Oyster shells for garden or compost?

tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)June 6, 2009

hello everyone,

we are bbqing a bunch of oysters today for a party and I was wondering if i should save the shells for use in my vegetable garden.

I know in the past, my dad would bury the shells with plants and trees but he doesn't have the greenest thumb so i thought I would try to get advice here.

should i compost them? save them for next year and plant them in holes dug out for fruit trees or vegetable garden.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

It seems to me that you would want to pulverize your shells prior to introducing them into the garden. I don't think they'll break down very easily on their own.

Maybe you could let the kids (if you have invited any) whack the shells with a hammer.

Here is a link that might be useful: oyster shell

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 1:32PM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

As is they could go in the garden path, it would be a Williamsburg garden. I'd crush 'em for the garden. If you are going to plant fruit trees next year the planting holes might be a good place for them w/ out the work of crushing them.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 4:31PM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 4:32PM
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I just bought some after reading they are a good snail and slug repellent. I think the critters are cut by the sharp edges. I'm going to encircle a plant or two and see what happens.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:32AM
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You could compost them, although it is unlikely they will be digested by the time you apply the compost to your soil, or you could put them directly on your garden. Eventually they will add some Calcium to the soil, but that would be several years from now. If crushed fairly finely they could be a deterent to slugs and snails, as well as earthworms.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 6:47AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

I'd smash or crush them to bits and add them to the compost. In fact, I have a little stack of them next to my compost pile waiting to be smashed.

They'll release nutrients over time (especially calcium) and will improve the aeration of your pile and the tilth of the soil.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 2:22AM
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