Using banana peels in your garden

Bananas are great in smoothies, and banana peels soaked in water create a unique plant fertilizer for many plants.

I posted about onion water and how I use it to keep animals and insects away from some of my plants. When I heard banana tea was used the same way, I had to try it. I like the homeopathic solutions used in the garden.

The smell of bananas is unpleasant to aphids and some pests, and several websites recommend throwing banana peels under plants and shrubs to deter these insects. However, the peels, or even chopped peels, may attract nature’s foragers—squirrels, raccoons, rats, and feral cats—to your yard. There are other ways to achieve a natural deterrent without added consequences.

How banana peels affect plants.

Banana peels help strengthen a plant’s defenses in two ways. First, the scent can be extracted by soaking peels and then transferring the scented water to a spray bottle to apply to plants and bushes susceptible to aphids, mites, and white flies. The scent discourages these pests and protects the plant.

banana peel offers plants calcium and potassium for root development

The fruit skin is a source of calcium, which promotes root growth, and magnesium, which assists with photosynthesis. However, the minerals inside the peels don’t leech out in a water soak. They [the beneficial minerals] need to decompose in the soil so the plant can access those beneficial ingredients via composting.

How to create a banana spray.

Several recipes exist for making banana spray. I recommend submerging fresh banana peels in water for a few days and then straining the liquid into a bottle. You can spray the leaves of a plant or pour it directly around the base of the plant.

Another method involves placing one or two peels into five cups of liquid and bringing that mixture to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and let the water cool down completely. Then, bottle it and spray it on the leaves and stems or pour it around the plant.

Boiling the peels quickly creates a scented spray, but it damages the peel’s integrity. I prefer the soaking method because I can rescue the peels from the liquid, dry them to make banana powder, chop them, and put them in the compost bin.

What is banana powder?

Compost can take months, if not years, to convert food scraps, leaves, and paper into nutrients. But drying banana peels and grinding them into a powder can be done in a single day. Banana powder is a slow-release fertilizer that adds potassium and calcium to the earth. Potassium deficiencies often appear as yellow leaves on flowering trees and plants. Be aware that yellow leaves are also a sign of overwatering issues. Get to know your soil and plants before assuming they need more potassium. The added potassium won’t hurt them, but ignoring an excess water issue will.

You can make banana powder with several peels at a time. A dehydrator makes quick work of drying those peels. I lay mine on an aluminum-lined sheet pan and pop them into a 250° F oven for 5 hours. The peels will turn black as they release moisture. They’ll be stiff and snap into pieces when bent.

Once the peels are cooled to room temperature, I grind them in an old coffee mill and sprinkle the resulting powder around the root drip line of flowering trees and shrubs. Banana powder works very well on young vegetable plants like cucumber, squash, tomato, and pepper. I believe it boosts the flowering of those plants because I tend to harvest a greater quantity of vegetables when I take this step.

What about composting those bananas?

Nutrient rich and organic compost

I am a massive fan of composting. It is the ideal way to rebuild soil that is lacking. However, generating sufficient compost for a home garden can take time, and buying compost is expensive.

The Orlando landfill near my house used to recycle yard waste into compost for residents. That was amazing and quite a savings. Sadly, they stopped that process after the pandemic.

If drying banana peels or making a spray doesn’t appeal to you, compost those peels!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *