If you love to explore how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food, you’ll be surprised to know that vegetable scraps can provide nutrition to your entire garden. We plant to make food, and then reinvest the leftovers back into the ground. All flowers, grasses, trees, and other fauna types need some decomposing organic matter to flourish. However, the scraps from veggies make better compost than many other forms of kitchen waste.
When we know how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food, we help our growing plants along. If you’re tired of going for chemical solutions for gardening issues, natural compost is one of the best solutions.
Why You Should Know How to Turn Vegetable Scraps into Plant Food
Here are just a few benefits that knowing how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food can give to your backyard, your pocket, and the planet in general.
Getting free fertilizer
Not every gardener has the means or the opportunity to get affordable, decent fertilizer from the market. By knowing how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food, you can get excellent compost that gives your plants nutrients, healthy root development, and an improved texture.
No harmful substance
Commercially produced compost and fertilizers usually have some added synthetic chemicals or other artificial components. There might even be some herbicides left in the mix, which could damage the plants rather than making them flourish. Making your own mix at home will result in compost without any dangerous substances.
Many people are now concerned about reducing the amount of waste they make daily, weekly, and yearly. In the quest to make our carbon footprint smaller, it’s estimated that yard waste and food scraps account for about 28 percent of our total trash.
Having natural compost in the garden will improve the health of the soil in several ways. The EPA states that if we enrich the soil with homemade natural compost, it will better retain moisture and be less vulnerable to diseases and pests.
Better for the planet
When you compost, you’re going for the most eco-friendly way of nourishing your plants. If you toss our vegetable scraps, they’ll release methane when decomposing inside a landfill. When you process the scarps and turn them into compost, the decaying matter will produce a lot less methane. This is overall better for the environment.
How to Turn Vegetable Scraps into Plant Food: The 6 Ways
If you’re wondering how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food, you just need to learn some specific ways to begin.
1. Garlic peelings
Compost made from garlic has the potential to repel pests such as root maggots, beetles, spider mites, and aphids. You can get that lovely compost by grinding garlic peel in your food processor and then, laying them down to dry. Use a bit of parchment paper and a tray for this purpose.
Once the garlic peel is all dry, work a bit of it into the soil surrounding your plants.
If you don’t have time to dry out all the skins, you can add them to the existing compost pile you have. The garlic peels will easily decay and release their benefits over time.
2. Onion peelings
It’s better to compost onion peels rather than the whole onion as the former can’t sprout or grow on its own. However, onion scraps usually emit an unpleasant smell when they’re decomposing in a compost pile. While there are several beneficial nutrients in onion peels, they tend to attract wildlife or pests (even domestic animals).
To avoid this, bury your onion peels around 10 inches or more into the compost pile. When you’re turning the pile, be prepared for the sickly smell to hit your nostrils. If you want to minimize the odor, try adding newspaper, cardboard scraps, or crushed oyster shells. If you’re using a mealworm system, however, adding onion scraps isn’t recommended.
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3. Banana peels
Banana peels are chock-full of substances that are beneficial to plants. These nutrients include phosphate, sulfur, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium. You can provide all these to your plants by cutting them up into pieces and putting them on the ground’s surface. You can also bury them around four inches deep, near the plant’s base. While digging, make sure you don’t disturb the soil containing the roots.
Soak the peels in water for two full days, and then blend them with some water. You can use this liquid to water plants. You can also just toss the peels in your compost piles. But it’s better to cut them into pieces so that they decompose more easily.
4. Potato peels
Potatoes have a lot of beneficial nutrients like potassium, magnesium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. When you compost potato peelings, you get to give all these nutrients to your plants. However, there’s still a bit of debate over whether we should use potato peelings in compost or not.
The issue here is the risk of potato blight. Potato peels and whole potatoes might carry this fungal infection, which is hardly enough to last until the next season. Symptoms of this infection include dark patches on the potatoes and yellow patches on the potato leaves. If potatoes catch this blight, the tubers will start rotting from the inside out. And they’ll turn soggy towards the end.
RELATED READS: How to Grow Vegetables
If you’re not careful about removing this infection, potato blight might take out whole crops of potatoes. That’s why you should take some precautions when composting potato peelings.
First, make sure not to compost the peel when the potatoes show any evidence of the condition. The issue could come up in both store-bought and homegrown potatoes. When you add the peels to your compost pile, you should bury them as deep as possible to prevent any sprouting from the eyes.
