pointer80
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Adding egg shells to compost pile?

Hello everyone, I have a question about adding egg shells to my compost pile. I have seen where a lot of people heat up there egg shells before putting them into their compost pile to kill bacteria, I have not been doing this with mine. I only have a few egg shells from our kitchen right now that I add to the pile. Should I be concerned about adding them "raw" to the pile? Thanks all.

PaulF
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

Any organics added to compost will be OK. The natural heat produced in decomposition will take care of most of the harmful bacteria, but there is a chance of eggshells having salmonella, so heating the shells in the oven for a while will be sure to kill salmonella.
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imafan26
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

Realize too that the calcium in the eggshells take a long time to break down. You would actually get more available calcium from chicken manure.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

Compost is teeming with billions of bacteria in every tablespoon, and some of them are not particularly healthy to humans. That's why we don't eat the compost, or dirt for that matter. Aside from the obvious reason - yuck!

Your compost may not be hot, but it's not the heat that gets rid of human pathogens, it's the aerobic environment. Many of them, such as e coli and most likely salmonella, don't live outside the body very long. They like warm anaerobic conditions - inside a living creature. That's why we can compost manure and after a few months the e coli are gone.

I would not bother trying to sterilize anything you put in.

Eggs shells are best crushed in your hand so that when the inner membrane decays away, you have small chips of shell instead of big pieces. That way you won't see them as much in the final product.

If your soil pH is already neutral or above, you may want to think twice about adding a lot of eggshells.
Tox

Ksk
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

I wash the shells and get the membrane off. When they are dry I spin a bunch in the blender and then add them to compost. It breaks down faster this way.

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ID jit
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

Apparently this is something else I am doing wrong, I just put in the 2 halves of the shells, unwashed, unsterilized, uneverythinged in with the coffee grounds and everything else from the kitchen. No real issues yet.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

Yup all I do is crunch them up a little in my hands,
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applestar
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

I used boiled eggshells in the vermicomposter, and if I have to, bake raw eggshells in the oven. For outside compost piles and bins, I just drop the two raw halves in the kitchen compostables collection. They might get crushed in the process of dumping in the bin/pile. If they happened to roll out on the ground or are within reach of my compost/manure fork, then I might step on them or attempt to hit them, but that's about it.

Outside, the open piles might be pooped on by birds and critters, slugs and snails (salmonella, right?) as well as all kinds of Arthropods are crawling around, any kind of germs/bacteria/fungi might blow in. I don't worry about it.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Adding egg shells to compost pile?

As far as available calcium, I'll give you my experience. I started with heavy clay soil derived from limestone so Ca was probably fairly high to begin with. I don't remember my soil test results from 1995. But after all those years of adding compost, including my hand-crushed eggshells, and (comparatively) very little manure, in 2013 my soil tested Very High in soluble calcium, just short of excessive. The pH was 6.8 so there is no need to add lime anyway, so I've sopped putting eggshells in the compost entirely. Your mileage may vary of course, and this is why it's good to have a soil test. Whether you're starting out with unknown soil or obviously poor soil, or whether you've been amending for years and don't know where you're at.
Tox

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