oyster shells

shari1332(z7NC)February 5, 2006

Anyone have any ideas on how I could use a bushel of uncrushed oyster shells?

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Claire Pickett

Shari, I use all sorts of shells I pick up at the beaches each year on my garden walkways that were originally made up of strictly little white stones. I also throw shards of broken plates and cups, terra cotta pots, colored glass beads and anything else to add a touch of interest.
Visiting children love to hunt for treasures on the garden paths. I never bemoan the loss of a ceramic item now, b/c it just becomes part of the outside rooms.

Be aware that the calcium from these shells will change your pH when you throw them into the mix.

claire in sanford

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 7:58PM
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What a find! Along the Gulf, they are used whole for paths and even rural roads - they tend not to wander off the path as much as round pebbles do. Historically they were crushed slightly, mixed with mortar and used for hardscape and outbuidings - called "tabby" I think - along coast of SC and MS that I know of.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 11:13AM
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They sound great to walk on! Another musical sounding pathway is broken shards of clay pots, just be sure to knock off any sharp points and try to keep them facing downward so that the hollow parts face the ground (it makes the sound even louder). I have seen garden shows where folks that grew up on the coast but now live far from the shore actually pay someone to haul a dumptruck load of oyster shells just so their garden pathways remind them of their childhoods.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:10PM
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I would love to have something other then native rocks, clay, and roofing shingles to walk on - maybe I need a trip to the beach! Anyone know if there are places at the beach where I could glom onto some for "recycling"?

Just imagine what the acheologists a thousand years from now would think - "Hmm, these shells so far from the ocean they must have some religious significance, perhaps a sacrifice to the sea gods?"

Nancy the nancedar

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 5:35PM
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Tammy Kennedy

nan, i'd guess if you went to one of the seafood places around here that sold oysters they'd be happy to give you some. 42nd street oyster bar and sunny side too pop to mind- maybe there's something closer to you? or the seafood rest at the farmmarket. tam

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 8:31PM
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My boyfriend loves steamed oysters. He has a tendency to go overboard with things so he ordered a whole bushel for us to steam. We did them all Sat night and froze what we couldn't eat. Now that we have the big steamer pot(to use w/the turkey fryer base outside) we'll probably do it more often. I can find a spot to put these until I can collect enough for a proper path. I don't have any paths now- hardscaping is not my strong point.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 9:35PM
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Well scratch that. Upon mentioning the path idea I was vehemently vetoed with threat to "get rid of those things" tomorrow.

So... who wants them?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 9:57PM
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I'll take them gladly. How far are you from Durham/Hillsborough area? Are they nice and smelly yet? Mmmmmmm, memories of growing up in NoLa.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 8:41AM
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Brenda, I'm in Selma. I will be going to the PDN open house in a couple of weekends. Haven't checked to see if they're smelly yet. We just put them back in the burlap sack they came in. Hopefully the cooler weather will keep them from getting too bad.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:12PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

too bad about the shell-path veto, shari. i'd be one to secret the bag to the back forty & continue collecting - anticipating the day a path is done, and the look of pleasant surprise on the doubter's face :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:26AM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

i buy crushed oyster shells (for my chickens) at southern states. i have no idea how much a bag costs, it all goes on the feed tab. anyway, i can definitely see these crushed shells being used for paths - they "stay put" extremely well. i can see every place i've put a scoop of shells on the ground in the chicken area for the last year ... what hasn't been consumed, is still in the same spot. they'd make a fantastic base layer for john's broken terra cotta idea, or under a seashell path like claire's.

i am so glad shari steamed oysters - i've some important paths to "pave" and shari's shells have gotten my creative juices flowing :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:49AM
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Marsha - GREAT SOURCE! Never thought of So. States as being a place to look for path material! We just have to think beyond the advertised use of things to find treasures - hark the '70's reclaim, reuse, recycle theme. Now, I wonder, Brenda, could those unbroken shells of Shari's go through a shredder to be broken up????

I'm really near the Shucker's seafood place on US1 and I'm gonna hot foot it down there on Monday to see what I can recycle for them. My borrowed cats will probably go airborne with the smell.

Nancy the nancedar

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 8:04PM
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Back in my Southern Documentary studies days, I took a bunch of photos of a small graveyard in a NC coastal community. The graves were mounded with oyster shells in a thoughtful, attractive pattern, very striking.

Not that there are graves in your garden, but you could use that bushel of shells to enhance a planting, using the shells as mosaic tiles. They look great lined up in a radiating circular pattern.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 8:30PM
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We drove to the coast for the weekend and happened upon a little asphalt drive in Southport sparsely (maybe on 12" centers) mosaic-ed with oyster shells, mother-of-pearl sides up. Turned a nothing asphalt lane into a charmer.

Not sure they wouldn't hurt your shredder, Nancy, those puppies are thick. From my experience, it seems like they almost break up by themselves over a couple of years into smallish pieces, with sunshine and foot-traffic.
Shari, I'll pick them up from you at pdn if you still have them by then.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 7:02AM
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Shari, Would you like one of the baby Prunes mume seedlings?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 7:05AM
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Phylla, thanks for the idea. It got me thinking. I can use them like I do small rocks to mark where dormant plants are in the garden. Just in time for doing more tidying up in the beds.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 7:09AM
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