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How To Use Bananas In the Garden

Using bananas in the garden If you have kids, you likely have a lot of banana peels floating around. Trashing them seems like kind of a waste so why not recycle them instead – in your garden. Did you know banana peels make one of the best fertilizers out there?

Turns out, banana peels are a rich source of nutrients your plants crave: Potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, along with a host of other minerals your plants need.Here’s 7 ways you can add banana peels to your garden, and keep it as natural as possible.

1. Chop the peels, then add to your garden’s soil directly.

Chopped Bananas To do so, chop your banana peels into 1/4 inch pieces – by chopping them, you kick start the composting process, and release some of the beneficial vitamins and minerals in the peels.

Bury them anywhere from 4 inches down to just beneath the surface of the soil. If you choose to bury them inches below the soil, do so before you plant your vegetables at that location, or where you aren’t in danger of hitting your plants’ roots. As the peels decompose, all the valuable vitamins in the peels will reach the roots, giving you plants a nutrient bump that will make them happy.

2. Toss the banana into the compost pile.

If you want to feed your red wigglers and indirectly use banana peels in the garden, toss your leftover peels in your compost pile. It’s not the most inventive way to use the peels, but it’s a valuable method, nonetheless. Over time the peels will decompose and turn into rich compost.

When preparing your beds for planting, or when your plants begin to flower, side dress with the compost to aid in fruit and vegetable development – your plants will love the extra nutrients.

3. Grind The Banana Peels Into A Fertilizer

Dried Banana Peels Dry your banana peels and grind them into a fertilizer. If you only have a few peels to use up, but want to use them effectively on many plants, this is a great option. You can either dry peels whole, or cut them into strips (1/8″ – 1/4″) and place them so they’re not touching on a cookie sheet. For both methods, dry them at 140 degrees, leaving the oven door open 1-2 inches, until they’re dried through.

Once dry, grind the peels in a coffee or spice grinder. Add to your garden soil directly, either by sprinkling as a side dressing or gently incorporating into the dirt, making sure to avoid your plants’ roots.

4. Add Whole Peels Directly To The Garden

A very straight forward way to use banana peels in the garden is to add the whole peel to the soil when planting. The seeds will get a nutrient kick at the start of their lives, which will translate into healthier plants and a better harvest.

When you plant your seeds, dig a trench a couple inches deep. Lay the peels flat in the trench, and add your seeds on top. Fill the trench in when you’re done laying the peels and the seeds. As the seeds germinate, form roots, and continue to grow, the peels will decompose, creating a rich fertilizer.

5. Create An Insect Trap

Banana and vinegar insect trap You can create a simple insect trap with banana peels and apple cider vinegar.

To make an insect trap using banana peels, combine small pieces of the peels with the vinegar, and shake to mix and release the scent of the banana.

Drill holes large enough to allow bugs to get through into your a container, and pour your banana mixture (peels and all) into the container. Place outside in your garden to keep down the insect population (great for gnats).

6. Keep Aphids Away

One reported use for banana peels in the garden is as an aphid deterrent. These little pests can decimate a garden before you can say “tomato sauce,” so keeping them away is important. To use banana peels to prevent aphids, place chopped peels just under the soil line. I’m not sure why, but there’s something in the peels that aphids hate.

7. Attract Butterflies

Butterfly feeding on bananas The riper, the better. We don’t think of bananas as “juicy”, but as they ripen, they become softer and easier for butterflies to ingest. Rather than throwing out those rotting bananas on your counter, slice them open and offer them to the butterflies in your garden.

Change fruit daily. Fruit left out overnight is likely to attract undesirable critters like raccoons, and soon becomes a smelly mess. Put fruit out in the mornings or afternoons when you’ll be around to watch – what’s the point of attracting butterflies with fruit if you’re not there to see the fun?

Further Information

The Life Cycle of Plants: Fertilization
The Spruce: How to Make Your Own Fertilizer
Pollination and Fertilization