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RogueRose
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Eggshells for BER?

I've been reading that this is a good way to combat BER. I have yet to get any BER but it's early. I had some BER last year. I've been saving my eggshells so I can side dress my tomatoes. I was reading that you save your shells, then put them in a ziplock back and "pulverize" them with a roller then side dress your tomatoes, but not necessarily an amount. Is this a good method? And how much?

PaulF
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

Sorry, eggshells side dressed around tomatoes will not reduce or eliminate BER. Blossom End Rot while caused by a plant's inability to move calcium into the fruit, is not caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. Most places there is plenty of calcium. There is a very long explanation of why this occurs, but in short, certain conditions make BER more probable. Most common is an uneven watering situation. Dry, followed by too wet, followed by dry in rapid succession. The other major factor is temperature swings cool followed by hot, etc. These conditions usually occur in the spring and early in the fruiting season. As conditions smooth out most of the time BER conditions go away.

All that said, if you have had a soil test done and your soil is truly calcium deficient, then calcium needs to be applied in a form more usable and in recommended amounts. Very rare. Some varieties of tomatoes are more prone to BER, but like stated it usually goes away in a short amount of time.

Egg shells are organic and will not harm anything, so if you want to put them into the soil, go right ahead, but don't expect them to help BER. BER goes away relatively quickly on its own and some people think because they added something or another to the soil that was the remedy. You could do a "go away BER dance" and in a week there would be no more BER. Was the dance the cure?
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Gary350
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

Get a $1.99 bag of cement mix at Lowe's or Home Depot it works great for BER.

I put a large hand full of cement in a 5 gallon bucket then fill it with water. Stir well then I pour 1 cup of water on each plant every day until BER is gone, about a week.

I wash the sand out of the bucket and put it in the melon patch.

imafan26
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

I read somewhere that eggshells can take a couple of years to break down, so it would not immediately increase the calcium in the soil. Also too much calcium can be a problem too. Cement will alkalinize the soil, not just add calcium. If that is what you want to do, I guess that works for you.

BER is mostly a problem of uneven watering and the inability of tomato plants experiencing drought stress to absorb calcium through the roots. Because calcium is mobile in the plants, it will steal calcium from the fruit so that the plant will have enough to survive.

I plant tomatoes mostly in bins. with peat lite and starter fertilizer. I will give my tomatoes about 2 cups total in an 18 gallon bin over the season. The instructions for the bin said to put 2 cups at planting in a strip, but I found that there was a lot of fertilizer left in the container at the end of the season when the bins were emptied. So now, I only use half a cup of fertilizer mixed in, not banded and supplement with smaller side dressings every month. It still took about two cups in an 18 gallon container, but the fertilizer is used more efficiently.
Tomatoes are really heavy feeders, but I do not give my tomatoes any dolomite as a supplement at all and I do not get BER. Tomatoes get watered daily, sometimes every other day. Cherry tomatoes don't really get BER and I have the larger tomatoes in self watering containers. I have never really had a problem with BER in any of the self watering containers.
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Dillbert
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

cement may have calcium in its chemical make up.
but it is not "lime"

and it does not do anything for or against BER.

I would strongly advise any lurkers to NOT fill up your garden soil with cement.

PaulF
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

In all the years there have been crazy remedies for BER, Gary350, yours is the first ever solution involving cement water. Congratulations! A new non-fix for BER. Like I said earlier about a week doing nothing and BER will usually go away. Even watering and temperature stabilization is the cure that really works. I would advise getting a soil test before anyone adds any strange chemicals to your soil. You could be doing more harm than good. Cement? Really?
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RogueRose
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

Cement-water is one I haven't heard before!

I was reading up on the egg-shells and someone did a test of boiling eggshells and they said that revealed such trace amounts of calcium that egg shells probably don't do much for the garden. NOW what am I supposed to do with all these eggshells I've collected?!

As for uneven watering - if I have anything to worry about in that department it's going to be OVERwatering. We've had so much ridiculous amounts of rain I am slightly worried of what my potatoes look like in the ground and the roots of other plants. I'm amazed things aren't rotting away at this point.

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applestar
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

Eggshells ground to powder are good for the earthworms, but if you break them into sharp bits, you can sprinkle them around plants you want to protect from slugs which will be exploding in population after all the rain. Then of course you can add them to the compst piles as well.

Not wasted effor at all to have saved eggshells. :wink:
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

I keep a "compost heap" bowl on the counter for veggie scraps/trim, etc. including egg shells - as in crack the egg into the waffle batter, toss the shell into the bowl.

the bowl gets dumped on the compost heap; come fall the compost gets spread about and tilled in.
and I've never seen any egg shells in the compost - so I'm thinking they break down pretty quick in a composting situation.

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Re: Eggshells for BER?

Be sure to read the Sticky on BER in the Tomatoes Forum; there is helpful information there, too.

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RogueRose
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

I don't have a compost heap :(

A compost bin is on my wishlist...there's only so much my landlords will let me do.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

In the meantime, you can make yourself a worm bin for turning your kitchen scraps in to nice worm castings for your garden. The first time I did a worm bin, I had it in our basement all winter and my partner never new it was there. :)
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TZ -OH6
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

You can use drywall mud or crushed up drywall, both are full of gypsum. It won't solve the problem 99% of the time, but you can use them.

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Meatburner
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

TZ -OH6 wrote:You can use drywall mud or crushed up drywall, both are full of gypsum. It won't solve the problem 99% of the time, but you can use them.
Then why do that if it doesn't work 99% of the time? Help me out here TZ.
Last edited by webmaster on Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

BER is one of those things that is very subject to superstitions based on the post hoc ergo propter hoc [after this therefore because of this] fallacy. As noted it is often self limiting. So people put gypsum or epsom salts or eggshells or cement! or whatever in their soil and voila the BER goes away. So clearly the whatever in the soil must have cured the BER, not paying attention to the fact that it would have gone away on its own.

But if it makes you feel better to be doing something, as long as the something you are doing is harmless....
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

I'm just throwing out another home remedy or two that have been posted on forums before. I find it funny that people will pay for tums tablets but won't go to a garden center and pay $3 for a 40lb bag of powdered or prilled limestone, or gypsum. If your local soil is deficient a local garden center will have the stuff. Limestone/garden lime is common even in areas with more or less normal soils. A bag of peatmoss mixed into the soil plus a little garden lime to buffer the pH and you are doing about as much as you can to help the soil retain water short of growing your own compost. By the time you see BER the damage is done for the season usually anyway so prepare to fight it for next year.


I have some pill-sized peices and some and powdered mammoth ivory (sawdust from a carver) that might grow me some really big BER free tomatoes. Its an old old method. :lol:

cuttingedge
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

For the last few years I have put a mashed up third of a banana (Skin and all) into the planting hole and have not suffered from BER.

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Gary350
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

I can not buy lime in Arizona so I tried cement pre mix with lime stone and it worked. Crazy thing you would think for soil with 8 ph lime would be the last thing it needs. I mixed about 1 cup of cement with 5 gallons of water. Stir well then wait until the next day. All the cement was at the bottom of the bucket. I used only the water on 4 of my 9 tomatoes plants. Blossom End Rot cleared up on the 4 plants getting cement water but BER did not clear up on the 5 plants not getting cement water. After watering the other 5 plants BER cleared up there too.

My melons and squash had BER too. After giving them cement water BER was gone a week later.

The cement I bought is a bag of pre mix with lime stone. Lime stone is tiny pieces about the size of corn or peas. Maybe the lime stone was enough to fix BER. There is probably lime stone dust in the cement from the crushed rock.

Online it says, cement is made from powered lime stone baked at 1450 °C in a kiln. Mix it with water a chemical reaction takes place and it converts back to its original form. I know cement can kill plants that is why I mixed it with water and did not use it for 24 hours.

I have put drywall mud and sheet rock in my garden too. It works for BER on tomatoes too but the tomatoes are gritty when you eat them. It is like the tomatoes is loaded with extremely fine sand.

Tennessee State University in Crossville had 6 years of research with sheet rock or gypsum in the garden. It is especially good for sweet potatoes. Do Google search and read about it. I will not put gypsum in my garden anymore I don't like gritty tomatoes.

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gixxerific
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

It all about uptake, my soil has med to high levels of calcium yet I still have a small bout every year.

dtizme
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

If you want fine crushed egg shells easiest way to do it is to let them sit out for 2 days or so, then once their dried out crush them with your hand. Learned that 1 on my own from composting. As opposed to just throwing the whole egg shell in the compost try that. it works great. same thing for putting them in the garden.

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gixxerific
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Re: Eggshells for BER?

Even watering is the only thing that prevents BER since we can't control the wild temp swings. You can add whatever you want till you are blue in the face. As Paul stated it is an environmental thing not so much a shortage in calcium.

Don't believe me than get a soil test. I have a short run with BER every year. I have an over abundant supply of calcium in my gardens.

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