Now that gardening season is here, it is time to be more vigilant about the scraps you may throw away. Kitchen scraps in general can really come in handy when it comes to your gardening, as those scraps can be used in a variety of ways and be quite beneficial!
Before you take out the trash, here are 7 kitchen scraps to save for your garden. You will find that these scraps are a great way to care for your garden for less.
1. Egg shells
Egg shells sprinkled around your roses will add nutrients to the soil and help the plant thrive. You can also sprinkle crushed egg shells around hostas so that slugs stay far away. They hate the texture! You can rinse the shells before use, but it is not necessary.
Egg shells are great for thirsty plants, plants that have not yet developed, and potted plants — tomatoes, peppers and eggplants seem to do quite well with crushed eggshells as a natural fertilizer.
I usually collect my egg shells in a small container in the kitchen and crush them every other day.
2. Banana peels
Hang on to those banana peels as they can add potassium to the soil. Many plants thrive off this nutrient so it is an excellent way to feed the soil/plants without spending a dime. It doesn’t matter how brown the peel is, any type or condition of banana peel will do.
There are many ways that you can add banana peels to your garden:
- chop up and add to the soil directly
- add to your compost pile
- dry your peels and then grind them very fine to be used as a fertilizer
- or add the entire peel to your garden
3. Coffee grounds
Fresh coffee grounds are acidic while used grounds are neutral. If you rinse your grounds, they will take on a pH of around 6.5, which will not affect the acidic levels in your soil.
If you are using them as a fertilizer, you’ll want to carefully work them into the soil around your acid loving plants. Or, to neutralize some of the acidity, mix with your old grass clippings or leaves and then carefully spread out around your plants. Just don’t over-do it.
4. Leftover water
If you boiled eggs or pasta, or even vegetables, save the water you boiled these items in. It is nutrient rich and can be poured at the roots of plants to help feed them. BE SURE you allow the water to cool first before applying. You can even chill the water if you wish.
One caveat though: Avoid using salted leftover water – as that could burn your plants.
5. Boiling water
If you boil water for any reason, you can use the hot water to kill weeds. Unlike step #4, you would actually WANT to use hot water and apply it directly to weeds to kill them. Just be careful so you don’t get the hot water on plants you wish to keep.
6. Junk mail
Do you have a kitchen drawer full of junk mail? Shred it and use it as mulch. Apply it around the base of the plant to keep moisture in and dryness out. It may not look fancy but it sure gets the job done. You can also use newspapers, old magazines, and other paper items the same way.
One caveat though: just make sure you avoid using glossy or colored paper as those won’t break down quite as fast, and aren’t as good for the soil. Those brown paper bags from the grocery store, kraft paper and even crinkle paper that you sometimes get in any online orders are all wonderful to use.
7. Citrus peels
Save organic citrus peels (lemons, limes, grapefruits) and stir them directly into your soil or compost pile. They can not only help add nutrients to the soil but the citrus may also help repel pests. Other produce scraps you can add to your soil or compost include apple cores and strawberry stems as well.
You can also save your citrus peels to make your own homemade cleaner – double win!
The kitchen can be a goldmine when it comes to adding nutrients to your garden. Do you keep any of these for your garden? Do you have any additional items that you like to keep back?