- Busting Popular Leave No Trace Myths
- Myth: Orange peels (or seed shells, banana peels, fruit pits, etc.) decompose and are natural, so I don’t need to pack them out.
- Myth: Toilet paper decomposes quickly, so I can just leave it under a rock.
- Myth: My pets are really well behaved, so I can let them run around wherever.
- Myth: I don’t need to pick up my dog’s poop—it’s the same as other wildlife.
- Myth: Going off-trail isn’t a big deal.
- Myth: It’s ok to wash dishes in a lake or river if I use biodegradable soap.
- Timing the Trash in Our Landfills
- Years and Years of Trash
- Our Aging Trash Problem
- Fair Use Statement
- Bananas In Compost: How To Compost Banana Peels
- The Effect of Bananas on Soil Compost
- How to Compost Banana Peels
- Besides many other useful Banana Peel Uses in the garden, this Dried Banana Peel Fertilizer is one of the best. Here’re the 5 ways to do this!
- How to Use Banana Peels for Fertilizer, Dried Mulch and More
- How can I prepare a potasium-based fertilizer spray from banana peels and use it as a fertilizer getting rid of the biomass?
- Connect. Discover. Share.
- DIY Fertilisers – How to Use Banana Peels
- Tips for How You Can Reuse Bananas
- 4 Ways to Use Bananas as a Plant Food Supplement
- 5 Tips for Using Bananas as a Free Organic DIY Fertilisers
- 10 food scraps to add to your garden
Busting Popular Leave No Trace Myths
Maybe it’s something about disposing of orange peels, or letting your friend wash the dishes by the lake at the end of a long day. No matter what, you’ve probably heard of at least one of these popular Leave No Trace myths—and maybe even believe some of them yourself!
Myth: Orange peels (or seed shells, banana peels, fruit pits, etc.) decompose and are natural, so I don’t need to pack them out.
Photo from .
Actually, depending on the environment, it can take an orange peel up to six months to decompose. For a banana peel, it could take up to two years. The thing is, even though these things decompose more quickly than materials like plastic or glass, they still stick around for a while. And in a popular area that sees dozens of visitors per day, even a handful of people leaving behind food waste can add up to a big pile of decomposing garbage.
Myth: Toilet paper decomposes quickly, so I can just leave it under a rock.
Photo from .
In this article, Backpacker reports it can take toilet paper anywhere from one to three years to decompose. Not quite as quick as you might think. Besides, regardless of whether toilet paper decomposes quickly or not, leaving it around is just plain gross. No one wants to turn over a rock and find used toilet paper. So, just like for everything else—pack it in, pack it out.
Myth: My pets are really well behaved, so I can let them run around wherever.
Photo from .
Even though you may have spent time training your dog and trust them to listen to you in any situation, you can’t always count on the behavior of other people’s pets. Or what yours might do if it encounters a creature it’s never seen before (you don’t want to find out your dog has an inexplicable animosity for moose while on the trail). In plenty of places, such as national parks, leashes are required for pets. If you do choose to have your pet off leash, keep them close by when encountering other groups so your dog doesn’t startle them.
Myth: I don’t need to pick up my dog’s poop—it’s the same as other wildlife.
This myth surprised us—that dog poop is actually different than that of other animals. Here’s what the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has to say about that: dog feces contains “harmful pathogens made up from the processed dog food, medications, and vitamins we feed our pets. These pathogens can make other dogs sick and add harmful additional nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus to the environment.” Depending on where you are, many plants thrive in low-nitrogen soil, and the presence of a lot of dog poop could in fact affect the area’s soil composition—and the ability of native plants to thrive.
Myth: Going off-trail isn’t a big deal.
Photo by Steven Depolo.
Sure, it’s no big deal if just one person goes off trail. Shortcuts are tempting, especially when you’re tired. Or if there’s a stunning wildflower that you want to photograph. But trails are built to concentrate impact and manage erosion, among other purposes, and going off trail counteracts those goals. Plus, seeing your footprints or trampled grass for those who follow can send the signal that it’s okay to leave the trail and lead to even more people following your new path. So, be the leader we know you are, and stick to the trail, even if it’s muddy!
Myth: It’s ok to wash dishes in a lake or river if I use biodegradable soap.
Regardless of whether the soap is biodegradable or not, Leave No Trace recommends not using it in or near a water source. Soap can cause problems “from increased nitrogen to actually causing significant harm to aquatic inhabitants.” What you should do with your dirty dishes and hand washing is to wash them 200 feet away from water, then pour the water in a cathole (strain it for food chunks first!).
We hope you keep these myths in mind and that they’ll help you spot (and bust!) Leave No Trace myths the next time you head outside!
Learn to travel in wild places with minimum impact on a NOLS Leave No Trace Master Educator course
Americans generate over 4 pounds of waste per person every day, totaling more than 220 million tons of trash each year – a majority of which gets sorted and sent to landfills.
With more than 3,500 landfills across the country, these dumps create the second largest source of human-related methane emissions in the country. Unfortunately, that number has continued to grow over time, and methane has the potential to trap heat in the atmosphere 25 times more effectively than carbon dioxide.
What really happens to the trash we send away, and how long does it take discarded items to decompose once they’ve been tossed out? We studied everything from paper towels and banana peels to plastic bags and disposable diapers. If you’re curious to know how long your 4 pounds of daily trash will take up space in our landfills, explore how much trash is near your home and keep reading.
Timing the Trash in Our Landfills
Think about how many paper towels you use every day, or even how many you might grab at one time to help clean up a mess. Every single one of those paper towels takes two weeks to a month to fully decompose from the time you toss it into the bin. That’s enough time to binge-watch every single episode of “Law & Order” (that’s over 450 episodes, if you’ve been keeping track).
Fruits take longer to decompose than you might think. An orange or banana peel won’t decompose for two to five weeks, and an apple core can take even longer than that. While you’re waiting for those bananas to break down, you could have enough time to apply for and receive your passport.
Now imagine the cotton shirts you wear. Maybe it’s an undergarment, or something you use for yardwork, so you can just throw it away if it gets dirty. Every shirt you’ve ever thrown away could take between 2 and 5 months to decay once it hits the dumpster.
Plywood for your DIY moments and craft inspirations could take just as long to fully decay as “Toy Story 3” took Pixar to make – nearly three years. What may take even longer? Cigarette filters, which are often absentmindedly discarded on the street, can actually take upward of five full years to decompose.
Add these items up and they still don’t take as long to break down as a plastic bag. In certain states, plastic bags continue to be outlawed and take up to 20 years to decay fully. That’s approximately how long it could have taken to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu, at Giza. It’s something to think about the next time you see those 99-cent reusable bags at the checkout lane. Worse still is the time it takes nylon fabric to decay in our landfills: an average of 35 years, which is how long it took to narrow the gender wage gap by 20 cents.
Years and Years of Trash
Believe it or not, some items take even longer to decompose fully.
Leather takes as much time to disintegrate as a plastic foam cup – 50 years. That’s also about how long it takes a unique species of bamboo to flower.
The soles of a rubber boot take 15 more years than that, averaging 65 years. That’s longer than an African elephant’s life span.
The aluminum can your soda or sparkling water comes in takes a whopping 140 years to decompose, on average. That’s nearly double the time it took researchers to discover the wreckage of the Titanic after it sank (73 years). Fortunately, aluminum cans can easily be recycled.
Finally, disposable baby diapers take 450 years to decompose. Sadly, many generations of babies will live full lives before the diapers of today’s infants are truly gone from the planet. It is estimated that more than 27 billion diapers are used in the U.S. every year, which is why some push for alternative options, like cloth or reusable diapers. And a glass bottle? Those decompose after roughly 1 million years. It’s a good thing, then, that glass is one of the few materials that can be recycled infinitely.
Our Aging Trash Problem
While some items, like paper towels, may only take a few weeks to decompose, some things we throw away on a regular basis can take an entire lifetime – as well as the lifetime of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – to decay.
Unfortunately, we are continuing to run out of landfill space in the U.S. You can do your part by minimizing solid waste as much as possible and recycling items that have the potential to be broken down and reused. Alternative options, like cloth diapers and reusable bags, for instance, can save space in our landfills. These methods can also help minimize toxic waste, like pollution that seeps into our soil and groundwater from the trash compiled at waste sites.
If you’re interested in learning more about personalized energy solutions, visit us online today at www.SaveOnEnergy.com. We support residential and corporate customers with their electricity and natural gas needs. By comparing rates across the best providers, our customized plans help you meet your energy consumption needs. Visit us online to learn more.
Material decomposition rates were taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New Hampshire Department of Environment Services. Comparisons were found through research online. For other sources please see the sources section below.
- The Met
- History For Kids
- History World
- Texas Parks and Wildlife
- Ancient History Encyclopedia
- American Immigration Center
- United States Census
- U.S. Passports & International Travel
Fair Use Statement
We’re excited that you want to share the results of our findings on your site for noncommercial use to spread environmental awareness and help your readers save on their energy usage. We only ask that you include a link back to this page so that our contributors earn credit for their work.
Pop quiz: You’re biking with a friend, zipping along a semi-rural road, when your buddy pulls a banana from his jersey, peels it with his teeth, and flings the skin into the ditch. What do you say?
A lot of people, I think, would opt for C or D. Well, I’m here to make a case for A. Or, if you don’t shy from strong language, B. The old hikers’ maxim “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” doesn’t make an exception for food scraps—and it shouldn’t.
“But it’s just a banana peel,” I imagine some of you saying. “It’s organic, it’ll decompose!” That’s a common justification for tossing banana peels, apple cores, and so on out a car window or along a trail. The hypothetical cyclist from our quiz would almost certainly reach for that defense.
It’s true, technically, that apple cores and banana peels are natural. But natural litter is still litter. And this stuff doesn’t disappear nearly as fast as you might think. (Incidentally, I have a friend who swears it’s OK to dispose of his gum by spitting it out on the ground, because—wait for it—“it will decompose.” This friend is wrong. And gross.)
Some folks seem to assume that fruits and vegetables left outside will shrivel, turn black, and disintegrate in a matter of hours, like a time-lapse video from middle school biology. In fact, an apple core can take two months to decompose; a banana skin or orange peel, two years, leaving plenty of time for animals who shouldn’t eat it to come along and eat it. Plus, while nature does its thing, that trash—and let’s not mince words, that’s what it is—is an eyesore. It’s also a visual cue to other passers-by that tossing their own trash isn’t a big deal. In other words: Litter begets litter.
