Tips: Vermicompost Alchemy with Eggshells

In my other life as a designer I’m involved in a project involving Alchemy as a symbol. This got me thinking as I was looking at the little – er, increasingly massive – pile of eggshells and tea bags I’d set aside to add to my worm composter. (The city isn’t getting this good stuff, no way!)

The chief thing an alchemist needs to do when mixing potions is to Pulverize: to mash things down to their smallest bits, the better to incorporate into something better, possibly gold. Seeing as compost, especially worm compost, often falls under the heading of Black Gold (hands up anyone who didn’t immediately think: Texas Tea). I thought: ” That pile is getting kind of large. Time to feed the worms. But how can I quickly pulverize those egg shells, without making a mess, the way I usually do?”. My usual method is to grab egg shells, squish in bare hands, and, while balancing shell mess in one hand, toss into worm composter, usually getting shells on the floor as I hold onto the icky lid with the other hand.

Sometimes the simplest ideas work best. Today I hit on the idea of grabbing a sandwich baggie and tossing the egg shells in, then squishing by hand. It works great, you can really mash them up quite small. Plus pulverizing the shells like this almost has the satisfying feel you get popping bubble wrap. It’s even better, because you are doing something positive for your garden, instead of merely having the simple, yet fun, wanton destruction of popping bubble wrap. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

The baggie keeps everything neat and tidy while you squish; it makes, squishing easier, and it’s easy to walk over to the bin, lift the lid and sprinkle the contents inside without getting shells on the floor.

Anyway, do something for yourself and your worms, and be an Vermicompost Alchemist. Go forth and Pulverize!


  1. Sarah, Great bloggiminds think alike. Our "Publish" was almost simultaneous! Reading your eggshell idea, I thought that perhaps newspapers and a rolling pin might also be good. The you could slop the paper into the pile along with the eggy bits. What do you say, sis?

  2. Newspaper and rolling pin would probably work, but sounds more complicated a procedure. With the baggie you can see how you're progressing and also you get to put your opposable thumbs to good use.

    (Who needs tools! said the primate that came before Homo Erectus. )

    Actually, the newspaper shell combo would work though, so those who like to pull out the rolling pin, roll away.

    Me, I'll stick with the baggie, It would take me half an hour to unearth my rolling pin, I think. ;^)

  3. Diana, They did recommend crushing the eggshells with our vermicomposting kits — though I've also read (somewhere) that the worms like to hang out in uncrushed eggshells, too. Perhaps it makes sense to do a bit of both?

    I think for the stack of dry eggshells that Sarah was talking about, the plastic trick would work perfectly. And you'd have the added benefit of having a mini outlet for frustration. Take that, you shell!

  4. I've seen the worms cuddled up in a half-shell, but crushing them to powder would probably enable them to actually ingest them, right?

    How thoughtful of you to smash them up.

  5. Sarah, I love the idea of putting all that calcium carbonate back into the earth. A few years back I got my hands on an old coffee bean grinder. Talk about pulverizing! While an electric coffee bean grinder (shell pulverizer) actually contributes to our energy use, it is such a small amount my conscious isn't being seared. Beware though, the shells actually become dust.

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  7. Hi Canadians, I want to share and idea with you. I have read articles that state that you can make beads with rose petals. I thought that the same idea could be applied to colored egg shells (or plain ones, if you like). Just remove the "skin" that is inside the shell and dry the egg shell, then pulverize it. You need to use quite a few egg shells to make an entire necklace but if you want to make just one or two "focal" beads you can use fewer eggshells. When you have pulverized the shells place the dust in a plastic container such as the ones a yogurt or cottage cheese container. Add just a small amount of white glue and mix with a plastic stirring tool such as the ones used to stir coffee. Shape the paste into a bead – you can use a mold if you have one. Experiment with substances that may keep the paste from sticking to the mold. I have been told that a small amount of dish detergent will keep objects from sticking to plaster when making a ceramic mold so maybe this would work to keep egg shell paste from sticking to a mold.
    From: Laraine

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