Oh, the humble banana peel. Are there really that many ways to use banana peels in your garden?
Whether you are an avid gardener always on the hunt for DIY garden hacks or someone who enjoys some mindless scrolling on Instagram, you would have come across the banana peel trend.
Gardeners rejoiced at the fun possibilities for their plants and their Instagram feeds and they flooded the internet with pops of bright yellow banana peel.
But is there any truth to the hype? Are bananas the hobby-gardeners answer to all garden woes?
Sadly, the answer is no.
Speaking from experience, the innocuous banana peel can have some pretty unpleasant effects on your plants.
But don’t despair! You can still make use of those peels and overripe bananas peeking at you from your fruit bowl.
If like me, you have children who leave half-eaten fruit littered around the house then this article is for you! These banana peel hacks are beneficial to your garden and will make sure those pesky peels don’t end up in your sofa cushions……..yes, I’ve been there!
- 1 4 Ways to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden
- 2 3 Things to Avoid When Using Banana Peels in Your Garden
- 3 So, There You Have it, the Good, the Bad, and the Use of Banana Peels in the Garden
4 Ways to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden
1. Put Them in the Compost
Yes, I know, this seems obvious! But considering some of the weird and wonderful things the internet says you can do with your peels, this is by far the most effective way to use them.
Banana peels can take a long time to break down without the right conditions, keeping the nutrients trapped in the peel and unavailable for your plants.
You could easily toss them into the compost whole, but cutting them up first will allow them to break down quicker. The compost needs to be turned and well aerated to keep it healthy. Having small pieces of banana peel throughout your compost means the nutrients will be easily spread.
Banana peels contain potassium and calcium which are great for fruiting and flowering plants. Using compost rich in these nutrients will help your plants grow stronger while producing amazing fruit and flowers.
By asking your kids to throw their banana peels in the compost heap, your compost will be lighter and moister, the perfect addition to your peppers, tomatoes, and roses.
Pro-Tip: Cutting up the peels has another benefit-keeping away critters. It’s possible that skunks and raccoons will rummage through your compost heap for whole bananas and their peels.
2. Toss Them in Your Worm Farm
Don’t have a worm farm yet? Maybe it’s time you looked into it.
Vermicomposting is a fun project to set up with your kids and the vermicast, or simply put, worm poop has amazing benefits for your plants.
There are a few things you need to know when starting a worm farm but it is pretty simple and can happen from the comfort of your home. What a wonderful world we live in, you can even order your worms online!
Banana peels are a nutrient-packed option for your wriggly friends and they love eating them as much as we do. But as we all know, worms like rotting things. So cut your banana peels up small so that they reach the right amount of rot quickly!
I know this sounds pretty gross, but with the lid on the tub, you only have to see your worms once a week when you feed them. And if your kids are anything like mine, making “worm wee” tea will be a win. Pop the highly nutritious (for plants!) mix in a spray bottle and let your kids loose in the garden.
Pro-Tip: Freeze old banana peels first to kill fruit fly eggs and add some shredded paper to your worm farm after adding banana peels to keep out any new flies.
3. Use Them in an Insect Trap
If you are composting, making your own fertilizer, and have small children who leave a trail of organic matter behind them, then a bug trap is a good idea.
Put your banana peels in the bottom of a plastic bottle and add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Then there are two options from here.
You can cover the top with plastic wrap and make a few small holes. Or you can make a cone out of paper and make a small hole at the point. Pop the cone into the bottle and tape it to the sides. Make sure the paper is not touching the tempting bug juice below.
As the acid ferments the banana peel, fruit flies cannot resist the sickly sweet smell and will bombard the bottle. Trapped inside, they will meet a sticky end!
Pro-Tip: Hang your trap in a tree outside to keep the pesky flies away from your house.
4. Use Them to Attract Butterflies and Bees
A healthy garden is one that is welcoming to butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. They help pollinate your plants and keep the nasty bugs at bay. Next time you find a half-eaten apple or squashed banana your children have discarded, keep them.
You can pop them on a plate and put them outside or use a simple bird feeder in a tree. There is something very special about watching beneficial bugs snack on your kids’ leftovers.
Pro-Tip: Be sure to place a bowl of water with your fruit so that the insects can have a drink after their snack.
3 Things to Avoid When Using Banana Peels in Your Garden
1. Banana Peel Tea
If you have learned anything so far, it should be that the potassium, calcium, and other beneficial nutrients in a banana peel are only available when it completely breaks down.
It will not break down in the water but become a slimy, sludgy mess you will land up throwing in the compost, anyway.
The “tea” will make no difference to your outside plants and could even damage your indoor plants. Not to mention the fact that rotting banana peel water will be irresistible to fruit flies….
2. Burying Whole Banana Peels Near the Roots of Your Plants
Trust me, this one ends in heartache!
Digging around the roots of your established plants to place a few banana peels could actually kill them. Many plants don’t enjoy having their roots messed with, as I sadly found out.
They might also prevent your plants from getting the nitrogen they need because it is being used to break down the peel leaving less nitrogen for your plants.
3. Putting Whole Banana Peels at the Bottom of Your Planting Hole
I understand why this would seem like a good idea. Providing your new plant with a solid base of nutrients will help it get established.
Except whole banana peels are very slow to break down, particularly buried underground, and they will leave air pockets around your plants, causing them to sink.
Plants only absorb the nutrients they need, so unless your soil is very poor, your plants won’t benefit from a soggy banana peel buried with its roots.
You are better off using compost containing banana peels and doing a soil test than burying banana peels.
So, There You Have it, the Good, the Bad, and the Use of Banana Peels in the Garden
The internet is a modern miracle for instant information. But that doesn’t mean that everything is true.
Banana peels, like many kitchen scraps, are a great addition to the garden…..as compost!
If you have your heart set on making banana peel tea, then go ahead, make a batch. It won’t do any harm and might be fun for the kids.
But don’t forget to put the peels in the compost afterward, because that is where they really belong.