The next time you witness such casual tossage, then, ask the perpetrator: Would you be cool with a stranger flinging a “natural” banana peel into your front yard? No? Why, then, do you think it’s acceptable to chuck one in the woods? Probably he’ll say, “Because the woods are huge and I don’t live there and, well…” OK. He’ll be right.
But, dammit, he’ll also be missing the larger point—forest for the trees, as it were—which is that outdoor spaces constitute a sort of yard that belongs to all of us. Can’t we all agree to do our parts to keep it free of garbage? Even the kind that, eventually, will rot? Are we really so lazy that we can’t hang on to a lousy apple core until we find a trash can or compost bin? Isn’t it just as easy to tuck that banana peel back into the jersey pocket whence it came?
These are the questions I would encourage all of us to keep in mind.
By the way: That hypothetical cyclist? I know where he’s coming from. Back when I was a dedicated roadie, I regularly discarded banana peels along the side of rural roads, using the old “it’ll decompose” excuse. Gradually, I wised up—and my little corner of the world got a little bit cleaner, a little bit more pleasant.
Filed To: BikingEnvironmentNature Lead Photo: Emily Reed
Sorry, Bananas, You’re Not Special
Contrary to the hype, there’s nothing unique or even rare about banana peels that requires they be treated differently from other kitchen scraps.
Even as a source of potassium, there are actually lots of fruits and vegetables that have as much or more potassium than bananas (per gram). Avocados are one example.
Soaking banana peels in water to produce ‘banana tea’ isn’t going to do anything special for your garden.
And there’s nothing to support the idea that tossing banana peels in your planting holes gives plants a boost.
First, the bulk of the peel is going to create an air pocket around the plant roots —something you do not want.
From there, banana peels are very slow to decompose, so even if there was some benefit from the nutrients, they are not going to be available any time soon.
And finally, just because potassium is one of the macronutrients for plants, does not mean more is more!
Plants can’t take up nutrients just because they are available: they take up nutrients when there is a need and they are able to. This is why a soil test from an accredited lab can be so helpful: it will tell you what your garden soil actually needs. And that’s why it’s smart to feed a known need, not just toss stuff at the garden and hope it helps.
Related: Soil Testing: Home Test Kit versus Lab
Bottom line, yes, always put your fruit and vegetable scraps in the compost bin: it is much better for the environment than sending them to landfill.
But, despite the hype, banana peels are nothing special, and will not give your tomatoes or anything else a special boost.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
- Compost in 5 Easy Steps | MSU Extension
- Banana Peels | An evaluation of aerobic and anaerobic composting of banana peels treated with different inoculums for soil nutrient replenishment | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
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Bananas In Compost: How To Compost Banana Peels
Many people are excited to find out that they can use banana peels as fertilizer. Using banana peels in compost is a great way to add both organic material and some very important nutrients to your compost mix. Learning how to compost banana peels is easy, but there are a few things you need to be aware of when putting banana in compost.
The Effect of Bananas on Soil Compost
Putting banana peel in your compost pile will help add calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates, potassium and sodium, all of which are important to the healthy growth of both flowering and fruiting plants. Bananas in compost also help add healthy organic material, which help the compost retain water and make soil lighter when added to your garden.
Beyond this, banana peels will break down quickly in compost, which allows them to add these important nutrients to the compost much more quickly than some other compost materials.
How to Compost Banana Peels
Composting banana peels is as easy as simply tossing your leftover banana peels into the compost. You can toss them in whole, but be aware that they may take longer to compost this way. You can speed up the composting process by cutting up the banana peels into smaller pieces.
Many people also wonder if banana peels can be used as a direct fertilizer. You will find this advice in many gardening books and websites, especially in regards to roses. While, yes, you can use banana peels as fertilizer and it will not harm your plant, it is best to compost them first. Burying the banana peels in the soil under a plant can slow down the process that breaks down the peels and makes their nutrients available to the plant. This process needs air to happen and buried banana peels will break down much more slowly than ones that are placed in a properly maintained compost pile that is turned and aerated on a regular basis.
So, the next time you are enjoying a healthy banana snack, remember that your compost pile (and eventually your garden) would appreciate getting the banana peels that are left over.
Besides many other useful Banana Peel Uses in the garden, this Dried Banana Peel Fertilizer is one of the best. Here’re the 5 ways to do this!
1. Sun Dry Banana Skins & Bury in Soil
You can dry out chopped banana peels in an oven, or you can place the chopped banana peels in the sun under a strainer to help them dry out into banana chips. Scatter the dried bits in the center of the plants and water them in. Alternatively, you can bury them in the soil of your potted plants, or use them as mulch.
2. Add to the Soil Mix at the Time of Planting
All you need to do is cut the peels into small bits and lay them out to desiccate with the skin facing down on a parchment paper or a cookie sheet. Place them in a slow oven preheated to 170 – 200 degrees F. Once the peels turn black, crisp and brittle, take out the peels and grind them in a food processor till they become powdery and attain a texture similar to coffee grounds. Pack some of it in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer to retain its freshness. Save a few for immediate use, and mix it with your soil to encourage the growth of beneficial soil microbes and facilitate the breakdown and release of nutrients. Learn more here!
3. DIY Foliar Spray from Dried Banana Peels
This DIY shows you how to make organic fertilizer using two tablespoons of dried banana peels, and a tablespoon each of eggshells and Epsom salts. Mix all these ingredients together in a blender and pour the end mixture in a spray bottle. Fill with an equal amount of water and shake well. Spray this fertilizer directly on your plants, or on your garden soil. Learn more here!
