making water soluble calcium w/ egg shells & vinegar...

ameera(z11 Dubai)February 28, 2012

I have some egg shells roasted and ready to dissolve them with vinegar to make a water soluble calcium for my tomato plant (that is singular... I sadly only was able to get one tomato plant to grow successfully this season- it is too late to try again until September/October... )

Does anyone know the shelf life of this calcium concentrate once it is made? I don't want to make it too early if it doesn't store well.

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I have never heard of this before but I use vinigar to KILL weeds. Works quite well.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:31PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Yeah, I dont think thats a good idea either. Someone please tell us why ?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 12:18AM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

It is discussed in this thread:

It's a long thread so here are a couple of the replies (I am using the start keys instead of quotes because I am typing this on my cell phone and for some reason the quotation marks turn to apostraphes.also, I tried to space the quotes with plenty of space in between but when I hit preview all the spaces I made are not there):

******** ******** ******** ********
Maybe try the 'recipe' for a bionutrient brew for calcium phosphate. Simplified:

1. Roast/toast eggshells.
2. Soak roasted eggshells in equal volume of vinegar for two weeks until the vinegar dissolves the eggshells.
3. Dilute 1:20 parts water and spray on plants or water into plants.
4. Note below that this is best used during a specific period in the plants growth, just before flowering/fruiting.

This is from the BIM piece posted on an earlier thread:

'Calcium Phosphate

A lot of agriculture advisers have used calcium phosphate for better plant growth, health, pest and disease controls. Natural farmers use this very specific bionutrient. Under the theory of Nutrioperiodism developed by a Japanese horticulturist, Yasushi Inoue in the 1930�s, plants and animals need a very specific nutrient relative to the stage of their development. In the plant, there is the essential vegetative growth , changeover and the reproductive periods. In animals, like humans, there is the infantile, juvenile and adulthood. It is not only critical to provide the right nutrient at the right stage of the development, but also critical to use or apply specific nutrient of calcium phosphate in the juvenile or changeover period. For the plant, for example, we know that nitrogen is critical on the vegetative stage as potassium is critical in the flowering and fruiting stages. It is however, the changeover period that is most critical that will determine the quality of the final reproductive stage. At this stage, an additional nutrient is badly needed by the plant. And this is calcium phosphate. Calcium phosphate is good for plants� 'morning sickness'. It is the stage that additional baby needs to be fed or the process where flower/fruit is about to come. Ash made from soybean stems are excellent for this purpose.

Here is a simple, natural method of generating calcium phosphate. Get eggshells and roast them enough to generate some good ashes. Afterwhich, dip these roasted eggshells on about equal visual volume of vinegar. Allow it to sit for a couple of weeks until eggshells are practically broken down by the vinegar acids. You may use this diluted 20 parts water and can be sprayed or watered to the plants during the changeover period.

When this is applied to that changeover period, it will improve plant health and productivity. The use of calcium phosphate is important to natural farmers. This however, does not mean that we shall forget the nutrient timing application of other critical nutrients for plant growth both macro and micro nutrients, given at the right stages and combinations.

We consider this very important bionutrient needed by the plants used by natural farmers.***

And some comments and replies about the ph of it:

******** ******** ******** ********
I'd love to try the 'recipe' above to dissolve my eggshells quickly and water them into the soil.

I am a bit wary of adding vinegar to the soil, even diluted.

Is it possible I could add something to the eggshell water after the shells have dissolved like baking soda in order to bring the pH closer to neutral? If so, are there any chemistry people out there who could tell me a ratio of vinegar to baking soda? ***

******** ******** ******** ******** Hamiltongardener...
After bopping around the net this morning, I'm going out on a limb to suggest that the pH might be sort of neutral. I don't have any litmus paper to test my current little experiment here but here's what I found out:

The vinegar is acidic, the egg shell is alkaline. When the eggshell dissolves in the acid (I think you need more than 1 tsp--perhaps enough to cover your crushed eggshells) you are left with something called calcium acetate. (Free calcium ions floating around in the vinegar.) If left exposed to the air it will form crystals.***

******** ******** ******** ********

Thanks Penny,

I think you might be right. I put a little vinegar in a container with my eggshells and they started dissolving for about a day. I've left it since Monday but there has been no further dissolving that I have been able to see. So tonight, I drained the vinegar off the eggshells and carefully mixed a little baking soda into it. Nothing, not even fizz. So I mixed a little more. Still nothing. The vinegar was cloudy and full of eggshell powder, I could see teeny tiny bits of the brown eggshells still.

I'm guessing that the eggshells did bring the vinegar to neutral and once it reached that state, the vinegar was not acid enough to keep dissolving the eggshells, and that's why baking soda would not even get it to bubble. Think I'm right?

