Although you certainly wouldn't want to eat a banana peel, throwing it away means discarding lots of useful nutrients. Instead, consider using the banana peel to create a natural fertilizer for your plants.
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You can do so by making a compost banana peel tea or spreading dried banana peels in your garden. Some gardeners prefer to ferment their banana peels first, while others create banana vinegar for acid-loving plants. Some gardeners simply bury their peels in the garden, but this is the least effective way to use the peels.
Whatever method you choose, there are compelling reasons to give banana peel fertilizers a chance. Banana peels are high in potassium, which helps plants develop strong and healthy roots. The phosphorous in banana peels does the same while also helping the plant produce flowers, fruit and pollen. Magnesium helps make photosynthesis easier, and calcium improves the circulation of soil nutrients throughout the entire plant. By turning your banana peels into fertilizer, you can get all of these benefits out of something you would ordinarily throw away.
How to Make Banana Peel Tea
To feed your plants, you can use your banana peels to make a mixture similar to compost tea. Doing so is a simple process that uses water and time to leech nutrients out of the banana peel and into the water. You can then simply water your garden as you normally would with your tea. When you're done making the tea, you can bury the banana peels in the garden, allowing you to get double duty from your saved peels.
- Fill a mason jar with water and drop a banana peel into it.
- Close the jar and let it sit on the counter for two days.
- Pluck the banana peel out of the jar and set it aside. Then, use the water in the jar to water your plants.
- Cut the banana peel into 1/4-inch pieces and bury them in the garden next to your plants. Place them about 4 inches deep.
How to Make Banana Peel Fertilizer
If you prefer, you can dry your banana peels and grind them into a fertilizing powder. When it's ready, you can easily spread your powder around your garden to add nutrients to the soil. You can also mix powdered banana peel fertilizer into your potting soil to feed indoor plants.
- Cut your banana peels lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Arrange the strips on a cookie sheet so they are not touching or overlapping.
- Place the cookie sheet in an oven heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the oven door cracked open 1 or 2 inches and cook the peels until they're completely dried.
- When they've cooled, use a coffee grinder to grind them into a powder.
- Sprinkle the powder around your plants to fertilize them.
How to Ferment Banana Peels for Fertilizer
Fermenting your banana peels is a good way to give your plants a boost, but it can be tricky. The process takes several days, and if it goes wrong, it will produce a moldy mess that you can't use. It costs nothing to give it a try, however, and the resulting fertilizer is excellent for flowering plants, including roses (Rosa spp.).
- Place your banana peel in a mason jar.
- Fill the jar with just enough water to cover the banana peels. If they start to float, drop something in the jar to keep them submerged.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and secure it with a rubber band.
- Let the jar sit for a week. It's OK if the water gets cloudy but throw it away if you see mold.
- When the week is finished, strain the water in the jar and feed your plants with it. Then, drop your fermented banana peels into the blender and puree them.
- Side dress your flowering plants with the banana peel puree and then work it into the soil to a depth of about 4 inches. Working the mixture into the soil prevents the banana from attracting unwanted critters to your yard.
How to Make Banana Peel Fertilizer for Acid Lovers
Plants like azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) and blueberries (Cyanococcus spp.) love both acidic soil and plant food. You can give them both by turning your banana peels into an acid- and nutrient-rich vinegar. The process takes a few weeks, but it's super easy.
- Ferment your banana peels for a week.
- When the week is over, remove the banana peels from the jar but leave the water. Replace the cloth cover on the jar after retrieving your peels.
- Ignore the water in the jar for four to six weeks, giving it time to keep fermenting until it turns into vinegar.
- Smell the vinegar. When it has that recognizable vinegar smell, it's time to water your acid-loving plants with it. The mixture should smell like vinegar, but it shouldn't knock your socks off. If your vinegar smells especially potent, dilute it in some water before feeding your plants so you don't accidentally burn their roots.
- MabelWhite.com: Garden: Roses and a "Banana Smoothie" Killer Home Made Fertilizer Recipe
- University of Arkansas Coopertive Extenstion Service: The Garden Post: 10 Ways to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden as Fertilizer
- Plant Care Today: Banana Peels in the Garden – (12 How to Ideas and Uses)
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: Garden Myth Explained