4. Dehydrate Banana Strips & Use as a Side-Dressing
For healthier plants, use dehydrated banana peels in the garden. This is especially good for flowering plants. Just place the banana strips on dehydrator trays and dry them at a high temperature. They are done when they turn crisp and brown. A temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. If you don’t have a dehydrator, use your oven on a low setting and keep the door ajar. Once the peels are dried and cooled, process them into small bits or powder in a blender. After that, use the dried powder as a side-dressing for your plants, but be careful not to pour it directly over the roots. Alternatively, you can also add a teaspoon of it to the planting hole, but ensure to cover it with a layer of soil or mulch before planting the plant.
5. Use Window Screens to Dry the Peels
If you prefer to go the off-grid way for your gardening, then this tutorial will show you how to dry banana skins using window screens and sunlight. Just make sure to choose a location that gets direct sun for at least 5-6 hours a day. Use a fiberglass screen instead of a metal one. There are some downsides to this process- the first being that it’s lengthy, as it takes approximately 3 – 5 days to successfully dry out the peels. Learn more here!
See more Banana Peel Hacks here.
How to Use Banana Peels for Fertilizer, Dried Mulch and More
Banana peels are some of the best food sources you can give your houseplants and your garden. Yes, you can just toss them in the compost pile, but you can put them to even better use in other ways. Banana peels are full of nutrients that plants need. The Micro Gardener says these include: Potassium – helps promote general plant vigour; helps build up resistance to pest and disease; necessary in fruit development; is involved in regulating around 50 enzymes in a plant and relates to the turgor (or uprightness of stems and the thickness of cell walls) i.e. plant strength! Phosphorus – strongly influences fruiting and flowering; is essential for good root and shoot growth; pollination; and is very important in seed germination and viability. Calcium – the most important mineral in the soil and known as the ‘Trucker of all minerals;’ is the ‘ingredient’ of cell walls concerned with root development and growing stem points and helps ‘open up’ soil to allow more oxygen. Here are several fantastic ways to use the peels:
- Banana water: Soak the peels in water for 24-48 hours to leach the nutrients out and use that water on your plants. Then compost the peels or use them in one of the other ways listed below.
- Buried fertilizer: Bury the peels under the soil near the roots of garden plants. This is especially good for roses.
- Dry mulch: Place the peels on a cookie sheet with the outer skin down and leave the tray in the oven as you bake other foods. Once completely dried and cooled, break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Use as mulch around your houseplants or in the garden. Since the peels are dried, they won’t attract pests, but they’ll slowly release nutrients when the plants are watered or it rains. See WikiHow for pictures of how one gardener does the process.
- Blended fertilizer: Blend the banana peels with water (or even better, cooking water from vegetables or pasta to add even more nutrients) and pour around garden plants.
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How can I prepare a potasium-based fertilizer spray from banana peels and use it as a fertilizer getting rid of the biomass?
Biosimilarity and batch-to-batch comparability
Protein stability is critical to the success or failure of the development of a biopharmaceutical. Protein stability is an important parameter during production, manufacturing, formulation, long term storage, delivery to patient, and eﬃcacy. Highly stable proteins will likely have fewer issues during the manufacturing process, are more cost-eﬀective to produce, and will have a better chance of remaining functional during formulation and storage without chemical alteration or aggregation. In the “Quality by Design” (QbD) approach for biopharmaceutical development, stability characterization is part of the assessment of the ‘developability’ or ‘drugability’ of a potential drug candidate, as well as during process development and manufacturing. Stability data is also incorporated in higher order structure (HOS) characterization and ‘ﬁngerprinting’ used for manufacturing support, biocomparability and biosimilarity. Protein HOS characterization is also increasingly expected in regulatory submissions for new biopharmaceutical drugs and biosimilars.Due to the complex nature of proteins, biophysical tools are important in the complete characterization of a biopharmaceutical product. There are several biophysical tools used to assess protein stability, including (but not limited to) circular dichroism (CD), dynamic and static light scattering (DLS and SLS), size exclusion chromatography–multi-angle light scattering (SEC-MALS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), analytical ultraﬁltration (AUC), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), diﬀerential scanning ﬂuorescence (DSF), intrinsic ﬂuorescence (IF) and diﬀerential scanning calorimetry (DSC).While all of these biophysical assays play an important role in biopharmaceutical development, characterizing thermal stability by DSC is critical. In a 2015 article about biophysical techniques for monoclonal antibody higher order structure characterization, Gokarn et al. stated: ‘DSC remains as an unparalleled technique to assess the thermodynamic stability of proteins in a given buﬀer condition”.The focus of this whitepaper is on the use of DSC to characterize the thermal stability of protein biopharmaceuticals (primarily antibodies), and as a HOS characterization tool for the comparability of biopharmaceuticals (batch-to-batch comparison, eﬀect of process changes, etc), and for the development of biosimilars.
I went with “Sweet Million” cherry tomatoes this year. I hear these little cluster tomatoes ripen fast and taste like candy. Last time I planted tomatoes, I chose Celebrity, Beefsteak slicing tomatoes and one Brandywine heirloom. And I waited and waited and waited for a tomato to ripen on the vine so I could eat it. This year I am going for quantity.