I took that little bit of vinegar, mixed it with a full watering can of water, and put it on one of my garden beds. I've added more vinegar to the eggshells that were left over. They are now happily bubbling away and dissolving right before my eyes with the fresh vinegar.***

Here is a link that might be useful: discussion of uses of egg shells

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 7:41AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Since the whole thing is a total waste of time and energy and has no benefit for the plant - as is well documented and as many folks point out in that long discussion - I wouldn't worry about what the shelf life of the mix is.

But if you want to waste the energy and need to know how long it will store then likely the only person who can answer the question is the guy who originally posted the recipe/instructions.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 9:15AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

At least the link gave me my first few giggles of the day.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 10:33AM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

I didn't see negative comments about the calcium liquid that is made other than concerns that the vinegar is to acidic...

A lot of the negative comments were about putting egg shells in compost or mixed in with soil and them still being intact a year later...

I wonder if I should even be worried about calcium?

I have been using a pelletised slow-release fertilizer that has calcium in it... but even on the company website they advise to also use their water soluble fertilizer as well, which they do not sell here.

Would fish fertilizer, which is the only organic water soluble fertilizer I have seen here in Dubai (they sell it st the fish market), have calcium in it?

I am also using a water soluble seaweed fertilizer and also bat guano (the bat guano's npk is 3-10-1)

Does that all seem to be enough fertilizing?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:26AM
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I think you grow in containers? Most add Dolomite Lime, can you get there where you live?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:45AM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

I think that you might be obsessing a bit too much over the calcium.

Do you have indications that your soil lacks fertility? I don't think any of us have gardened in Dubai before, so we know nothing about the soil structure, composition, or fertility.

What was growing in your garden before you decided to grow veggies in it?

Bat guano usually has significant calcium in it, so it is likely that a little bit of guano will have you covered.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:54AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The point of the alternative comments was that using egg shells - in any form - as a source of calcium for plants is a waste of time. Not only does the calcium takes years to become available but it is in a form that is not usable by plants and requires extensive activity by a well develop soil micro herd to be of any benefit.

This has been discussed here often as it is an old wives tale with no basis in science. Yet some continue to claim that it cures everything from A to Z. At best, egg shells added to the compost work ok as a slug deterrent.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:09PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

Diverging on an eggshell tangent here...

I crush my eggshells with mortar and pestle. From there, they are divided between three uses:

1. Mixed with the chicken feed
2. Mixed into the homemade bird suet
3. Mixed into the wheat bran & dehydrated milk for the mealworm bedding.

Mealworms are fed to the chickens, and the waste from the mealworm process goes into the vermiculture operation.

Vermicompost goes back to the garden.

Chicken poop (after composting) goes back to the garden.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:56PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

I was worried about calcium because last season when I had my first successful tomatoes growing, over half of the bigger red variety (homestead 24) suffered BER...
but last year I didn't have the seaweed or bat guano fertilizers.

Oh,I forgot to add, I also have Sea bird guano as well that I can add to fertilize.

as for the myth about egg shells...I had thought people incorrectly thought crushed egg shells mixed into soil provides calcium... I didn't know that people are also saying that egg shells provide no benefit... I will have to read some more :) it gets confusing with all the different advice out there...

As for dolomite lime...I will have to look for it. I thought I saw it at the gardening stores last growing season but didn't know what it was for and didn't but any. So far I haven't seen it here this growing season.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Ameera - Folks who grow toms in containers, like ME almost always add some Dolomite Lime as a source of Calcium. Most container mix have no, or little actual soil. It seems to me Whitney Farms Makes a pelleted lime available at garden stores, here anyway. There are several different lime type products so ask for dolomite by name to avoid getting the wrong stuff. I took mine out of the original pkg so I cant tell you what is in it. Linda

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 5:06PM
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I've grown tomatoes & peppers in containers for several years without ever adding any lime or calcium supplement. I use Miracle Gro potting mix with Tomato-tone fert, that's all.

I usually get at the most 3 or 4 (total from several plants) unripe tomatoes with ber at the first part of the season, then no more.

I think many growers make too big a deal of adding calcium to combat ber. If you do some forum searching you'll find that ber can be caused by calcium intake problems within the plant that may have nothing to do with available calcium in the growing medium.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Tomato Tone has calcium and magnesium which I think are the main components of dolomite lime, but I dont disagree with you Robeb. I have certainly grown tomatoes in containers without adding lime. I use mainly earth boxes these days and dolomite lime is part of that process.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:53PM
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I now grow only in homemade earthboxes, but still never add lime.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Robeb - I have had really good success with Earth Boxs and Bulk lime is cheap and lasts forever if kept dry, so mostly I would rather use it than lose a bunch of toms to BER. Interestingly the only time I got bad BER was in an EB with lime but it was paste type toms which I later found out are highly prone to BER. I treated with pickling lime and seemed to stop it. Maybe I will try to find some Tomato Tone this year......

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Our favorite tomato expert Carolyn137 wrote an excellent response to a question about Blossom End Rot (BER) and I am quoting it here:

With BER there is NO problem with absorption of Ca++ though the roots. The problem is maldistribution within the plant that can be induced by a number of stresses which include uneven delivery of water, too much N, growing in too rich soil, too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry you name it.

