.

Here is a link that might be useful: My compost

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 10:00PM
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annpatt

Lots of things take a long time to decompose, but so what? You've got an eternity to make compost. I have tons of shells in my garden that came with my seaweed. If their whiteness offends me, and sometimes it does, I toss a trowel full of soil over them.

Lobster shells, though, get a bad rap. They do not take as long to break down as people suppose they might.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 8:28AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

What I've found is that if they're right in the pile, crab shells don't take long (a couple seasons) to become crumbly, lobster shells next, oyster shells a long time after, and mussel shells are better for decorating the beds.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 1:25PM
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