Your compost pile should also have the proper components, including decent levels of water, air, veggies and fruit scraps, grass clippings, weeds, sawdust, paper, and dead leaves. Finally, ensure that the compost pile remains moist.
5. Broccoli stalks
Many people tend to throw away or compost the broccoli stems. But they’re edible if you want to take the time to cook and prepare them. Cut off their outer skin first and cut the inside into pieces to boil or steam. The cooking process might take a bit of time before you have a soft consistency to eat the result. The pieces can become soft enough to mash. You can also try cutting the hard chunks into strips and stir-fry them.
Broccoli stems are usually hard and wood-like. But they can be composted with a little effort too. Think about them like the insides of sweet corn. To make them compost as efficiently as possible, you’ll need to make small pieces from the stems.
6. Carrot top
Carrot tops rot fast, so they’re ideal for putting in your compost pile. These tops are also loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and protein. They’re full of potassium and also provide a nice amount of chlorophyll. While it’s possible to eat carrot tops, the controversy surrounding their consumption might make them better candidates for composting.
Specific Methods to Use While Learning How to Turn Vegetable Scraps into Plant Food
It’s not hard to learn how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food, but there are several ways to go about it. Here are some of them.
No matter how long it’s been since you started composting, having a place for collecting your scraps and other kitchen waste is a must. It’s possible to just toss your scraps in a bowl throughout the day and empty it onto your compost pile afterward. But that’s not the neatest or prettiest way to do things. Food scraps look unsightly. So, you don’t want them taking up your counter at any point. Plus, they tend to become slimy and smelly quickly.
Fortunately, there are options like countertop compost bins. These bins will corral your scraps, control the odors, and also remind you to deal with the waste as soon as possible. Besides, they’ll add a certain aesthetic to your kitchen and prevent flies.
An all-in-one worm farm
If you don’t have any space to spare nor a garden to keep a compost pile in, a worm farm is the next-best option. These farms are great if you don’t have a yard or garden. It’s possible to keep the worm farm in a basement or garage.
When you first hear about it, worm farming might seem like a challenging task. In practice, though, it’s less demanding than the composting option. You have to take proper care of the worms and give them time to reproduce so that there are enough to process many scraps.
You’ll need a worm bin or tower for this purpose. The continuous flow barrel and a stacked worm farm are your two main options. The flow barrel means just one large container with holes to allow for draining and air circulation. The worm farm has stacked layers with an outlet on the bottommost part to collect the worm tea.
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Direct soil feeding
Having composting equipment or a compost pile can take up quite a bit of space. They also don’t make the best garden or yard decorations. Therefore, you might want to try direct or trench composting if your space is limited. This also works if your community doesn’t allow a compost pile.
Direct composting will give your soil the precious nutrients it needs. It’s also a great way to do away with kitchen scraps. This method consists of just burying the organic water in the soil directly. The matter will decompose and become rich compost.
You can use direct composting to give your plants a boost throughout the season or just for strengthening the soil before you plant inside it. This composting method is also great for attracting earthworms. These are good for aerating the dirt in the garden.
The materials for direct composting are pretty much the same as with a compost pile. You can use any organic scraps from the kitchen, including vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, and eggshells. But dairy is still a big no.
It’s even possible to use the direct composting method during winter as long as the soil isn’t covered by snow. However, the organic matter won’t start decomposing until the weather starts warming up again.
Blending the vegetable peels
Access to soil and gardens is limited for people who live in apartments. Even if you do have that space, it might not be easy to keep your compost pile hot enough to decay matter during the winter.
This is where blender composting comes in. The process involves blending your vegetable scraps with a bit of water. The result will be a pourable juice which you’ll use on the soil around your plants. The blending will help begin the decomposition process.
Since the scraps get shredded into such tiny pieces, you can even change the decomposing period from weeks to days! Save your scraps up and blend them once a week. Make sure to use enough water so that they can blend easily. You need a liquid soup-like consistency for the best results.
Get Ready for the Free At-Home Plant Food!
Now that you’re all prepped on how to turn vegetable scraps into plant food, it’s time to start saving in more ways than one! You’ll save money by having less trash to dispose of. Besides, the fertilizer costs of your plants will also go down. This upcycling activity will help give natural nourishment to plants while saving waste.
The best benefit, though, is probably the feeling you get from getting something valuable out of what was once considered trash. You’re helping to save the planet. So, start collecting and composting those vegetable scraps to nourish your plants.
Last update on 2021-08-04 at 00:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API