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Egg shells give you free calcium for your tomatoes

For all the tomato lovers out there, here’s a nifty little gardening tip. Tomatoes will be flowering soon. A critical mineral that tomatoes need to prevent blossom end rot is: calcium.

If the soil that the tomatoes are growing in has insufficient calcium, your tomatoes will likely develop blossom end rot. This looks like black fungus at the blossom end of the tomato, but the tomato is fully formed and a good size, too. Blossom end rot prevents tomatoes from ripening. So, you’ll have a pile of unappetizing green tomatoes, only suitable for cooking, minus the humour and wit of Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes.

Where do you find free calcium? In egg shells. We save up ours all year long from fried eggs, omelettes, quiches, and baking projects and toss them in a bucket in the garage. Be sure to rinse them with cold water first, to discourage insects from finding them (we have never had any problems). When it is time to add calcium to the soil, fill up your blender with crushed egg shells, add cold water to cover all the egg shells, and blend for a minute or two. We have found that the blender works much better than the food processor. The egg shells will be pulverized to the size of large granules of sand—a kind of eggshell ‘meal.’ Spread several ladlefuls of the crushed egg shells around the base of each tomato plant, work the eggshell meal into the soil, and water-in well. Only one application per growing season is needed.

If you don’t want to fuss with crushed egg shells, you can buy bone meal at your garden supply store for about $10 per box to give your tomatoes the needed calcium. We have been adding calcium to our tomatoes this way for years—and have wonderful tomatoes to enjoy in August and September. Calcium from egg shells is organic and free. It really is getting something for nothing.

#Vegetables #Fertilizing #OrganicGardening

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