If you are planning on planting tomatoes, start saving your banana peels. When I first heard about this practice, I thought wrapping a banana peel around each tomato plant before sticking it in the ground sounded like wacky organic gardening voodoo. But when I looked it up on the garden sites, I discovered that lots of organic gardeners were using both banana peels and egg shells as their tomato-plant starter fertilizer.
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One recommended 16 egg shells and two banana peels per plant! Suddenly, I felt like my tomato plants were underprivileged, with just a little half a peel wrapped around each one. Too late to dig them back up I guess.
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Making Eggshell and Banana Peel Tomato Fertilizer: Blossom End Rot Prevention
There is nothing wrong with crushing up few eggshells in a planting hole or composting your banana peels. Eventually it all becomes the same stuff for your garden… nutrients. You can, however, speed up the process of taking eggshells and banana peels to workable nutrients for you tomato plants and other vegetables. Dry them and grind them. Create more surface area.
The video will show you the whole process. There is no exact recipe or ratio so don’t worry about that. You simply dry out your shells and peels at about 170 degrees and grind them down in a coffee grinder. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons to your planting hole for tomatoes and peppers and you are good to go.
Eggshells bring a great source of calcium to your tomato plants which is a great way to prevent blossom end rot. The browning of the bottoms of tomatoes. Banana peels are a great source of phosphorous and that is one of the three main nutrients needed for thriving vegetable plants. Shells and peels are also a good source of micro-nutrients.
By pulverizing them you create more surface are and with more surface area you have greater microbe and ‘break down’ activity. The homemade fertilizer will starting breaking down and feeding your plants. Enjoy! You can always ask your neighbors to save you their eggshells.
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DIY Fertilisers – How to Use Banana Peels
Want to save money in your garden and grow healthier plants? One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your own free DIY fertilisers with organic materials and household food waste, including banana peels. A sustainable solution!
DIY Fertilisers – How to Use Banana Peels to Feed your Plants for Free
Tips for How You Can Reuse Bananas
Like all plants, bananas contain important nutrients. You can recycle these back into your garden to build plant and soil health.
Bananas are rich in minerals including:
This mineral helps:
- promote general plant vigour.
- build up resistance to pest and disease.
- fruit develop.
- regulate around 50 enzymes in a plant.
- build turgor (or uprightness of stems and the thickness of cell walls) i.e. plant strength! This is extremely important for plants like staghorns which literally hang onto tree trunks in nature and vertical vegetables like spring onions, leeks and fruiting crops.
Bananas are mineral rich and recycling the peels back into your garden saves money and returns these nutrients to the soil where they can benefit other plants. This is NO WASTE gardening!
- strongly influences fruiting and flowering.
- is essential for good root and shoot growth.
- assists with pollination.
- is very important in seed germination and viability.
Flowers and flowering plants including edibles need phosphorus to produce many blooms and fruit.
The most important mineral in the soil and known as the ‘trucker of all minerals.’ Calcium:
- is the ‘ingredient’ of cell walls concerned with root development and growing stem points.
- helps ‘open up’ soil to allow more oxygen.
With such important roles to play, these macro nutrients are vital for plant health and wellbeing. However, plants needs many other nutrients too (NOT just N-P-K)!
Slow Release Organic Fertilisers
A balanced slow release organic fertiliser with vital trace elements will supplement those not present in bananas.
These types of fertilisers are usually in a fine powdered or pellet form that quickly dissolve and become plant available. That means they can be absorbed by microbes in the soil and fine plant root hairs.
These organic fertilisers can be sprinkled directly onto the soil, slightly dug in or sprinkled into the foliage basin in the middle of plants like ferns.
Seaweed or kelp liquid organic fertilisers also supply your plants with vital macro nutrients or trace elements. These are needed by plants in minute quantities for various functions.
Kelp also helps build pest and disease resistance. A regular monthly foliar spray (on the upper and lower side of the leaves) early morning will keep your plants in good health. So back to the bananas!
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4 Ways to Use Bananas as a Plant Food Supplement
1. Banana Water
- Soak a fresh banana peel in water for a day or two.
- Then use the water with the leached nutrients in it to water your staghorn (or other plants). Don’t let the peel go to waste though!
2. Add Peels to your Soil or Worm Farm
- Chop up banana peels and add to your compost or worm farm.
- The microbes will help turn this nutrient-rich organic matter into plant food.
- Or dig it into the soil around other plants to build up the organic matter and attract worms.
- Lift the mulch around your pot plants and add the peel on top of the soil or potting mix. Then replace the mulch.
- This method of fertilising is known as ‘side dressing’.
- You can add the peel to any potted plant under mulch to slowly release nutrients.
TIP: The smaller you cut the pieces, the greater the surface area for microorganisms to get to work and the faster it will break down to feed your plants.
3. Chopped Dried Banana
- If your staghorn is indoors or close to the house and you are worried about the banana peel attracting fruit flies, there’s an easy alternative.
- Dry out the chopped banana pieces in a slow oven and then use them.
- Or put the chopped dried banana out in the sun under a strainer to dry out for a day or two into ‘banana chips‘.
- Scatter dried banana pieces in the centre of the plant and water them in. You can also bury these in pot plant soil.
- Or you can also mix them into the sphagnum moss if you are replanting or starting out with a new staghorn fern.
- Each time you water or it rains, they will provide slow release nutrition.
