[NAFEX] What is inadequacy in typical compost?

Jim Notkey nottke1 at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 15 15:02:43 EST 2005

Here in the piedmont of North Carolina, whether it is the warmer weather or
the red clay or the acid rain, our eggshells disappear in just a couple
months, whether I toss them in the compost or anywhere else in the yard.

> [Original Message]
> From: Jim Fruth <jfruth at uslink.net>
> To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: 3/15/2005 9:26:19 AM
> Subject: [NAFEX] What is inadequacy in typical compost?
>     I keep hearing folks suggesting that eggs shells be added to compost
> because they contain calcium.  While that is true, perhaps 99%, or more,
> that calcium is not available to plants.  The reason being that neither
> plants nor soil bacteria can take up crushed shells.  To be immediately
> available, the shells must be reduced to the equivalent of dust.
>     One section of my orchard used to be a garden whose owner added
> egg shells thinking he was adding calcium.  A scoopful of the dirt yields
> hundreds or thousands of eggshell pieces and I wouldn't be surprised if
> of them will still be visible a thousand years from now.
>     So, am I suggesting that folks stop adding eggshells to their compost?
> No.  Even if eggshell pieces are not available to plants, perhaps soil
> bacteria can break them down one molecule at a time.  But, if you want
> compost to get the benefit of the calcium contained in the eggshells,
> your eggshells just as absolutely fine as you can possibly crush them.
> Jim Fruth
> Pequot Lakes, MN  

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