Should you put Orange peels in the compost bin? Orange is one of the most delicious fruits you'd find in your local market.
The best part about this fruit is you can use it in your kitchen in many ways. But should you be using it for compost? In this detailed guide, let's find out whether these peels are suitable for this process.
Can You Put Orange Peels In Compost?
Yes, you can put Orange peels in your compost pile. Orange peels are similar to any other food particle. Therefore, they will break down into compost within a few weeks or months.
Orange peels also contain a good amount of micronutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. These peels possess some sugar, which is also beneficial for attracting more bacterial activity in the compost.
Note: If you want to use Orange Peels in vermicompost, you should refrain from doing so. The worms do not like the smell of Orange (citrus fruits), and they generally move away from such places.
Since vermicompost is made of worm castings, you will always need worms in the compost bin. Hence, it is recommended to avoid adding Orange peels to your vermicompost bin.
8 Things To Know Before Using Orange Peels In Compost
Now, let's look at the tips and suggestions that might help address this issue.
1. Orange Is A Citrus Family Fruit
Orange is a citrus family fruit, and you need to remember it before thinking of adding its peels to your compost pile. Like other citrus fruits, it will deter many types of beneficial worms from the waste pile.
Worms often help in decomposing organic matter quickly. When you add something like an Orange peel to your compost, it sends them a signal to stay away from the waste pile. It becomes even more significant when you try to compost in your garden, where the earthworms can play their role in decomposing food particles.
On the other hand, Orange peels can also be helpful to deter scavengers like cats.
2. Orange Peels Are Not Good For Vermicompost Preparation
As I mentioned in the previous point, Orange peels are a big no for earthworms!
For some reason, earthworms don't like the smell of citrus family fruits. They don't stay longer in the pile if you add Orange peels to the compost bin. It will eventually impact your production of vermicompost in the home garden.
But if you still want to have the goodness of Orange peels in your compost, you can mix Orange-based compost with vermicompost in equal proportions. It should help you to get the best of both worlds.
3. It Can Increase The Acidity Of The Soil
Orange peels are acidic. If you add too many of them to your compost mix, you could have a pH imbalance problem.
It generally doesn't happen with 1-2 Orange peels. But it can surely have an impact if you add a big pile of Orange peels to the compost bin. So, do keep it in mind. Never use too many peels of any citrus fruits in your compost mixture.
4. Orange Peels Can Be Used In Homemade Compost
Even though these peels are not suitable for vermicompost, you can use them in your regular homemade compost. It will still deter some pests and worms, but you don't have to worry about it. The bacteria present in the compost mixture are more than enough to break down these peels into black gold.
Having said that, it's always good to have a balance of all food ingredients and carbon material in your homemade compost mixture. If there is an imbalance of any particular element in this mix, you will have issues with the end product.
Also, Orange peels and leftover fruits & veggies do release a lot of juices during the decomposition process. This can create many problems if the compost bin doesn't have enough dry ingredients. So, keep an eye on it and balance the consistency with dry leaves, dry grass, and shredded newspaper.
5. Cut The Peels Into Pieces
Yes, it's an essential step in this process. If you fail to do so, you will have issues with the decomposition process.
When you put the entire peels in the bin, they take a long time to break down completely. Sometimes, they won't decompose in your first batch of compost.
You will have to segregate these semi-decomposed ingredients and put them back in the next batch of compost. So, is there any fix to this problem?
To fix this issue, you must cut the peels into tiny pieces. This rule is not just for the Orange peels, though. You will have to follow the same process for most ingredients in your composting mixture.
6. Orange Peels Should Be Used In Moderate Quantities
I have already covered this point in some of the above examples. So, I'm sure you'd know the importance of moderation when it comes to Orange peels in your compost.
Generally, a couple of peels here and there won't make much difference to the decomposition process. But don't overdo it.
7. Orange Peels Can Attract Mold In Your Compost Pile
That's another problem with using Orange peels in the compost bin. These peels can easily attract a well-known mold called Penicillium.
But the good thing is it only thrives in cooler temperatures. That means if the temperature of your compost pile is hot enough, you won't see any such growth at all. It won't affect the decomposition process either.
So, the only thing you need to remember is to mix the contents every few days. This will ensure aeration in a pile and help maintain the temperature of the semi-decomposed material.
8. Do Not Add Any Other Citrus Fruits Or Peels To Your Compost Bin
Yes, there is no point in adding more citrus fruits or peels to the waste pile. When you learn that citrus family fruits and peels are good for composting, you get the temptation of adding more to the bin. But don't do it!
As mentioned earlier in the guide, it will prevent earthworms from entering your food waste. Also, these fruits or peels don't offer anything amazing that might improve the overall quality of the compost. So, use them sparingly.
How To Use Orange Peels In Compost
Here are the steps that you need to follow -
- Collect all Orange peels on a plate.
- Cut them into tiny pieces using a knife or scissors.
- Take these chopped pieces to your compost pile and spread them on top of it.
- Mix the pile thoroughly.
- Sprinkle some water if the pile is too dry.
Done! Now, wait for the bacteria and insects to do their magic. Turning those peels into perfectly dark and odorless compost should take a few months.
Meanwhile, if your compost pile is dry, you can also make use of buttermilk. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of buttermilk on top of it. It will help in activating the bacterial process in a pile.
You can also add a small piece of jaggery and some gram flour to the buttermilk to speed up the decomposition process.
Important: If the compost pile is wet, there is no need to add these additional ingredients. Instead, add some hay or shredded newspaper to it, which will soak up the excess moisture from the waste mixture. You can also add wood chips if you want.
Watch the following video to know more about composting orange peels -
No, it doesn't! However, using them in large quantities will surely make your compost a little more acidic.
If your soil is alkaline, you should consider putting some Orange peels in the soil. It will surely help in balancing the overall pH of the soil.
Other than that, the decomposed Orange peels will also release other micronutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous during this process. Hence, it's a good idea to throw in a few Orange peels or any other citrus fruit peels into the compost bin or soil directly.
It depends on the size of the peels. If the peels are small, they can easily decompose in 4-5 months.
However, if you add large peels without tearing them into tiny pieces, it could take anywhere from 6-8 months for them to turn into compost. So, as you can see, it all depends on the size of these peels.
The more surface area they have, the longer it's going to take to turn them into soil. If you want to avoid it altogether, you should cut them into pieces before putting them into the compost bin.
Yes, you can put Oranges in the compost pile.
After all, it's a natural food ingredient. It will decompose like any other organic matter. So, there is no harm in adding leftover or rotten Oranges to your compost bin.
Having said that, you should only add them in moderate quantities. Otherwise, the fruits might release a lot of water content in a pile, making them a little bit acidic.
Yes, you can put Banana peels in compost.
Banana peels are a good source of Potassium, which is also beneficial for the growth of the plant. These peels also contain other nutrients such as Phosphorus and Calcium. These two elements are also as beneficial as Potassium.
The other benefit of using Banana peels is they decompose faster than most fruit peels. It means you can also use these peels in your vermicompost production process. The earthworms will surely feast on them.
Note: Don't forget to chop the peels into small pieces before adding them to your compost pile.