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How About Composting Sea Shells?

Posted by bogey123 (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 20, 07 at 16:29

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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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

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.


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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

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.


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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

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


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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

  • Posted by kandm 8b gulf coast (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 26, 08 at 18:29

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!


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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

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


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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

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.


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RE: How About Composting Sea Shells?

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 27, 08 at 13:25

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.


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