By Louise FitzRoy
Banana skins, potato peels and egg shells. Most of us may be in the habit of throwing these items in the bin, but what if we could instead put them to good use as nature intended?
Our Chateau Chooks are busy ladies. In our latest Brasserie product report, the girls produced 65 eggs at the start of May, and a week later, almost doubled production to 114 eggs. The next week we collected 204 eggs, then 364 the following week, and by the end of May, 525 eggs were heading into the kitchen.
More eggs, means more egg shells.
We compost all organic waste from The Brasserie kitchen, but before this process, our Head Gardener, Aide Davila, is now making plant-loving chemical-free fertiliser, using these egg shells, to share with the citrus, mango and avocado trees in Cricket Square.
“I am making my own natural fertiliser that is more specific to fruit trees by using banana, potato and egg shell due to their high potassium levels. Potassium helps plants to move water and sugar, so it makes fruit juicier and sweeter and it also improves the quality of flowers. Secondly, potassium helps strengthen plants – it thickens their cell walls. The banana peels also release small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium,” Aide says.
“We boil all the ingredients together to release all the essential nutrients from the produce including calcium from the egg shells, and then sieve the mixture.
“The pulp goes into our compost and the precious liquid is diluted with water before being used as fertiliser. One gallon of the concentrate makes four gallons of spray. Sixteen gallons of fertiliser is enough to cover 25 trees.
“When the trees start to bloom, we spray to help the development of fruit. This is important as we head into rainy season as the rain can wash the pollen off the flowers.”
The fertiliser must be used within two days to prevent it going sour and attracting flies.
Don’t have time to make this concoction? Then simply air dry your egg shells, place them in a blender, and pulse until powdery-fine. Sprinkle the shell powder around the plants in your garden. This works well because eggshells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate -the main ingredient in agricultural lime. Use this in place of lime in the garden. You can also leave the egg shells in bigger pieces and circle them around your vegetable plants to deter snails from having a munch.