Banana peels, coffee grounds and egg shells are gardeners’ best friends

Tips to organically nourish your soil for spring and summer planting

Bananas egg shells and coffee groundsIt’s never too early to start preparing your soil for spring planting. When the rain gives way to those intermittent sunny days, many of us start just can’t wait to get our veggies into the ground, or plant flats of color to chase away the gloom. February is still a little early for most of the planting we’ll get to when the weather really warms. Here are a few tips to get a jump start on feeding your soil organically with banana peels, coffee grounds and egg shells.

To compost or not?

If you’re an avid gardener or just ready to tackle your first garden, you’ve certainly heard a lot about composting all your kitchen scraps; from fruit and vegetables to egg shells and coffee grounds, composting is a great way to enrich your soil. But composting, even if you’re using a composting bin, attracts bugs, and who wants all those bugs and bug larvae around? There is an easier way to use some of that waste.

Banana peels can be cut into smaller pieces and placed into the ground around the base of your plants, just an inch or so below the surface is all that is necessary but deeper is better. They are full of all kinds of great nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, and other minerals your plants need. OR, if preparing soil for your veggie garden, get those banana peels into the ground now so they can break down before you’re ready to plant. There are many other ways you can use banana peels – such as drying and grinding them up, but this is by far the easiest. (Don’t leave the peels on the surface of your beds unless you want to attract bugs and squirrels.)

Coffee Grounds are rich in nitrogen a nutrient that all plants need to flourish. Contrary to popular belief, the grounds are not acidic but are pretty much PH neutral, so can be added around any type of plants. Be sure to start slowly with coffee grounds though, just adding a tablespoon or so a week, and stop using if you see existing plants start to react badly to them.

Egg shells add calcium to soil and have the added benefit of deterring slugs. Crush eggshells – just put in bag and crush with your foot or hand, and scatter around the base of plants, especially those that slugs like to eat. The sharp edges keep slugs away, but soften and break down quickly, so you need to put fresh shells out every week or so for best results.  

Vinegar is NOT for mulch but is an organic weed killer. It will kill plants as well, so use carefully. If you’ve looked out in your garden or lawn recently, you have probably noticed that dandelions and crab grass are already growing. 5% vinegar (which is what you buy at the store) will fry those tender young dandelions and crab grass shoots, and will kill them to their deep roots. Yes, you might see brown spots in your lawn, but it’s better than hundreds of dandelions appearing and taking over your lawn later in the year. Unlike chemical weed killers, vinegar won’t harm the soil for the grass that will soon take over that brown spot. Vinegar is best sprayed to make sure you get the whole plant. If going after well- established dandelions, you might need to spray them a couple times to kill them off, but they shouldn’t be producing offspring once well sprayed the first time.

 

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