4. Banana Peel on a Trunk or Backboard
- If growing a staghorn, elkhorn, orchid or similar plants, put a whole banana peel between the plant and the backboard or tree trunk it is supported on.
- By placing it in this position, the banana peel will gradually decay and slowly release nutrients when the plant is watered or it rains.
- I also toss mine into the centre of birds nest ferns every month or so.
5 Tips for Using Bananas as a Free Organic DIY Fertilisers
- 1. Have over ripe bananas you won’t use up? Don’t waste whole bananas or the skins – freeze them! When you have time to work on your garden, defrost the banana and add to the soil around the base of your plants.
- 2. Store bananas or peels in a self-seal bag in the fridge until you are ready to use them. Ideally, sprinkle some bokashi grains onto the chopped up peels, so the breakdown process is already getting started. These beneficial microbes help accelerate decomposition.
- 3. Spray the chopped up banana and/or peel with diluted seaweed or kelp. This provides additional ‘food’ for the microbes that will help break down the fruit faster. So, the nutrients can be absorbed by the plant.
- 4. Use with other homemade DIY fertilisers such as crushed eggshells and coffee grounds for greater effect.
- 5. Use bananas (whole/peels) as a soil amendment. They are a rich source of organic matter so they add valuable minerals. The decaying organic material attracts beneficial microorganisms (microbes) and earthworms. These creatures help create air pockets in the soil and add their free fertiliser (worm castings).
Add over ripe bananas or peels to compost. It is preferable to increase the surface area for microbes to break down by chopping up into smaller pieces first.
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Why Feed Banana Peels to Staghorns?
Feeding banana peels to staghorns, elkhorns and other ferns is not an old wives tale. There are valid reasons why many people use this DIY fertiliser!
Staghorn and elkhorn ferns are epiphytic perennials or “air” plants. Because they don’t make contact with the soil, they get their nutrition substantially from the air. Quite an amazing concept!
Bananas contain a relatively high level of potassium that helps displace sodium that can be harmful to salt-sensitive staghorns. They have many other benefits too.
Hope this advice is useful and helps you get the most out of your plants and bananas!
- Check out Frugal Gardening for more money saving tips
- 9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps
- How to Grow Your Own Food from Seed
- Harvesting Vegetables & Herbs
- Garden Maintenance for more ideas
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If you’ve been in the habit of throwing your banana peels in the trash can for someone else to take away, you may find yourself holding a banana peel in your hand and wondering if you can put it in the compost bin and what will happen if you do.
So, can I put banana peels in my compost? Yes you can. If there is one thing that will rot faster than anything else it’s probably banana peels. It will, very quickly, turn black and then become unrecognizable.
I’ve been looking around to see what others are saying on the subject. If you want to know the chemistry that goes with returning banana peels back to the local ecosystem of your compost bin and garden, there’s an impressive list of useful elements.
In banana peels there is calcium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphates, potassium and sodium. All of these have their uses as plant feed, some more than others.
Calcium resides in the form of calcium-pectate salt. This plays a big part in the strengthening of the plant’s cell walls. When there is a deficiency, new growth at the shoot and root tips tend to be stunted because the cell walls haven’t formed at their best. Calcium also plays a part in activating enzymes that, in turn, progress plant growth.
Magnesium plays a big part in the photosynthesis of plants. Having enough magnesium available will assist the chlorophyll to complete the process of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight. Magnesium is largely responsible for giving leaves their green colour.
There will be a magnesium deficiency where there is little or no organic material in the soil. This will be noticeable in sandy soil where the rain will rinse the magnesium out due to the open structure of sand.
Banana peel compost tea
Are there spiders in bananas?
Banana peel and eggshell fertilizer
Can worms eat banana peels?
Sulphur helps with the production of plant proteins. A plant doesn’t need very much but if there is a deficiency it will show in the plants general health and appearance. If we consider field-scale crop growing, an acre of land would need no more than 30 pounds (15KG) on an acre.
In the parts of the world where coal is burnt on an industrial scale for national energy production, sulphur is released into the atmosphere and is spread over a very wide area. This has been very useful to farmers growing crops over the years. Their only problem with this has been when the coal-fired power stations were closed down and the airborne supply of sulphur stopped. In these cases, where sulphur is required, the farmers are having to use purchased forms of sulphur in artificial fertilizer.
Then we look at phosphates or, specifically, the element phosphorus. It’s one of the important basic inputs required for plant growth. It’s the ’P’ in NPK. the ‘N’ being nitrogen and the ‘K’ being the symbol for potassium.
You will know more about it if there is a phosphorus deficiency. You will notice the plants will appear weak and have a washed-out look about them with little or no flowering.
Potassium is another required plant nutrient. It’s considered to be the most important of all, second only to nitrogen among nutrient inputs. Potassium plays a part in regulating the intake of CO2 by influencing the opening and closing of the stomata. These are the entry points on the green leaves where the CO2 is taken in and converted to hydrocarbons during photosynthesis.
Then we have sodium. This isn’t needed too much by plants, just a small trace amount is enough to help with the overall metabolism. Too much sodium, especially in the form of salt, will be detrimental to any plant possibly resulting in either killing it or severely stunting its performance.
For any of this to have any noticeable affect, you would need to add a huge number of bananas to the compost mix. Most households will get through just one or two bunches of bananas in a week. The peels from these, when mixed in with everything else, will be lost in the mire that is compost.
