All avid gardeners know that the three most important nutrients for plant growth are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Together, they make up the trio known as NPK . For this reason, all commercially-made fertilizers will contain these three nutrients in various amounts.
Fertilizing your plants is very important if you want them to be strong and healthy. You do not, however, need to purchase fertilizer- you can make it at home with common kitchen scraps. Banana peel fertilizer is easy to make, and does wonders for your garden. Although all plants require varying amounts of nutrients, many of them do exceptionally well with banana peel fertilizer.
Banana peels are a common kitchen scrap, but they have a surprising number of uses in the garden. Continue reading to learn how to make your own banana peel fertilizer, as well as eight other banana peel uses for your garden.
Why Are Banana Peels Good for Your Garden?
Bananas are good for your garden because of their potassium content. Potassium is an essential nutrient to sustain plant growth and reproduction. This important nutrient provides the following benefits to plants:
- Increases root growth and improves resistance to drought
- Builds cellulose and reduces lodging
- Activates at least 60 enzymes involved in growth
- Aids in photosynthesis and food formation
- Helps translocate sugars and starches
- Produces grains rich in starch
- Increases protein content of plants
- Maintains turgor, reduces water loss and wilting
- Helps slow the spread of crop diseases and nematodes .
If you want big, healthy plants with large blooms and tasty fruit, you need potassium in your fertilizer.
How to Know When Your Soil is Potassium Deficient
Potassium deficiency can be difficult to spot. In general, it simply makes the plant perform more poorly than it should, but the specific signs of a deficiency are harder to see.
If the potassium deficiency is severe, you will see the signs in the leaves. If you see leaves with brown spots, yellow spots, yellow edges, or brown veins, it could be a sign that there is not enough potassium in the soil. In some cases, half your plant could turn yellow .
Other signs could include:
- Underdeveloped root system
- Your plant’s growth may slow or stop completely
- A plant lacking in potassium won’t bounce back well during a drought
- You may find that the vegetables produced aren’t ripening evenly 
How to Make Banana Peel Fertilizer
Making your own banana peel fertilizer is very simple, and doesn’t require much equipment. The following method is from ruralsprout.com:
- Banana peels
- One-quart mason jar
- Mason jar lid
- Distilled water
- Add a banana peel to a clean jar.
- Fill the jar with water and put the lid on it.
- Let the concoction sit for a week to two weeks, then remove and discard the banana peel.
- Dilute the finished fertilizer with water in a 1:4 ratio.
- Enjoy happy plants and bigger yields.
For best results, water your plants with your fertilizer at the base once per week. The best time to start is at the beginning of the growing season, since that is when the plant needs the most potassium. Be patient, since it may take a couple weeks before you begin to see results.
8 More Banana Peel Uses
Fertilizer is not the only use for banana peels in your garden. The following are eight more ways you can put the common kitchen scrap to good use:
1. Keep the bugs away
To keep the bugs away, spray your diluted fertilizer on your plants. If aphids are a problem, bury chopped up banana peels around the base of your plants to keep them at bay.
You can also use a combination of apple cider vinegar and banana peels as a trap for pests. According to ruralsprout.com, simply combine a small amount of apple cider vinegar and a couple tablespoons of chopped banana peel in a jar. Place a funnel in the container so the bugs can get in but not out. Empty the jar and repeat the process every 48 hours .
2. Plant them
Before you plant your tomatoes and other plants that love potassium, place a part of the banana peel directly into the bottom of each hole. The peel will break down quickly, and provide the plant with nutrients as it decomposes .
3. Give a boost to your seeds
If you’re starting your plants from seed, banana peels can help give them a jump-start when they’re germinating. You can either place a piece of banana peel into the hole and place the seend on top, or place the seed directly on the banana peel before covering it with soil.
4. Turn it into a powder.
Cut your banana peels into one-inch pieces, and set them on a baking sheet. Place them in your oven on the lowest setting until they dry out. You’ll know they’re done when they break apart easily.
Crush them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. Store the powder in a sealed jar or baggie. When you’re ready to use it, loosen the soil around the base of your plants. Sprinkle one or two tablespoons of the powder over the soil and water thoroughly .
5. Make mulch
Add a small handful of chopped-up banana peels at the base of your potassium-loving plants. As the peels decompose, they’ll release nutrients into the soil.
6. Make vinegar.
Make an acidic vinegar-like mixture by fermenting banana peels. This is better than the standard banana peel fertilizer for acid-loving plants like blueberries and hydrangeas:
- Finely chop a banana peel and add it to a mason jar.
- Pour in enough water to cover the peels, plus an inch.
- Cover the jar with a doubled-up layer of cheesecloth. Put the jar somewhere warm for a week.
- Remove the peels after a week and recover the jar with the cheesecloth. Let the vinegar continue to ferment for another month.
- Dilute the finished vinegar 1:1 with water and feed to plants that require acidic soil once every other week .
7. Use for winter soil
Winter is the perfect time to give your soil a boost so that it’s ready for the next growing season. Simply till or bury banana peels all over your garden to replenish the soil with nutrients for next year .
8. Compost them
Banana peels tend to break down quicker than most other scraps, making them perfect additions to compost. If you do nothing else with them, add them to the compost bin .
Depending on where you live, putting banana peels in your garden may attract critters. If this is the case, the fertilizer is a better option. If you don’t eat bananas but still want to use them for your garden, try asking friends or neighbours to keep their scraps for you, or head to your local smoothie shop- they’ll have plenty.
If you’re not sure exactly what your soil or plants need, head to your local gardening center. The people there will be able to offer expert advice and help you to get your garden off on the right foot.
Keep Reading: 5 Cheap Gardening Tricks for Self-Reliance
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