Grandma Jackie taught me a lot about gardening and I didn't even realize she was teaching me. She would have me take out and smash eggshells into her garden along with a slew of other compost. She would let me help plant seeds in the early Spring in her greenhouse and then help again to transplant them. She would let us come down and pick bouquets of flowers to take home and arrange for our bedrooms. I learned sooo many flower names from her because I was planting and cutting these flowers. She was letting me be around them and in so doing I developed a love for flowers and gardening.
Grandma would also give her speeches on how soil is NOT dirt. She would run her hands in her soil talking about how beautiful it was. I used to look at her as a child thinking she was crazy to call it beautiful. Now I dig my hands in commenting to my kids about how beautiful our garden soil is. I carefully try to protect it during the Winter with leaves mulching the top of it.
My mom also has taught and is still teaching me about gardening. She LOVES working outside and has beautiful gardens.
SOOO, secretly I am now teaching my kids. I make them take our eggshells out to the garden boxes to crush. Some crush them up better than others. They do need to be crushed very fine, this picture is NOT a good example of that. Eggshells add calcium to the soil. The calcium can be very beneficial to tomatoes because they help prevent blossom end rot. Calcium also helps for plant growth. Eggshells also deter slugs and cutworms. But once again make sure they are CRUSHED!
Coffee grounds are also wonderful to add in. They slowly release nitrogen into the soil. The smell also repels some pests. So when I'm thinking about it and walk into a grocery store with a Starbucks, I will ask if they have any grounds for gardening. They usually do and send me on my way with a bag. The grounds are so black and remind me of what pure compost looks like.
Compost of other fruits and vegetables are also another incredible source of minerals for the soil. You take a banana that grew in Ecuador and by composting and adding it to your garden here, you are literally putting in those minerals that it grew from in Ecuador. Every soil is different and the produce that grows from the various soils can add a little something to your own soil!
Throw in some free llama manure, chicken and other farm animal manure and you are on your way to beautiful soil!
What do you add to YOURs?