Part of being self-sufficient is getting the absolute most use out of the things we already have. In this post, I’m going to give you a few examples of how you can take some of the things eating up space in and around your home and put them to work producing food for you in your garden.
Even if you don’t have your own chickens, you can use the shells from eggs that you have purchased to feed your garden in more ways than one. First, you can use them to start garden seeds!
To use egg shells as seed starters, I carefully break the shell as near the top as I can when using the eggs to cook with. Once the shell is empty, I rinse it out well under running water and use my finger tip to remove the last bits of the white inside, which feels slippery to the touch.
Once the shells are rinsed and ready to fill, I spoon seed starting mix into the empty shell and plant my seeds. While some do, I do not try to poke a drain hole in the bottom of the empty shells, I just water them with a spray bottle which keeps them from becoming so wet they need to drain in the first place.
When the seedlings are large enough to transplant, plant the entire thing, egg shell and all! I don’t know that it’s necessary, but I always give the shell a little bit of a squeeze just before planting, which breaks the shell up a bit around the root ball.
Another use for the shells is to crush or grind them up after rinsing and drying. When I grind them, I add about a tablespoon of the powder to the planting holes of transplants like tomatoes and peppers to prevent Blossom-End Rot.
Likewise, crushed shell can be steeped in boiling water overnight, with a splash of apple cider vinegar, and used as a liquid calcium supplement in the garden, or the crushed shells can be spread around the base of plants where their sharp edges will help keep soft-bodied pests like slugs away.
Newspapers and non-glossy junk mail
Newspaper has many, many gardening uses. It is an excellent carbon addition to the compost pile, can be layered and watered down to form an effective and decomposable weed barrier, and can be used to make various types of super simple seed starting cups!
Milk, juice, and other plastic containers
Plastic containers, depending on their size and shape, can be made into various types of mini greenhouses, scoops, watering containers, and of course seed starting containers.
Toilet Paper/Paper Towel rolls
With a family of seven, we end up with quite a few of these each week, so we’re always finding new ways to use them. Try making seed starting cups with them!