There’s a whole load of other ingredients that can go into making compost. We have a post that goes a long way into covering the subject. Check out ‘What goes in a compost bin’ to find out more.
Banana peel compost tea
There appears to be things you can do with banana peels that will bring an immediate benefit to your plants rather than just throwing them in a compost bin and waiting for them to rot down completely. Take some banana peels, chop them into small pieces then leave them soaking in water for a couple of days. Then extract the pieces which can be thrown in with the compost. The liquid will be banana peel compost tea. This can then be used in a watering can for plants of your choice or, if you can filter it enough, you could use it as a foliar feed and spray it on plant’s leaves using a hand sprayer.
An alternative way of using banana peels as a plant feed is to chop the peels and dig the pieces into the ground where you want to place plants. If you’ve just made some compost tea, you could use the solids that you extract from the ‘brew’. This will still have some nutrient value that can be used as it won’t have all been soaked out in the tea.
Bury the pieces about 4-5 inches (120mm) down in the ground. Do this before you sow the seeds for vegetables because digging it in beside established vegetable plants may damage the roots. The peels will easily rot down, releasing all those nutrients that we looked at earlier.
Another option is to dry the peels completely then grind them down into fine particles to use as a fertilizer. To dry them, spread them out on a baking tray and put them in an oven at about 140°C, leaving the door slightly open. Keep checking on them until they are hard and dry. Grind the dry peels in a spice or coffee grinder.
Doing this you could use the grindings as a dry fertilizer to apply around plants or store it to dissolve in water to use as a foliar spray.
You could also make an insect trap using banana peels as an attractant. Gnats and fruit-flies will go for banana peels, especially if it is becoming over ripe. You need a small plastic container with a lid. One of those throw-away containers that contains mixed fruit peels or cherries would be ideal.
Then you place some chopped pieces of banana in the container and add enough vinegar to just cover the banana pieces. Make a few holes in the lid of the container, big enough for gnats to go in. Wherever you place it the gnats will find it. They will go in and drown in the vinegar. It won’t get rid of the gnat and fruit-fly problem completely but it will take a bit of the pressure off if you’re having a problem.
Are there spiders in bananas?
This is something that came up when looking around on the subject of bananas. There have been reports of people seeing non-native spiders creeping out from a bunch of bananas. This is more likely to happen if you buy a bunch of bananas that come in a plastic bag.
If you are really unlucky with this, you may encounter a nest of spiders in a bunch of bananas. There are spiders that specifically nest in bunches of bananas. These are, apparently, safe. They appear not to bite and aren’t venomous. However there is another variety that we should all be looking out for.
They are known as the ‘Brazilian wandering spiders’. These spend their time wandering around on the forest floor under the banana trees. They are one of the most venomous spiders out there and must be voided. Bunches of bananas aren’t their first choice when it comes to places to hide. However they do tend to find their way into a bunch and become a stow-away, finding their way into a supermarket near you.
This is something that happens very rarely, if at all these days. Importers and shops that handle bananas are well aware of the potential problem and have been for some time. There are procedures in place to check through bunches of bananas before they set off from plantations. That having been said, it will always make sense to proceed with caution if you buy or recieve a bunch of bananas.
Banana peel and eggshell fertilizer
Banana peels and eggshell fertilizer is a useful combination. It’s a way of mixing the calcium of eggshells with the potassium, and other elements, to make a fine, powdered banana peels and eggshell fertilizer that’s extremely useful to any plant.
The procedure is very simple. You need to dry out the banana peels. If you are in a hot country or doing this in a hot period of weather then it can be done outside. If you can’t make sufficient use of the sun then you will have to dry out the banana peels in an oven. Heat at about 140°C, leave the oven door slightly open and keep checking on the drying progress. When the peels are crispy hard then they’re ready.
The eggshells also need to be dry. If you want to, you can wash the eggshells to remove any remaining egg-white that may be there. Then allow the eggshells to dry completely, one way or another. Both ingredients must be completely dry to be able convert them into the fine dry powder that we want.
The process involves using an electric blender which also needs to be completely dry before you load in the ingredients. So, with everything dry as a bone you can commence by breaking up the dried banana peels and lightly crush the eggshells. This can all go into the blender. Put the blender going and watch as the two ingredients mix while being pulverized to a dust.
You can then store the powder in a dry jar until you want to use it as a plant feed. The video here probably explains the process more clearly.
Eggshells are, mainly, calcium carbonate. It will have the same effect as hydrated white lime. Banana peels and eggshell fertilizer should only be used for plants that prefer low-acidic soil. If you have a soil acidity problem, you may not have enough eggshells to make a difference. While the amount of eggshells that you have will help, you may need to get a bag of hydrated white lime.
Can worms eat banana peels?
Worms can eat rotting banana peels. They won’t do anything with them when they’re fresh. The peels, like everything else, have to be rotten before the worms can eat and digest it. Worm composting is also known as vermicomposting. There are worm composters that are specifically designed to turn kitchen waste into vermicompost.
These can operate in the kitchen and involve trays that stack in a vertical column. The fresh waste will be in the top tray and the finished vermicompost will be in the tray at the bottom. The lowest tray will be emptied of the vermicompost when it’s ready to go. The empty tray can then go to the top of the stack. You can then place your banana peels and everything else in the top tray. When this has rotten down enough the worms will move up to it and start to consume.