As the plants mature they can better handle the streses that can induce BER so usually it goes away.

The two exceptions are first, if the soil has NO Ca++ as confirmed with a soil test, and that's a rare condition, and second, if the soil is too acidic in which Case Ca++ is bound in the soil.

Again, adding lime, egg shells and on and on can not and will not prevent BER b'c absorption of Ca++ thru the roots is OK.

Paste tomatoes are especially susceptible to BER and I think someone in a post above mentioned that.

If you go to the top of this first page and click on the FAQ link and scroll down you'll also find an article about BER in case some of you have never looked at the FAQ's And there's some darn good articles there as well, but I wouldn't pay any attention to the variety list b'c it's way out of date.

The old information about BER being caused solely by lack of soil Ca++ has been shown to be wrong with research that's been done in the last 20 years or so, but it's going to take another generation before the real story gets into books, websites, magazines, etc. Most of the better websites already have the correct information.

BER affects not only tomatoes, but peppers, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, etc., and it's a huge multimillion dollar problem for the industry, which is WHY all that reasearch was done. For instance, when tissues were taken from a plant that has BER fruits and was assayed for Ca++, the normal level of Ca++ was found, it just wasn't getting to the blossom end of fruits. And there's also a condition called internal BER where the fruits look fine, no evidence of BER externally, but when you cut open the fruit the inside is black

Hope that helps

So, you are either going to get BER, or you won't and nothing you do will change it.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 2:43PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

I was driving to go to Baskin Robins near our home tonight and I saw a Garden Supply store from Germany on the corner of the street! It was closed to I will check them out tomorrow.

There was no dolomite lime at the big garden center here though.

bets, thank you for that info... now I am thinking I might just hope that what I am feeding my tomato plant is enough for now and see what happens. It will be a learning experience for me to hopefully be able to successfully grow more tomato varieties next season.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Since EB recommends a potting mix that is mostly peat, which is acidic that is likely why they call for dolomite, at 2 cups per box, per season.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 5:59PM
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"EB" also recommends a fertilizer strip which takes care of your plant's calcium needs as well.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:51PM
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YOu know I'm really not looking for a fight here Robeb. The simple fact is that EB, as well as many, dare I say most SWC growers use the _____ stuff. But, I'm sure we must all have it wrong. Have a good season.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 12:39AM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Or you all could just stop by and get some soil from my garden. Or some ash leaves that I am going to have to dispose of since they apparently contain huge amts of calclium, lol. Feast or famine.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:48PM
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No myth, dissolve egg shells in lemon juice to make digestible calcium for humans, known as calcium citrate. So why not plants too?

Those of you that still have questions about this,
web search: "egg shells and lemon juice" or make your own "calcium citrate". Much information is available about this concerning the nutritional benefit.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 1:17AM
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No myth, Calcium Citrate is digestible calcium for humans, which can be made by dissolving egg shells in lemon juice.

Those of you that still have questions about this,
web search: "egg shells and lemon juice" or make your own "calcium citrate".

Much information is available about this.

(In response to previous posts some time ago)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 1:25AM
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Forgot about this thread.

Although this growing season was abnormal to say the least, I harvested more this year than last even though the heat was worse and lasted longer.Used shadecloth for the first time and will never be without it again.

Not one fruit with ber. No lime, calcium whatever added. Just good old Tomato Tone in potting mix.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 3:20AM
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Stumbled upon this thread.

I attended an organic farming seminar at a local farm here in the Philippines a few years back. The farmer taught us how to make water soluble calcium with egg shells and vinegar. Seems to work with his plants, so I'm making my own and will give it a shot. :)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 2:11AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Some people don't understand the chemistry behind the eggshell and vinegar. And It has nothing do do whether or not calcium prevents BER.

Calcium in eggshell is "Calcium Carbonate. CaCO3". Unless it is broken down into an ionic form, it is not available to plants. Adding vinegar to it does the following:
( acetic acid + calcium carbonate ---> Calcium acetate + water + carbon dioxide gas ( + impuritie)
2CH3COOH + CaCO3 --> Ca(CH3COO)2 + H2O + CO2(gas)

The product is calcium acetate(Ca(CH3COO)2). in this state calcium is in Ca++ form and available for plants . This is not like adding crushed eggshell to soil and thinking that plants will absorb calcium from it.
However, must be careful not to use more than enough vinegar. Since you will use about 2 TBS of it per gallon of water a tiny bit of unused vinegar is not going to cause a great harm and wont make a dent on the soil pH.

You can also do this with Dolomitic lime instead of eggshell. The final product in both cases is Calcium Acetate. and calcium is in Ca++ ionic form

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 2:49AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Used shadecloth for the first time and will never be without it again.

Good to hear Rob. It is amazing what a difference it can make in some locations. What fabric did you use and how did you rig yours up?


    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 2:38PM
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