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I've just tried mussels for the first time and now that we've got a big bowl of empty shells I wondered if anyone had ideas on what I can use them for in the garden. My only thought was to crush them and sprinkle round the plants that the slugs like, same as I do with egg shells. But I wondered if there were other uses. can incorporate them into windchimes but make sure you use a small enough drill to make the holes.

Alternatively, if you have a single plant in a pot, you can arrange the shells in a pattern around the base of the plant.

Crushed up mussel shells can be incorporated in compost or used as a mulch around grit loving plants. 


I made a  5 storey insect hotel from wooden pallets and then made a roof garden which I planted with sedums so the flowers would attract insects.  I used a gravel mulch to finish it off with assorted seashells, including mussels, upturned so they would catch rain water for the insects.  You could do something similar in a sink garden or some other container.



Obelixx............that is a seriously good Insect you find it better at ground level rather than a suspended one ?  I'm looking for various options ........high and low.......


Good for chickens when crushed.

IMO windchimes are a thing of awfulness if you have to live next door to them.  Maybe that's just me!



obelix; can we give this insect hotel a good rating on these travel websites? It looks sooo smart.

David Matthews2

Cockle shells, crab carapaces and other marine mollusc shells (whelks etc) would all serve equally were as mini-reservoirs for visiting insects, birds etc through the summer months! I can't spare the full pallet 'footprint' in my limited mid-terrace garden. However, I might contrive something similar but in a vertical sense with the pallet rawl-bolted to a limestone boundary wall on the south side of the plot...?


OOh David, can we see pics?

obelixx...I've a picket line of ladybirds now demanding better living accommodation...


Thank you for all the kind comments.  I have a big enough garden with pasture to that side and arable land behind which get a certain amount of chemicals so I garden organically and have been doing what I can to help birds and insects insects, especially bees. 

The birds and probably some rodents have been picking at the pine cones and sticks so it all needs refilling this spring ready for the next lot of résidents.



Friends of mine have tucked this under a conifer hedge :-

 You can also tuck insect shelters into walls and crevices and I saw a garden at Chelsea where a dividing and seating wall within a garden incorporated blocks for insect homes, a bit like in Edd's photo but more organic in form.   Gabons could also be used if stuffed with appropriate material and they come in all sizes, even ones small enough to hang on a wall.



Typo - gabions are metal cages which are usually stuffed with stones or pebbles and used to make reinforcing walls.  They've been adopted by garden designers who fill them wit all sorts of materials for different effects and use them as seating, dividing walls, structural support for terracing and so on but I've also seen small ones hung as hanging baskets with aeoniums in pots.   Just have to use your imagination.

David Matthews2

My 'Hanging Pallet of Pembroke Dock' is only at the 'bright idea' stage yetawhile, Artjak! d.v. I'll make my initial moves soon and will definitely record progress with the project as it develops.

*Really appreciate the pics of the other very inventive settings for the other "Ladybird Hotels" - I feel somewhat envious at present as my pallet is still in its 'natural' state in the garage/ workshop awaiting surgery!



Many thanks for all your suggestions . Have them outside for the weather to take some of the smell away before I start crunching them. Watch out slugs , here I come!

gardenning granny

hmm - I'm not sure that all that helps me with the problem of dealing with the shells from 8 kilos of mussels that we brought back from France for a Moules Frites evening.

I think I might try the sledge hammer to bash them into submission first and then add them to several compost bins.

Do they have valuable ingredients to make the effort worthwhile though?


You could put them in the ground and some earnest young archaeologist might find them in years to come and say that they were the site of a medieval midden.


They are mainly Calcium carbonate (shells eventually form limestone over millions of years) but do contain valuable trace elements.  Crushing and adding to soil or compost would be no bad thing.