Many Ugandans enjoy eating eggs. But did you know that egg shells and the yolk can be used to control pests, diseases and improve productivity of your plants?
If you are an organic farmer and not interested in the chemical-infused option of pest and disease control, the egg can be your saviour.
At the National Agriculture Research Laboratories (NARL) in Kawanda, Wakiso district, experts, with support from the Korea Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA), are training farmers on how to grow vegetables organically.
They are training farmers on how to use organic means to improve soil and control pests in vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbages, reddish, eggplant.
Among the many innovations is the use of eggshells to boost plants’ productivity.
Doreen Nampamya, an agronomist with KOPIA, explains that you can use eggshells to give your plants a nutritional boost.
“Crushed eggshells add the much-needed calcium and other trace minerals to the soil as they break down. Calcium is important to the health of crops like tomatoes and peppers, especially when it comes to the issue of blossom end rot,” Nampamya says.
Blossom end rot is one of the most common ailments of garden tomato plants. It causes black spots to form on the end of young tomatoes, peppers and even squash, cucumbers and zucchini.
At Kawanda farmers are offered free training on how to grow tomatoes, eggplants, cabbages among others in a modern and organic way.
“The training is free for everyone, but especially for farmers in urban areas. We are providing technical advice with the latest Korean technologies of eggplant and tomato production in Uganda,” Nampamya says.
At Kawanda, there is a demonstration garden with tomatoes, peppers and cabbages, which, in particular, will benefit from shell fertiliser.
“Farmers can walk in any working day from 8:00am to 5:00pm. They should come ready to learn and improve themselves,” Nampamya says.
The calcium from eggshells is also good for the garden where it moderates soil acidity, while providing nutrients for plants.
If you do not have enough eggshell, Nampamya advises that you check with local breakfast shops or chapati making stalls to see if they will save them for you.
To prepare the eggshells, you have to grind with a mixer, grinder or mortar and pestle, and till them into the soil.
Marisiari Christmas Karyaija, the farm and estate manager at KOPIA Uganda, says eggshell and yolk can also be used to keep certain pests away.
“If your plants suffer from snails or slugs, spread the crumbled shells on top of the soil around the base of the plants, making the barrier about two inches wide all around,” Karyaija says.
At Kawanda, tomato growers are also trained on how to stake the tomatoes using metallic stakes, and about pruning.
“Staking is for tomato varieties that grow tall. They give more yields compared to the lower ones and use less chemicals and pesticides,” Karyaija says.
Tomato is the most popular vegetable crop in Uganda. Many diseases and disorders can affect tomatoes during the growing season.
“We plant the vegetables in ridges; these ridges help conserve moisture in the soil. They also ease management, making spraying and weeding easy,” Karyaija says.
In partnership with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), KOPIA has developed a guide on how to grow vegetables. It this guide that the scientists are using to train farmers.
The guide also has, among others, natural remedies for control of biotic and abiotic stresses in vegetables.