You can feed banana peels to the Rolypig and they will work their way through, along with everything else. Whatever you feed to the Rolypig will go on a journey from the mouth end to the tail end, being occasionally agitated as it goes. There will be worms in the Rolypig which migrate in from the ground.
The Rolypig sits directly on the ground so this make it easy for worms to get in unlike most other tumbler-style composters that are off the ground and mounted on stands. When the worms move in they don’t leave. They feed and multiply in numbers to match the amount of fresh waste that you feed in.
Can you throw banana peels on the ground?
This really depends where you are. If you are out in the middle of nowhere and no one is likely to see it, then there won’t be a problem. It is right to say that banana peels will rot away and become plant-food compared to paper and plastic which will stay in one piece for a long time. The thing is, whatever you throw on the ground will be unsightly litter. It’s very antisocial to leave litter behind when you visit anywhere and banana peels will look like litter for long enough to make it look unsightly. So, if you’ve just eaten a banana and you’ve got the skin in your hand, either put it in the nearest litter bin along with any other rubbish that you may have or if you’re out of sight of everyone and there is no litter bin for miles, then it won’t hurt if you dispose of it among wild vegetation. Another option is, of course, to feed it to a Rolypig.
Can citrus peels be composted?
Citrus peels can be composted but you need to be mindful that citrus peels are going to add acidity to the compost. This won’t be a big problem unless you are adding large quantities of citrus material. Acidity has the tendency to preserve rather than allow for decomposition, which is what we want to happen for compost to be formed. The best way to neutralize the acidity is to add white-lime. This will react with the acids and create the ideal conditions for composting.
10 food scraps to add to your garden
Did you know that some of the food scraps that you are throwing in your rubbish bin could be beneficial for your garden?
While most foods should be composted before being applied to your garden, there are some which you can add directly to your garden.
Here are 10 food scraps that you can add to your garden without composting:
Banana peels are nutrient powerhouses containing calcium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphate, potassium and sodium.
Cut your banana peels into pieces and add directly to the surface of the ground or bury down to 10 centimeters deep, around the base of the plant. Be careful not to disrupt the soil where your plant’s roots are.
Banana peels can also be soaked in water for 48 hours or blended with water and the resulting liquid can be used to water plants for a quick nutrient boost for your plants. Your roses will thank you for adding banana peels!
How to give your plants a quick #potassium fix? With #banana #peel! 🍌 The #simplest #natural #fertiliser 🌱 And then the “used” peels still get to go to the #compost afterwards, nothing is wasted! 💚 #naturessolution #bananapeel #bananaskin #fruit #plant #lafruta #elpieldelplátano #elpieldelabanana #elfertilizante #potasio #homegardening
Onion and Garlic
Pieces of onion and garlic help ward off pests like hedgehogs, mice and rats from your garden.
Apply to the surface of the soil in small pieces in the area where pests are a problem.
Tea leaves can be applied to the surface of your soil to give your plants an extra boost of nitrogen, which is particularly useful for fast growing plants.
Only use teabags that are made of 100% natural fibers if you are adding the teabag itself to the garden. If the bag is not compostable then remove the tea from the bag and only spread the tea leaves themselves.
Worms love tea leaves and it also helps with soil aeration, drainage and water retention.
Crushed egg shells are a great organic deterrent for snails and slugs. To use them, crush them and place them on the surface of the soil in a circle around the base of each plant, with no breaks in the circle.
Egg shells are also a good source of calcium, which can help reduce soil acidity when used in large amounts. The egg shells can be mixed in with compost or mixed directly into the soil.
Egg shells should not be buried or placed around root vegetables because there is a risk of your vegetables being contaminated by salmonella by those eggs
Because nut shells break down slowly, they make a good surface mulch which helps to aerate the soil. Crush the nut shells before applying them to the surface.
While it does take a large amount of nut shells to create a sufficient surface mulch, you can still add small amounts of nut shells to your garden because it is better to let them break down and become soil over time than to throw them in the bin to be taken to a landfill.
Empty your coffee pot into the garden and your plants will love you for it. Rich in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, coffee grounds help improve the drainage, water retention and aeration of the soil.
You can add it directly to the surface of your garden or mix it in with the soil.
Large amounts can increase soil acidity, so do not apply large quantities of it to plants that prefer basic or neutral pH conditions, however, it is good for acid loving plants like citrus, roses and blueberries.
Oyster shells are rich in calcium and help to reduce soil acidity. If possible, try to crush them before adding them to your soil.
Whilst not technically a food scrap, that water used for boiling vegetables and eggs is more useful going on your garden than down the drain. Not only does it save water, it is also rich in nutrients.
If you have a problem with unwanted cats in your garden, citrus peels will help to ward them off as the smell of the citrus peel is not appealing to cats. Apply to the surface of the soil in small pieces in the area where pests are a problem.
They are also useful for keeping slugs off your plants – hollowed out and upside down citrus peels attract slugs.
Fish Heads and Frames
Any fishing enthusiast will know that keeping the heads and frames and burying them in the garden can work wonders.
Not only are they a great source of nitrogen, they also help to speed up plant growth.
Make sure you bury these in the garden to keep them from attracting pests.
If you are a gardener but don’t fish yourself, check out this website which connects you with people who have fish heads and frames to give away.
Note: Burying uncomposted materials is not always good for your plant’s health, it is safer to apply the uncomposted material to the surface so that it can break down more easily