Fruits peels and other scraps are good compostable materials that can make a great addition to your compost. But, can you put citrus in a compost?
Short answer: the main chemicals in citrus were found by experienced among some gardeners to kill worms and other important microorganisms, and these microorganisms are required for the breakdown of compostable materials. And so adding citrus to your compost can delay your compost sometimes affect plants when fertilized with.
Read on for a detailed step by step guide and also to differentiate between the myths and facts about adding citrus in compost.
Related: How To Turn Compost In A Plastic Bin
Know the different types of Citrus
Citrus is a collective name otherwise known as a genus of a group of flowering plants in the Rutaceae family.
The genus citrus is comprised of many important food crops such as oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, grapefruits, navel, and pomelos.
The citrus fruits are known for their acidic taste and production of large amounts of oil when pressed. This acidic taste of citrus fruits is due to the presence of citric acid.
The fruits of citrus are reservoirs of vitamin C and other important vitamins, and minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and copper.
Because of the nutrients that can be found in citrus fruits, many gardeners among the gardening community believed that adding citrus peels and other scraps in the compost is a good idea.
But, is this belief always true? And how safe is citrus in compost and on soil?
Here is what both groups who are supporting and those who are not supporting adding citrus in compost are saying.
Supporting: Citrus Fruits can be added to Compost
According to those who are supporting adding citrus peels and other scraps, most of the reasons given by those gardeners who are not supporting the addition of the citrus in compost are nothing but myths.
The points raised by those Gardners against adding citrus in compost are:
1. Citrus can delay the composting process
2. Citrus contains chemicals, which interfere with the Normal biological activities of the microorganisms in the compost
3. Citrus encourages the growth of one economic fungus called penicillium. And this penicillium can regrow and infect plants when in contact with the plants
All these points were rejected by the fans who are in support of adding citrus scraps in the compost. And they came up with the following points:
Citrus will only delay the composting process if added into the compost without cutting the citrus scraps into smaller pieces.
According to them, if the large citrus peels or scraps are chopped into smaller chunks, the citrus can be broken down very quickly at a much faster rate.
Additionally, the chemicals in citrus, which kill the compost beneficial microorganisms affect only those gardeners who are vermicomposting. This is because, in vermicompost, you must employ worms before you get your compost done.
So, according to these gardeners who are supporting adding citrus scraps in compost, you can add citrus scraps to your compost if you are not employing worms as your primary decomposers.
Another point that is considered a myth by those gardeners who are supporting citrus is the point that said citrus encourages penicillium growth.
According to them, the heat that is generated in compost usually hinders or inhibits the growth of t penicillium. This is because the fungus normally survives in a temperature within the range of average fridge and room temperature.
Additionally, they also made mention that if the compost does not produce much heat, there is a high chance that this fungus will regrow and survive.
These are the main issues raised by those gardeners who are supporting adding citrus in the compost.
Learn more from this study
Now, let us look at those gardeners who are not in support of adding citrus in compost.
Not Supporting: Citrus can’t Be added in Compost
The gardeners who said citrus should not be added to compost have solid reasons to back up their points:
According to them, looking at there are numerous compostable materials that can go into the compost and without posting any issue and delaying the composting process, why not add these easily compostable materials and those materials that will or may not mess up with the compost and composting process.
Those leafy green vegetables, chopped hay, chopped straw, shredded newspapers, chopped Branches, and sawdust can also make compost. And so skipping citrus scraps in compost should not be an issue. And let the citrus waste be used in the production of Biofuel.
“Additionally, not only vermicompost require worms for proper decomposition of organic matters”. According to those who are not supporting adding citrus in compost.
As said, all types of compost require microorganisms in order to carry out or initiate the decomposition process.
Ans the citrus chemicals are known to be used in the production of pesticides including millipedes and earthworms.
The millipedes and earthworms are the most vital microorganisms in the soil, which aid and quicken any decomposition of organic matter. So, according to them, it is pointless to mention that it is only in vermicompost, citrus cannot go.
According to those who are not supporting citrus scraps in compost, in order to be on the safer side, citrus should be avoided in compost looking at there are sage and other environmentally friendly compostable waste materials that can conveniently go into the compost without causing any issue.
These are the points raised among the gardeners in the gardening community with regard to whether citrus can be put in compost.
It is left for you now to decide on which part to support. If you want to add citrus scraps to your compost, here is a step by step guide on how to make citrus compost:
How to Make Citrus Compost
Collect your citrus scraps and other kitchen waste such as banana peels, coffee filters, coffee grounds, and eggshells.
You need to remove the peels from the citrus fruits and dry them before adding them to the compost.
Chop the fruit peels into smaller pieces. When you cut them into smaller chunks, you increase the surface area and this helps speed up the decomposing process.
I believed by now, you know all the composting basics. if you do not know, check our step by step guide to composting.
To balance the effects of the citric acid, add grass clippings and wood ash among your compostable materials.
Now, take those scraps you collected and put them into a tour composting container. Ensure that you add brown matters as the first layer and then follow the brown organic matters with a layer of green organic matters.
Tip: do not know what brown and green organic matter? Check this article for composting materials.
It is a good practice to turn your compost from time to time at least two times a week. This helps ensure that heat is generated in the compost, which prevents your compost from turning moldy. It also helps reduce the acidic pH that is present in the citrus scraps.
To summarise everything, I personally do not support adding citrus scraps in the compost because looking at there are many alternatives that can suitably go into compost without posting any serious damage to the plants.
However, this is my personal opinion. You can take whatever you feel like a good for you, your soil, and plants. Happy composting. You can find detailed information about citrus or kitchen scraps composting here.
Frequently asked Questions
What should you not put in Compost?
The organic matters that are normally avid in compost are carnivores’ feces, onions, garlic, synthetic chemicals products, treated papers, charcoal, coal ash, diseased plants, meat scraps, fish scraps, fats scraps, and cooking oil.
What fruits cannot be Composted?
The common fruits that are usually avoided in compost are tomatoes products, pickled food products, and walnuts. This is usually due to high acidity and some chemicals that are present in these fruits, which can kill the decomposing microorganisms or soil.
Can I put Fruits Peels in my Compost?
Fruits peels like banana peels, apple peels, pineapple peels, and so on can be added to compost. You can also compost citrus peels if you e ready to do the needful. Fruits peels tend to rot very quickly and so when put in compost, they speed up the decomposition process.
Can I put paper towels in Compost?
Paper towels that are not made from synthetic materials can be put into the compost. They serve as a source of brown organic matter. make sure that you shared the paper towels before adding in your compost.