But, there are a number of other ways to use banana peels both as natural fertilizer and as a natural pest repellent in the garden. In this article, we will share a wealth of smart ways to make the most of this valuable bit of trash. Read on to learn more.
Why Use Banana Peels?
Banana peels being nutrient rich, make an excellent source of natural fertilizer for your yard and garden. They provide your plants with:
- Potassium: This nutrient helps your plants grow strong roots, and it also helps enable good distribution of water and nutrients. Potassium helps regulate plant enzymes and supports your plants in growing stronger stems. All of this works together to help grow strong, sturdy disease and pest resistant plants.
- Phosphorus: This nutrient also helps build healthy roots and shoots, and it is absolutely essential for successful production of blossoms, pollen and fruit. Plants that receive plenty of phosphorus grow big and strong.
- Calcium: Roots and stems are also dependent upon ample calcium for strength and proper development. Calcium assists in breaking down soil nutrients such as nitrogen, and it supports other minerals in moving through a plant’s system.
- Magnesium: This mineral supports healthy photosynthesis, which is absolutely essential for all aspects of plant growth and health.
Use these tips to make the most of these valuable nutrients!
1. Brew Some Banana Peel Tea
Create an all natural liquid fertilizer filled with potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen using just banana peels and water. This combination feeds and strengthens plants and helps them resist diseases and pests.
Brew this nourishing tea in a couple of different ways
# 1 Fill a large jar (2 quarts) about three quarters of the way with water. Set the jar of water in your refrigerator. Whenever you eat a banana cut the peel into small pieces and put the pieces into the water.
Keep the jar of banana water in your refrigerator for about a week. When it is full, strain the peels out and mix the banana water with a gallon of plain water. Use this to water your plants and give them a healthy dose of minerals.
# 2 If you don’t want to keep a jar of chopped banana peels in your refrigerator, make small batches of banana peel tea. Do this by placing a banana peel in a 1 quart Mason jar filled with water. Allow the jar to sit (loosely covered) at room temperature for two days. Remove the peel and use the water as-is for watering plants.
Note: I would NOT use this on plants indoors without some testing!
2. Don’t Throw Away The Soaked Peels!
Use soaked peels as fertilizer. Dehydrate them and then grind them into powder for working directly into the soil, or make a slurry of the soaked banana peels using your blender. Work the slurry into the soil surrounding plants for nourishment and also for a certain measure of pest control.
Dehydrated banana peel powder makes an excellent addition when starting seedlings. Mix a pinch into the starter mix in each pot be sure that your seeds get off to the best start.
If nothing else, remember to add the soaked peels to your compost heap or bin!
3. Pest Control
Working cut up banana peels into the soil surrounding your plants not only feeds the plants, it also will help deter aphids. You can also spray your banana peel tea directly onto plants to help repel aphids. As a bonus, your plants will absorb the minerals in the tea through their leaves.
4. Add To Compost
Whether you compost using a compost pile, a bin or a vermicomposting setup, adding banana peels (whole, chopped up, soaked or as a slurry) is a good idea. If you do add whole banana peels, be sure to bury them deeply so as not to attract pests such as raccoons and possums.
Soaking, chopping, grinding or making a slurry of banana peels makes the nutrients more readily available to plants and facilitates quick breakdown of the peel. For this reason, some pre-compost processing is desirable.
5. Amend Your Soil
You can use banana peels directly as a soil amendment in the autumn when preparing flower and veggie beds for the winter.
Chop them up and work them into the soil or add them whole. Again, just be sure to bury them deeply if adding them whole since they may attract mammalian nocturnal invaders. On the upside, they attract beneficial worms and microbes that will work hard through the wintertime improving the quality of your soil.
6. Plant A Banana Peel
When planting seeds outdoors give them a direct jolt of nutrients by planting a banana peel along with them.
Dig a trench two inches deep and at least long enough to accommodate the banana peel strip. Lay banana peel strips flat with the inside facing up and put the seeds on top.
Cover with light, rich, well-drained soil and water, care for your seeds as usual. As they germinate, create roots and begin growing they will greatly benefit from the rich fertilizer created by the decomposing banana peels.
7. Make A Calcium Rich Fertilizer Spray
Banana peel tea spray is good, but adding eggshells and Epsom salts makes it absolutely fantastic! To create an excellent, spray-on liquid fertilizer combine the following in your blender or food processor:
- Three crushed, dried, ground up eggshells
- Four dried, ground up banana peels
- One tablespoon of Epsom salts
- One quart of water
Blend or process on “high”. The mixture is ready when all of the ingredients are thoroughly dissolved in the water. Decant the concoction into a one-quart spray bottle for use as a foliar fertilizer.
8. Trap Insects!
Chop up a banana peel and place it in a plastic container with a lid. Large yogurt tubs, margarine tubs and the like are good candidates for this task.
Cover the banana peel with apple cider vinegar and place the lid on the tub. Punch holes in the lid large enough for flies to get in (you may want to do this before placing the lid on the tub!)
Flies and other garden undesirables will be attracted to the scent of the banana peel and vinegar. They will enter through the holes and drown in the liquid. While this contraption will certainly not trap every fly in your garden, it will help you do away with quite a few.
9. Ferment Your Banana Peels
A fermented banana peel slurry makes an excellent side dressing for blooming plants. This concoction helps encourage bigger and better blooms.
To create a fermented banana peel slurry, place a few banana peels into a mason jar and add water. Put a weight on top of the peels so that they stay submerged. Cover the jar with a cloth and use a rubber band to keep it in place.
Leave the jar sitting at a comfortable room temperature in dim light for about a week. This will allow beneficial bacteria to release the nutrients contained in the banana peel. At the end of the week, drain the peels, saving the water to use as a liquid fertilizer.
Put the peels into your blender and purée them. Use the resulting slurry as a side dressing for blossoming plants. Note that if your concoction smells very bad or shows evidence of black mold, you should not use it.
10. Feed Your Blueberries Banana Vinegar!
Blueberries and other acid loving plants will enjoy a treat of banana vinegar. To make this nourishing amendment, begin by fermenting banana peels as described above.
At the end of the week instead of using the water as a liquid fertilizer, simply leave it in the jar. Put a lid on the jar and wait 4 to 6 weeks for the banana water to ferment and become vinegar.
11. Feed Your “Air Plants” Like Staghorns
Epiphytic perennials, such as Elk Horn and Staghorn ferns do not grow in soil. They derive all of their nourishment from the air around them. Spraying them with your foliar fertilizer is an excellent way to provide them with a boost of nutrients for stellar growth.
12. Set Your Air Plant On A Banana Peel
When establishing an air plant on its backboard or trunk, set a whole banana peel as its base. Cover it with moss and set the plant over it. As the banana peel decays, its nutrients will be released for the benefit of your fern.
Steps To Take To Dry Banana Peels
If you have a food dehydrator, simply follow instructions to dry your banana peels. Otherwise, you can dry them in the oven at a very low temperature (140°).
Cut them up into small pieces or leave them whole, as you wish.
You should leave the door of the oven open just a bit to allow good air circulation. Don’t wander off! Stay around and keep an eye on your banana peels so you can remove them when thoroughly dry.
Save Your Bananas & Their Peels!
If you would like to save up your banana peels and process them all at once, you can keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer until you are ready to soak them, chop them and/or dry them.
In fact, you can keep whole bananas in the freezer for use in smoothies and cooking. Doing this enables you to take advantage of ripe bananas on sale – a practice which is sure to add to the nutritional value of your diet and that of your plants!