Instantly Fertilize Your Plants with These Three Common Kitchen Scraps

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Green Living

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Compost is often referred to as “black gold” for its ability to improve plant growth and reduce waste in landfills. However, not everyone has space or the willingness to maintain an outdoor compost pile or worm bin. If you want to nourish your potted or garden soil without compost, try using these three common food scraps.

Banana Peels

Rich in potassium, banana peels are an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers. You can plant the whole peel under the soil near the roots of your plants or let it decompose on top of the soil. If you’re worried about attracting pests, blend the peel with water before pouring it on your plants.

Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds provide nitrogen and minerals that can boost plant growth. Mix modest amounts of dried grounds into your potted plants or garden soil. You can also sprinkle them around plants before watering for a slow-release nitrogen or dilute them with water for a fast-acting liquid fertilizer.


Crushed eggshells are an excellent source of calcium for your plants. Wash and dry the shells, then crush them into a powder-like consistency and sprinkle around your trees and plants.

By reusing these common kitchen scraps, you can reduce waste and improve plant growth without the need for compost.

Originally published on Jan 11, 2012.

FAQs about Kitchen Scraps

What is waste composting?

Waste composting is the process of recycling and breaking down food scraps and other organic matter into rich soil fertilizer at home. This method helps to reduce the release of harmful methane into the environment and the amount of waste sent to landfills.

How can I make organic fertilizer from kitchen waste?

Collect your kitchen scraps, including fruit and vegetable peelings and leftover food, and place them in a compost bin with water. You can add sawdust to speed up the process. Then, add natural waste from your garden, such as dried leaves, bark, and old branches. When the mixture turns into a dark soil-like substance, use it as organic fertilizer on your garden soil.

Are banana peels good for fertilizer?

Banana peels do not contain nitrogen, but they are rich in potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, making them a great organic fertilizer for fruit trees and flowering plants like roses.

Can I use vegetable peels as fertilizer?

Yes, vegetable peels like those from broccoli stalks, citrus fruits, and potatoes contain nutrients such as vitamins A and C that can benefit your plants. Dig a hole in your garden soil and bury the peels, rather than throwing them away.

Can I use coffee grounds as fertilizer?

Yes, coffee grounds provide minerals and nitrogen that can improve plant health and prevent insect damage. However, it is best to use them on acidic soil and acid-loving plants only, according to some experts. Spread the coffee grounds around your plants and soil to see their benefits.


1. What are the three kitchen scraps that can be used as fertilizer for plants?

The three kitchen scraps that can be used as fertilizer for plants are banana peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds.

2. How do banana peels benefit plants?

Banana peels are rich in potassium, which is a vital nutrient for plant growth. Potassium helps plants produce strong stems, fight off diseases, and produce more flowers and fruit.

3. Can eggshells be used as a natural pesticide?

Yes, eggshells can be ground up and used as a natural pesticide. The sharp edges of the eggshells can deter slugs and snails from eating plants.

4. How should coffee grounds be applied to plants?

Coffee grounds should be applied to plants in moderation, as they are acidic. Sprinkling a small amount of coffee grounds around plants can help fertilize them and improve soil quality.

5. Can too much fertilizer harm plants?

Yes, too much fertilizer can harm plants. Over-fertilizing can burn the roots of plants and cause them to die. It is important to follow instructions and use fertilizers in moderation.

6. Are there any plants that should not be fertilized with kitchen scraps?

Yes, some plants are sensitive to certain nutrients found in kitchen scraps. For example, tomatoes are sensitive to high levels of calcium, which is abundant in eggshells. It is important to research the specific needs of each plant before fertilizing with kitchen scraps.

7. How often should plants be fertilized with kitchen scraps?

Plants should be fertilized with kitchen scraps once every two to three weeks. This will provide a steady supply of nutrients without over-fertilizing.

8. Can kitchen scraps be used in place of traditional fertilizers?

Kitchen scraps can be used in place of traditional fertilizers, but they should be used in moderation and in conjunction with other fertilizers. Traditional fertilizers provide a wider range of nutrients and can be more effective in certain situations.

9. What other household items can be used as plant fertilizer?

Other household items that can be used as plant fertilizer include seaweed, fish tank water, and compost. These items are rich in nutrients and can help improve soil quality and plant growth.

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