Building a compost pile is an excellent option if you have the room and resources to do it properly. But for individuals like myself who do not have time or energy to manage a compost pile, throwing food scraps directly into the garden can be a quick and easy way to add nutrients to the soil. Placing your kitchen scraps into your garden also prevents them from ending up in a landfill. Many of the same ingredients that can be used in a compost pile can be put directly in your garden.
Coffee grounds are not just great for composting. You can also put them straight into your soil to use as a fertilizer. Before you can use coffee grounds in your garden, you’ll need to neutralize them. Fresh coffee grounds are acidic, but if you rinse the grounds under running water, you can reach a neutral pH level that won’t affect soil acid levels. Coffee grounds can also be used for mulch around plants.
If your garden is being overrun by troublesome aphids, just throw in a few banana peels. While aphids are attracted to the soft, watery tissues of plants, they despise banana peels. To help eliminate aphids in your garden, cut up a few peels and bury them approximately one to two inches under the soil. Avoid using whole banana peels, as these can attract unwelcome rodents like squirrels.
Orange peels have several uses in the garden. Place chopped-up orange peels in the garden to add nutrients and nitrogen to the soil. Fruit peels can also be dried and ground up to use as a mulch around plants. If you want to avoid the use of harmful insecticides in your garden, use orange peels to keep unwanted pests away. Orange peels contain a natural chemical known as d-limonene that damages the wavy coating on aphids and ants, causing them to die.
Cucumbers are not just an excellent source of vitamin K. Their peels also have many uses in the garden and around the home. Many people place cucumber peels or slices near entry points to their homes to deter ants, as ants do not like cucumbers. You can also put cucumber peels in your garden to keep away biting ants and ants that protect nuisance aphids.
Eggshells may seem inedible, but they provide an effective food source for plants. The shells decompose very quickly and provide soil with extra calcium. Before using the eggshells, rinse them under warm water and let them dry. Once dry, crush the eggshells with a coffee grinder or other device to break them down into small pieces. Crushed eggshells can then be sprinkled around plants or in the soil.
Garlic acts as a natural repellent for unwelcome guests in garden environments. Many garden pests can’t stand the smell of garlic and will stay away when it’s present. You can also create garlic water with which to water your plants. In a saucepan, soak five cloves of garlic in three cups of water. Heat the garlic and water mixture until it boils. Allow the mixture to cool before watering your plants.